The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Read | January 2022
Status | Personal Read
Format | Audible
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.Taylor Jenkins Reid, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
This book lives up to its hype. Again, I was glad to pick something eye-opening and not a drag to read. The format of consumption may have helped given that I could listen to the book while I did chores, although the experience of it was far from passivity.
Honestly, there’s a lot to unpack here but I may have to share spoilers, please heed my warning…
Alright, you were warned so if you’re reading beyond that – please know it is no longer my problem.
I want to start with Evelyn Hugo’s voice. Wow, nothing lured me more than her narration, her hold on the story as if this were an actual autobiography. I love that her life was hers and no one else’s, that she stood true to her decisions whether it was to protect herself, her loved ones, even when it hurt others. Evelyn is a character with authenticity and honesty, it almost hurt. Partly, it hurt because I was personally torn about the ending. I was torn between liking her and hating her. When I finished the book I thought of her being an anti-hero, someone who errs on the side of good, while driven by their own agendas.
Characters like Evelyn make books amazing. They are not flat, but have substance like any real human does. She definitely made me question a lot of things about morality, ambition, truth, loss and love. For someone who created an amazing front, enough to fool audiences for decades, Evelyn remained true to herself – whether she was discovering it or have already grasped it. I can’t help but sympathize with her duality, even she stated:
Did I judge this book by it’s cover? Yes.
So much so that when I started piecing where the story was heading, I was met with an understanding that I had fallen in Evelyn’s own trap. I liked it, I liked that Reid made everything so complex that I was not only invested in the story on it’s own, I was involved – with my own life. I reflected a lot as I listened to this audiobook, I often did it while I cooked meals, washed dishes, ate or did my laundry. It was great company due to all the juicy “gossip” I was hearing from Evelyn’s life.
With this gossip came a lot of stories worth following up with an introspection, like “what would I have done if I were in her position?” A lot of her experiences came with a cost, whether it was a cost to her or another person, either way she grasped all opportunities to seize her dream. She made things happen. Which for someone like me, made me feel bolder and empowered. Of course her methods are quite extreme sometimes, with marrying seven husbands to obtain the love of her life. These were situations that definitely happens only in books and movies – as far as I know (here I am again, judging and making assumptions). But the essence is there, the idea of what are you capable of doing to seize the life you want to live? The life you need to live? The life you need to Be?
These were questions circling in my mind as I unwrapped layers upon layers of Evelyn’s scandalous life with the journalist of her choice, Monique Grant, who I might say without spoiling too much – was another purposely, well-placed and well-developed character with an equally rich storyline.
I know, I am focused on Evelyn huh? I mean, she is a star after all. What do you expect me to do?
In all honesty, nothing is more attractive than a person who lives their truth.
What more, a person who inspires the truth out of people. For me, that was Evelyn’s hook – she baited people with an act, all the while the truth was just hiding beneath the surface, ready to be discovered but there are always distractions in the way.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo will be one of my favorite stories of all time. The lessons are so profound, characters so gripping, and the anti-hero so complex and alluring.
Have you read this book already? I would love to hear your thoughts on it.
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And if you enjoyed this review, follow me for more ~ I am currently reading the following:
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (March book club)
- Circe by Madeline Miller (personal)
- Come as You Are by Emily Nagoski (Feb-March book club)
- F*** Like a Goddess by Alexandra Roxo (Feb-March book club)
I’ll be writing more reviews, the next one being Circe as I am about three hours away from the conclusion! Ahhhh – I will be a bit saddened when I finish the story, I have grown to like the narrator as well. It’s going to be another audiobook.