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Overrated or worth the read- The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
January 13, 2022
This year, I have a New Year’s resolution to read at least 25 books. Seeing as it is only the ninth day of January and I have already finished my two books of the month; I have high expectations for myself. Along with this resolution, I am also beginning a new column every issue where I tell readers if a book is worthy of their time, or simply too “hyped up” in the media.
The first book I’m choosing to review is the beautifully tragic “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” by Taylor Jenkins Reid (I’m thinking you can already guess how I feel about this book). The book takes place in both the present time and the 1950s. Journalist Monique Grant has been working for Vivant News for most of her writing career and she feels like she has not gotten anywhere. This is until Hollywood bombshell Evelyn Hugo reaches out Vivant to write a piece about a recent donation Hugo made. But Hugo does not want any other reporter- she wants Grant. As Monique begins her interview with Evelyn Hugo, Grant is let in on a secret. Hugo does not want Grant to write a cover story for Vivant. She wants Grant to write a biography of her life- the good, bad, tragic and beautiful- and she wants know secret left untold. As Hugo takes Grant through the story and the seven husbands of Hollywood’s most recognizable actress, Grant uncovers truths about Hugo and truths about herself.
Having just finished this book a few hours ago, I am still stunned. Taylor Jenkins Reid manages to make readers learn everything about Evelyn Hugo in only 381 pages. Reid also gives the readers a chance to dissect who Evelyn Hugo is, and if good people can make bad decisions but remain good. I do not think I have ever read a more complex character like Evelyn Hugo. Each husband and situation brought out a different side of her that kept making me question her morality. The story of Evelyn Hugo was heartbreaking but beautiful and funny. I applaud Reid for taking such a complex story and having multiple themes that somehow coincide with each other to create a smooth-flowing book. There was not a moment during reading where I was not on the edge of my seat, wanting to know what happened next.
Along with the story, Reid’s writing was breathtaking. Because the story switches from Grant’s point of view and Hugo’s point of view, it gives readers a stronger connection to Hugo. Readers are not just judging Hugo because of the decisions she made, we are hearing reasoning, which makes it so hard for readers to decide whether they like her (spoiler alert; I do). Each moment and each story is described so perfectly that I could not wait for the next.
It is hard for me to pick out things that I do not like in this book. The only thing that comes to mind is how fast-paced this book is, which is both a good and bad thing. This is good in a sense that I never wanted to put the book down. The counterpart to this is that a few times I was a little confused about how things happened or what period the book was set in. The story that Hugo is telling takes place over a course of forty years, meaning the book moved so fast that sometimes I could not tell if months or years had passed. But because this only happened a few times and it was my only complaint, it does not affect my opinion of the book.
In conclusion, The Seven Husband of Evelyn Hugo is in my top ten best books I have ever read. I admire Taylor Jenkins Reid incredibly for her work and cannot wait to read more. My final decision on this book is that it is absolutely worth your time, and to read it as soon as you can.