Tuesday 16 November 2021

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The hype machine did its job! I finally read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (in paperback thanks to the lovely Sam @ We Live and Breathe Books)... So, what did I think? Read on, my friends! Read on! But first, just in case you've been living under a rock and have never heard of the book...

Ageing and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life.

When she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now? Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Oh my... The amount of hype that surrounded this book when it was released was something else... And it's not often that a book lives up to the hype but The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is one that absolutely does!

The book had me spellbound from beginning to end. 
It wasn't one I binged in a single sitting. No... I read it over the course of a week - husband to husband - for it was one that needed to be savoured and slowly digested, piece by piece.
Seven months later, the characters and story still live rent-free in my head. 
(Yes, it's taken me that long to write up my thoughts, thankfully I have notes.)

What struck me most about it all was that Evelyn was not a likeable person but she was utterly fascinating. Her life story is painfully realistic but also over the top in an 'only in Hollywood' kind of way. I marvelled at her, I ranted at her, I cried for her and I cried with her... When I finished the final page I had no idea what to feel about her beyond the woman was indisputably a legend.
But she wasn't real! None of the characters are real! But they felt real. 
The entire story felt like it could be a Hollywood biography from the golden years... Like I could google their names and watch their movies and flick through a picture book of photos from their public moments. I think it hurts that I can't! Like when I read Daisy Jones and The Six and couldn't listen to the album Aurora... But I'm drifting off topic. 

The writing was brilliant. The story was wonderful. The ending was shocking and surprising and I bawled my eyes out more times than I can count. 
It's definitely a book I won't forget.
I loved it.

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