Oh Evelyn Hugo, I adore you. For a while now, I have had friends whose book tastes I trust tell me that I needed to read “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.” So when my book club chose it for their monthly read, I was excited to finally have a reason to pick it up. I expected a quick, light read about a Hollywood starlet and her various relationships and scandals. What I didn’t expect was a heart-breaking, humorous, intriguing story that left me thinking about it for days after I had finished. I cannot recommend this book enough.
Evelyn Hugo has lived her entire adult life in the spotlight. From the time she was a child, she wanted to be a famous actress and she succeeded in ways she never imagined. Now that she is older, she has decided it’s time to tell her story and chooses a virtually unknown journalist named Monique to write her memoirs. Why was Monique chosen? While telling her story, Evelyn answers the question everyone has always wondered: who is the love of Evelyn’s life?
This was a book that once started, I could not put down. I immediately liked both main characters, Monique and Evelyn, and could have read about 200 more pages about Evelyn’s life and not felt like it was too much. When you hear someone has been married seven times, there are a lot of questions. Why would someone get married that many times? Did she love all, none, or maybe some of her husbands? Jenkins Reid does a great job of not only explaining the reasons behind the marriages but how they make sense within the context of the story. Each marriage served a purpose to not only Evelyn but to the people she loved and I was fascinated by each one. This story was much more emotional than I thought it would be and I found myself tearing up several times. I can’t discuss much more about the plot without giving away some of the twists and turns but there were moments that I didn’t see coming and I didn’t guess the eventual twist towards the end which is a testament to how engrossed in the story I was. When trying to think of a way to describe how Jenkins-Reid writes, I keep coming back to accessible. She writes how people talk and think but not in a dumbed-down way and the words flowed over the page in an easy but intelligent way. I honestly could have finished this book and immediately flipped to the beginning to start again.
If you couldn’t tell, I loved this book. I thought the writing was fantastic, the story was surprising, and the characters were great. Taylor Jenkins Reid has quickly shot up to the top of my list of authors whose back list of titles I want to read and soon. Please stop what you are doing and read this book!
Favorite Quote: “People think that intimacy is about sex. But intimacy is about truth. When you realize you can tell someone your truth, when you can show yourself to them, when you stand in front of them bare and their response is ‘you’re safe with me’- that’s intimacy.”
Rating: 5 Stars