“Never let anyone make you feel ordinary.”
Rating: 4/5 stars
Format: Physical copy / Audiobook
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.
Written with Reid’s signature talent for creating “complex, likable characters” (Real Simple), this is a mesmerizing 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 costs—to face the truth.
Well guys, I did it. I caved into the hype and read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.
Was it worth the hype? Yes.
Is it worth five stars? Eh.
Don’t get me wrong, this is a powerful, moving read that is so easy to fly through and really enjoy. Evelyn Hugo, is without a doubt one of the most intriguing characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading about. Her story begins as a young girl navigating her way through life after losing her mother at a young age to becoming one of the highest paid actresses of her time. She takes on the ups, the downs, the good, the bad, the ugly, and holds absolutely nothing back in her tell all to a seemingly average journalist, Monique. Evelyn promises Monique that she will get to the reason of why she chose Monique, and why Monique will never be able to look at her the same afterwords. The tension!
Evelyn, is a biracial, bisexual female who essentially married all seven of her husbands to advance her life and career in some way. She is ruthless when it comes to getting what she wants, unapologetic, witty, but most of all she is flawed and she knows it. Which is what I loved most about her. All the while, Evelyn is truly in love with one of her fellow actresses, Celia. This absolutely broke my heart because Evelyn had to hide who she truly was from the public due to the time period and the nature of her career. It also absolutely devastated me to know that even now in 2019 there are still so many people who continue to have to do the same exact thing.
A few more things that I adored about this include the focus on how sometimes the people that we find throughout our lives are the ones who make up our REAL family. The romance between Celia and Evelyn was so sweet and pure and better than any smutty book could ever provide. There are also so many underlying messages that this books has, but the biggest one is how short life can be, especially when you have certain regrets throughout your life. And this becomes a very powerful message by the end of this book. *queue the ugly tears*
Here’s why I can’t justify giving this 5 stars, for me, five star reads are books that are basically life changing. I’m extremely stingy nowadays when handing out five stars. Let’s face it, the old me is long gone. And while I did really enjoy this book and found it extremely eye opening and moving, it was also very predictable. The minute Monique’s previous accomplishments as a journalist were discussed I knew how this story was going to end and I also pieced together fairly quickly why Evelyn wanted Monique for the story. If it wasn’t so blatantly obvious I would have gladly slapped that fifth star onto my review. But unfortunately, it was seen from a mile away and because of that I couldn’t really fall in love with the ending as much as everyone else seemed to.
“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.”
“I didn’t need boys in order to feel good. And that realization gave me great power.”
“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.”
“Make them pay you what they would pay a white man.”
“…do yourself a favor and learn to grab life by the balls, dear. Don’t be so tied up in trying to do the right thing when the smart thing is so painfully clear.”
“Don’t ignore half of me so you can fit me into a box. Don’t do that.”
All in all, I have to admit, while the hype around this book is insane, it’s also very worthy of it. I think a lot of readers will be able to find at least one way that they can relate to Evelyn and that’s what makes this story even more powerful. If you haven’t added this to your TBR’s yet, you should absolutely do so!
Until next time,