Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid is a fictional biography of a Hollywood actress from 1950s – Evelyn Hugo, now a socially withdrawn but once a famous Hollywood icon, tells her life story to Monique, a routine, not so famous journalist. Evelyn goes over the retrospectives of her life, path and price to stardom and fame, her identity or lack thereof, and the reasons behind her marriages.
The book is engaging and offers a flavor of celebrity life. Behind scandal, glamour, and dazzle of a luxurious life, what they loose and what they gain, and in the end what’s worth the while. We as fans tend to forget that these individuals have been imbued in a lifestyle of Hollywood (or any movie industry from any part of the world) in more than one way; their pasts altered, profiles changed, social lives contrived, all to increase their marketability, to profit those investing in them, making the cost of reality during their careers pretty high! This book is a reminder of the fact that the life of the stars is so made-up, where and how the juicy headlines in gossip magazines originate from.
Through this cinematic tale, the writer brings out one of the biggest occupational hazards of stardom- the secrets to be kept at the height of fame, which Monique names as Evelyn’s biggest “political act”. Without giving that away, I want to tell you that that message itself is the strongest point of the book. The second hook in the story that keeps the reader going is the reason Evelyn singled Monique out and insisted on her writing the biography – their relationship is best kept secret of the book.
The book is an easy read, with fluent clear writing, has entertaining value with typical twists and turns attached to movie industry literature. Reid does a good job of depicting the Hollywood scene over the years. There are some beautiful quotes that I highlighted but the writing is not what I would call of an outclass league. I liked the book very much but I would not say I loved it. I did not find the character of Evelyn Hugo as complex as I have come across in few biographies I have read of real-life actresses. It takes, in my opinion more depth and dynamic to navigate the Hollywood world and reach where Evelyn had – or maybe the theme and focus of the book was not on that (which as I mentioned above is extremely beautiful). Reid’s skills in characterization however are evident in development of other cast like Monique Grant, Harry Cameron and Celia St. James. The change in Monique especially was beautiful – how she understood her relationships, her reactions to life while gathering material for the book.
I am happy I got to read this beautiful book. I would recommend it when in the mood for a light book that does not tax you mentally, for travels or weekend. I look forward to discussing this book at one of my next book clubs with some reader friends!
Here are few other favorite quotes from this book ~ touchy and realistic!
"I have made my way three thousand miles from where I was born. I had found a way be in the right place at the right time. I’d changed my name. Changed my hair. Changed my teeth and body. I’d learned how to act. I’d made the right friends. I’d married into a famous family. Most of America knew my name. And yet… And yet…"
"I've never thought of myself as a force to be reckoned with. Maybe I should start thinking of myself that way; maybe I deserve to.”
"Men were almost never with me for my personality."
“Never let anyone make you feel ordinary.”
Will I read Taylor Jenkins Reid again? Yes!!! I will pick one of her books for in near future and share my views. I have heard great things about Malibu Rising from readers who had same opinion about Evelyn Hugo – so on my #tbr for summers.
What are you upto in your reading world? Would love to connect on my #bookstatram @booksection
Reading: Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie
Listening: Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
What’s on my #tbr
Free Food For Millionaire by Jin Min Lee
Hell of A Book by Jason Mott