Art & Culture Art/Culture/Literature

Book review: The seven husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Contrary to appearances, this book is a multifaceted story of a woman who lives 2 lives simultaneously, overlapping.

What you get is a book that stars a bisexual, Cuban woman who was never allowed to talk about the love of her life; her wife. She has seven failed marriages with seven husbands.

This is her story after the mask has worn off and showed what was lurking behind it, her truth without being edited, moderated and filtered down. Evelyn is a flawed, compelling, brave, ambitious woman who got to where she was with teeth and claws and never gave up.

This story is told from two different timelines and two different angles. One from Monique Grant, who is a biracial woman going through a fresh divorce and trying to make it work in journalism. And another with the exploration of Evelyn Hugo. The book talks about her association with Cuban heritage, bisexuality and her celebrity status.

She is one of those stiff characters one will never be able to purge from ones mind given her strong will, independence, strength, and compassion.

Evelyn being a bi icon in the book is a major chunk of the story. Throughout the entire book Evelyn is confronted with bi-phobia but she always took it in right stride. She accepted herself the way she was and she did an excellent job at trying to explain her sexuality.

Review by Bhoomika Mohan

Monique Grant is a very special character from the book who interviewed Evelyn. This was her first celebrity interview and she did not understand why she was chosen to take this interview considering Monique had no past experiences. She was a shy mouse in the beginning that did not dare to say anything to her boss and by the end of the book she was a young successful woman who stood up for herself. Evelyn’s story had a huge impact on Monique. She got to know the person behind the movie star and she knew how broken Evelyn was, really, on the inside, how much pain she had suffered, how much loss she had endured.

I also found that this book focused on motherhood. Taylor Jenkins Reid silently evoked the strongest emotions from me making me wonder if things will ever be different for the generations to come.

On top of this being an exceptional book about race, sexuality, misogyny, and having to conform to societies norms, the true message that one can take away from this piece is that life is short and we shouldn’t spend it pretending to be something we aren’t just so we keep everyone around us satisfied.

By the end my mind was reeling and I had a hard time functioning all that was being revealed. There are so many things I still feel conflicted about.

It’s not particularly intriguing, it does not take the genre to new heights or make one think about something exceptional, yet it did feel different. Evelyn Hugo’s story felt so honest and compelling that it stood out, and kept me turning pages in a desperate need to discover the stories behind her seven husbands, and the answer to the one question everyone was curious about: who was her greatest love?

I will admit, it took me about 150 pages to get fully immersed into the story. A little after Evelyn divulges her secret love, I could feel shackled by the invisible hands of Taylor.

I’m usually not the kind of person who throws a book at you and says you should read it but in all seriousness: Read this one! This book is a reminder that no matter how glamorous other people’s lives might look, everyone has their own hardships. So much goes on behind the closed doors of one’s life and one can never make assumptions from what is visible. Even the most beautiful people in the world have felt unloved, rejected and ugly. I stayed fully engrossed in the story of Evelyn Hugo – and of Monique Gran and all I can say is, go get a copy.

 

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