Book Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Adult Fiction // Categories: Historical Fiction, Romance
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Publisher: Atria Books (Simon & Schuster)
Format: Audiobook • 12 hours 18 minutes
Rating: 4.5 stars

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is very different than any of TJR’s past works (that is, everything she’s published before 2017) but, in regular TJR fashion, it is really well told. The story is immersive, perhaps partly due to the narrator’s voice, and it felt real. Like I could open a book on the history of famous Hollywood celebrities from the 60’s and Evelyn Hugo’s name would be there.⁣⁣

The bulk of this novel is Evelyn Hugo telling her life story to Monique, a no-name journalist, and I love that it details the pressures of fame and all the sacrifices she made to stay relevant. But at the same time, this really stirred up some negative feelings. Many of the things (if not everything?) that Evelyn chose to do to further her career was questionable. To me, it felt like she was willing to give up parts of her soul to gain this status—and still, I’m not sure if it made her happy. I think this makes me uneasy because Evelyn Hugo is adored by many readers, but I personally don’t know how to view her with respect. The way she treats people in the industry, using them as stepping stones, and how much she disregards the feelings of those she claims she loves over and over again … it’s something that I can’t overlook.⁣

Even so, TJR did something very impressive. I can’t stand by any of the awful things that Evelyn Hugo did, but I completely understand why she made those decisions. That’s powerful writing.⁣ Evelyn Hugo is certainly an unlikeable character to me, but I can’t deny how evocative and captivating this story is.⁣


If you want to know more, I shared a section of spoiler-filled thoughts on my Goodreads review!

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