“”I think being yourself – your true whole self – will always make you feel like you’re swimming upstream. “”
This opinion contains spoilers.
Evelyn Hugo is a major movie star who’s been shunned from the spotlight for years, but recently asked journalist Monique Grant to write a biography for her. Hugo wants Grant to write about her rise to the top and the seven husbands she had along the way. Grant doesn’t understand why the movie mogul chose her to write the story, but eventually finds out that Hugo has been looking for her because Grant is involved in Hugo’s past.
I’ve read other Taylor Jenkins Reid books, such as “Daisy Jones and the Six,” and loved them, so reading “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” was a no-brainer for me. I put off reading this book for a long time because I didn’t think it would live up to my expectations, but it exceeded them.
The format of this book was engaging because it has two universes: one of Hugo navigating the golden age of Hollywood while being married to his seven husbands and the other in the present, with the interviews of Grant on Hugo’s life. The book also contained clippings from newspaper articles and gossip columns about Hugo that made the novel seem like it was written about a real person. It was as if Hugo could have existed at that time, almost like Marilyn Monroe.
Hugo’s character was complex, and I had a love/hate relationship with her. She broke many hearts, sometimes unintentionally, but other times she was vicious towards the people she loved, such as Celia St. James, her primary love interest in the story. Hugo wanted to be known to everyone, and she did horrible things to make herself famous, like manipulating men into marrying her, so they could divorce her a few days later. She divorced Mick Riva (a husband in a series of seven) within days because she didn’t want the public to think she was gay after she was seen at a concert reaching out to St. James . She was also a good friend of Harry Cameron (a film producer who helped her in her career) when she saved his life after a car accident. These elements made his character somewhat redeemable.
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St. James (Hugo’s main love interest) was a nice contrast to Hugo. She entered the already wealthy acting scene; she was the girl next door and had a stable career that helped her rise to the top. Throughout the story, St. James and Hugo were more than friends, but St. James was awful towards Hugo because she was bisexual. St. James made Hugo feel awful for liking both men and women when she was a lesbian. When she was mad, she was ruthless, especially towards Hugo. She frequently commented that people only liked Hugo for his body and not for his talent. Although she had redeeming qualities, like being a gifted actress and a good friend, she was a hard character for me to like.
This book is popular for a reason: it is beautifully written and the premise of the story is unique as it traverses the past and present with different narrators. This book made me forget I was reading because I was invested in the characters and the scenes flowed beautifully. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys romance and historical fiction.
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Kelly Marry (her) is a freshman majoring in journalism and public relations. She enjoys reading and traveling in her spare time.