Book Reviews

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I have seen The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid everywhere. Whether it’s on Instagram or TikTok, this is apparently everyone’s favorite book. It makes all of the “top” lists. It happened to be at Costco one day while I was doing some grocery shopping, and I thought I would give it a try, see what all the hype is about.

The Story

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 in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds through the decades—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Filled with emotional insight and written with Reid’s signature talent, this is a fascinating journey through the splendor of Old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means—and what it takes—to face the truth.

My Thoughts

To put it simply: I am not going to rave about The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.

Taylor Jenkins Reid wrote a really beautiful book. I’ve seen multiple people say that they Googled ‘Evelyn Hugo’ to see if it was a true story, or even historical fiction. It felt like a cross between a memoir and a novel at times.

I had a bit of an emotional attachment to the characters as well. It’s the story of her entire life, so it should be no surprise that some characters die. You grow attached to them, and it does tug at your heartstrings.

This was also a book with a lot of notes of female empowerment and standing up for yourself. In fact, I even broke out the Post-It flags to make note of some of my favorite quotes.

Evelyn looks at me with purpose. “Do you understand what I’m telling you? 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.”

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Page 35

He said, “You have to do that, too, Monique. When you’re older. You have to find a job that makes your heart feel big instead of one that makes it feel small.”

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Page 89

Why, until this moment, did I not realize that the issue is my own confidence? That the root of most of my problems is that I need to be secure enough in who I am to tell anyone who doesn’t like it to go f*ck themselves? Why have I spent so long settling for less when I know damn well the world expects more?

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Page 284

See? Lots of bits about female empowerment and following your heart. Some portions really resonated with me in a positive way.

Now that we have gotten through the good, I’m going to get into the bad (or at least what really frustrated me).

While the character of Evelyn Hugo was strong and confident, the usage of her body to get what she wanted was terribly frustrating. Can there not be a female character who is beautiful and intelligent and accomplished? Why does she have to sleep around to gain position? I mean, the mere fact that she ran through seven husbands?!

Phew! Got that out of the way. While I didn’t love The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, it did make me see why Taylor Jenkins Reid is such a well-respected author. I liked it better than Malibu Rising too! I’ve had some recommendations on which of her books I should try next, so we will see! I generally like to give an author three tries before I give up.

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