Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (Taylor Jenkins Reid)

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Ok, so my decision to join the Book of the Month Club was a GOOD one because I have loved EVERY book so far. Evelyn Hugo was no exception.

The basic gist is that a wet behind the ears reporter is hand picked by an elusive, Elizabeth Taylor-esque former starlet to write a no holds barred tell all biography about her- including all of the sordid details about her seven sensational marriages- which up until this point in her life she has refused to comment on. But, as the story of her life and ambition unfolds, the reporter has to wonder- why her?

I cannot think of a single complaint about this book. Reid masterfully creates the world of golden era Hollywood, which we live and breathe every second of through Evelyn's assent to the height of stardom. I was swept up in the glitzy gilding, and then rolled over by the murky slime hiding beneath, just as so many hopeful actresses of the day were. Despite some questionable moral choices on Evelyn's part, I not only rooted for her- I understood why she made those decisions, I respected the purpose and drive behind them to get what she wanted from the world.

She isn't the only character who is well fleshed out; Reid gives life to all of her main creatures (a depth that is often lacking with modern authors.) The relationship that we see develop between Evelyn and Monique is riveting, and I genuinely felt a need for them to become closer, to create a friendship that I could live through those words.

The timing of this book is also interesting, with so many people concerned with the rights of women. Evelyn realizes at a young age that her body is a tool: she can use it to manipulate, to get what she wants, and as a weapon against others.  As she traverses the Hollywood landscape, she sees that men are "scamps" where women are "sluts", and that the repercussions of the same choices are very different when a woman is the one in question. (An excellent reminder that slut shaming goes much farther back than the age of Facebook.) Yet, instead of letting that get her down- or rather, keep her down- she uses that world's weaknesses to her advantage, coming out back on top. In the political climate of today, that is a powerful message for women: your body is your own, make your own choices, be your own person.

I would recommend this book to absolutely anyone who is looking for their next read. There's a little romance, a little intrigue, there isn't any sword fighting (Sorry about that, Helen.), but it is still one hell of a ride!

The Book

The Writing


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