“This is not low-stakes for Evelyn. Evelyn can speak casually about things of great importance. But right now, in this moment, when she is taking so much time to make such specific points, I’m realizing this is real. This is happening. She really intends to tell me her life story―a story that no doubt includes the gritty truths behind her career and her marriages and her image. That’s an incredibly vulnerable position she’s putting herself in. It’s a lot of power she’s giving me. I don’t know why she’s giving it to me.”
“The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” by Taylor Jenkins Reid follows the life of a fictional Hollywood siren and the trials and tribulations she experiences in the spotlight during each of her seven marriages. It’s a fascinating page-turner, luring the reader through all the secrets Evelyn holds.
Evelyn Hugo, now almost in her 80s, paints her life without the rose-colored glasses, admitting how hungry she was for the fame and how the fame informed the decisions that will follow her for the rest of her life. This is what struggling journalist Monique learns as she’s chosen by Evelyn to tell her life story, not the article she thought she would be writing for her magazine. As Monique tries to figure out why she’s documenting Evelyn’s life inside the actress’ Upper East Side home, she begins interlacing the stories from Evelyn into her own life, taking her thoughts off her impending divorce. Once they reach the end, Monique learns why Evelyn picked her and the revelation sets her in a tailspin of emotion.
Evelyn jumps into every marriage to seek higher fame or to hide behind her true feelings. She peels back each marriage like an onion. It’s one of the best books to read because the author uses the classic story development technique with building up tension where you want to read the next chapter. One example is the titles of the parts about each husband, including “Brilliant, Kindhearted, Tortured Harry Cameron” and “Goddamn Don Adler.” The reader is intrigued by the titles to learn why each husband gets that particular description up-front. Also, the reason Evelyn requests Monique to be her biographer pops up continuously as we learn more about the many moments of her many successes and comebacks in the entertainment industry while donning her signature emerald green.
Overall, the book reads like a True Hollywood Story with going behind the scenes of the tabloid fodder―inserts in between chapters―making the book delicious and heartwarming.