I’m really excited to introduce today’s review! The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Taylor Jenkins Reid’s newest book, was reviewed by my dear friend Emily. When she’s not being suckered into reviewing books for me, Emily is a Graphics and Web Designer and the creator of Sandy Stilettos, a fantastic lifestyle blog based in Raleigh, NC. Emily got her hands on The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo before I did, so of course I had to have her review this summer booklist hit! Enjoy!
Growing up in grade school, like most kids, I was forced to read. I was forced to read at a certain level, and I was forced to read a certain amount to get the most points out of my class. It was nothing but a competition. Two things you should know about me: if I’m forced to do something, chances are I will hate it, and I’m not a competitive person. At all. Put those two together with reading and what you get? A girl who hates to read.
Now, that isn’t to say I never found a book that I loved. There were several. But I wasn’t really one to read voluntarily. With he exception of Harry Potter (and Twilight, but we won’t talk about that). And even then, I got to the 4th book, never finished it, and never read the rest. *gasps* I know.
So what is this girl doing writing a book review on a book blog, you ask? Well, I decided to give it another go. I’ve been out of grade school for 7 years and during that time I never really was forced to read anything outside of text books in college. Everyone else has been telling me about these books that they loved and I shrugged my shoulders like I didn’t really care, but I wanted to care. I wanted to love to read. June 2017 came around and I got my monthly Popsugar Must Have Box. The book, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, was in it. So I said, “What the hell? Let’s start with this one.” And it was a good choice!
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is unique in the way that it tells two different stories in one, with two different first person narratives. It sounds confusing, but it makes sense once you start to read it. It begins with Monique Grant, a journalist for the magazine Vivant. She still a bit of a rookie but gets the chance to interview style and sex symbol of the 50’s through the 80’s, actress Evelyn Hugo, who asked for her specifically. Turns out, Evelyn wants Monique to write her biography, not a cover story for a magazine. The book goes on telling both Monique’s story during this process and the story Evelyn is telling Monique for her biography.
Evelyn’s is an interesting story that makes you wonder if this is really how Hollywood works. Full of scandals and lies. I mean, let’s be real, it probably is…but to what extent? And why does Evelyn want Monique, and only Monique, this woman whom she’d never met before, to write her story? Of course, you don’t find out until the end. And that’s part of what’s keeping you reading. The other part is wanting to find out why this woman married seven men. Who did she love? Hint, it’s the very last person you might expect. You feel all of her emotions, when she’s passionate, when she’s sarcastic, when she’s angry, and even when she’s tired. Truth be told, I felt so tired for her toward the end of the book after everything she had been through.
What I mostly loved about this book was the issues it touched and how it makes you realize how much the world has changed since the 50’s and 60’s. The LGBTQ+ community was in danger for being themselves. They had to hide every part of themselves the best they could, or they could go to jail or even a mental hospital. I’m a fighter for this community, despite my family and how I was raised, so this part of the book really touched me.
I also loved Evelyn’s character in general. She didn’t let her past affect her future. If she wanted something she went for it with full confidence that she was going to get it. She thinks about every move and every word she says when she’s getting what she wants. All I could think of is “I want that confidence. I want to be able to think that clearly in the moment like that.” I am a clumsy, awkward mess that has to think far ahead of what I’m going to do or say or I’m just…well…a mess stumbling over her words. Her beauty probably helped with that as well, though.
All in all, this was a great read to jump back into the habit. I can’t wait to start my next book, Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.