TITLE: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
AUTHOR: Taylor Jenkins Reid
PAGE COUNT: 389 pages
PUBLISHER: Atria Books
PUBLICATION DATE: 13 June 2017
GENRE: Historical Fiction, Romance, LGBT, Contemporary
SYNOPSIS: Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?
Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.
Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ‘80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.
When I first joined the book community years ago, this was one of the most talked about books and until this day, almost every bookstgrammer still talks about it. I was afraid that I would not like this book as much as everyone else does, and that it would not live up the the hype for me. However, that was not the case at all and it is now one of my top favourite books I have read so far this year.
I am going to keep this review short because I feel like everyone has already read it and that we all share a love for it. When I first started reading The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, I was not able to stop. All I could think about was the book and just could not get enough of Evelyn’s story.
Taylor Jenkins Reid is a fantastic author (one of my favourites) and I can never get over how phenomenal her writing is. She brings out so many mixed feelings and always leaves you wanting more. This book was beautiful, yet so heartbreaking and real. The characters felt like real people, and everything was painted so vividly.
It is, and always will be, a book I will recommend to everyone—especially to those of us who like reading books that break hearts.
And if I’m being honest, there is something very inspiring about having a black woman running things.
If I want things to change, I have to change how I do things. And probably drastically.
I have long operated under the idea that civility is subservience. But it hasn’t gotten me very far, that type of kindness. The world respects people who think they should be running it. I’ve never understood that, but I’m done fighting it.
But more to the point, I’ve always been a bit like an ostrich, willing to bury my head in the sand to avoid what I don’t want to face.
The combination of such a powerful woman and such a small and humble gesture is enchanting, to be sure.
“Everyone’s dying, sweetheart. You’re dying, I’m dying, that guy is dying.”
“So do yourself a favor and learn how to grab life by the balls, dear. Don’t be so tied up trying to do the right thing when the smart thing is so painfully clear.”
“When you’re given an opportunity to change your life, be ready to do whatever it takes to make it happen. The world doesn’t give things, you take things. If you learn one thing from me, it should probably be that.”
“Show me the real you, then. And I’ll make sure the world understands.”
There are people who see a beautiful flower and rush over to pick it. They want to hold it in their hands, they want to own it. They want the flower’s beauty to be theirs, to be within their possession, their control. Don wasn’t like that. At least, not at first. Don was happy to be near the flower, to look at the flower, to appreciate the flower simply being.
Be wary of men with something to prove.
You have to find a job that makes your heart feel big instead of one that makes it feel small.
You do not know how fast you have been running, how hard you have been working, how truly exhausted you are, until someone stands behind you and says, “It’s OK, you can fall down now. I’ll catch you.”
“No one is just a victim or a victor. Everyone is somewhere in between. People who go around casting themselves as one or the other are not only kidding themselves, but they’re also painfully unoriginal.”
“Never let anyone make you feel ordinary.”
“Don’t ignore half of me so you can fit me into a box. Don’t do that.”
“It’s always been fascinating to me how things can be simultaneously true and false, how people can be good and bad all in one, how someone can love you in a way that is beautifully selfless while serving themselves ruthlessly.”
“Sometimes reality comes crashing down on you. Other times reality simply waits, patiently, for you to run out of the energy it takes to deny it.”
“Heartbreak is a loss. Divorce is a piece of paper.”
“Please never forget that the sun rises and sets with your smile. At least to me it does. You’re the only thing on this planet worth worshipping.”
“Make them pay you what they would pay a white man.”
“People are messy, and love can be ugly. I’m inclined to always err on the side of compassion.”
“I spent half my time loving her and the other half hiding how much I loved her.”
“My mother raised me to be polite, to be demure. I have long operated under the idea that civility is subservience. But it hasn’t gotten me very far, that type of kindness. The world respects people who think they should be running it.”
“Nobody deserves anything,” Evelyn says. “It’s simply a matter of who’s willing to go and take it for themselves. And you, Monique, are a person who has proven to be willing to go out there and take what you want. So be honest about that. No one is just a victim or a victor. Everyone is somewhere in between. People who go around casting themselves as one or the other are not only kidding themselves, but they’re also painfully unoriginal.”
“And taking pride in your beauty is a damning act. Because you allow yourself to believe that the only thing notable about yourself is something with a very short shelf life.”
Taylor Jenkins Reid is the New York Times bestselling author of Malibu Rising, Daisy Jones & The Six, and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, as well as four other novels. Her newest novel, Malibu Rising, is out now. She lives in Los Angeles. You can follow her on Instagram @tjenkinsreid.
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