"The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo" is a historical fiction novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid. (Atria Publishing Group)

Arts and Entertainment

Review: ‘The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo’ is a riveting tale of love and the price of fame

Looking to read a book that will fill you with pain and insight into famous life? Read “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” by Taylor Jenkins Reid, and you won’t be dissatisfied.  In this historical fiction novel, successful Hollywood actress Evelyn Hugo is ready to unveil to the world the truth behind her scandalous life…
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/teresa-nguyen/" target="_self">Teresa Nguyen</a>

Teresa Nguyen

February 16, 2021

Looking to read a book that will fill you with pain and insight into famous life? Read “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” by Taylor Jenkins Reid, and you won’t be dissatisfied. 

In this historical fiction novel, successful Hollywood actress Evelyn Hugo is ready to unveil to the world the truth behind her scandalous life and her seven husbands. Although Evelyn has money, class, and fame, she chooses not such a thriving journalist Monique Grant to write her biography. After Monique’s husband leaves her and her work not getting recognition, she wonders why prosperous Evelyn would choose her out of all the other writers. Little does Monique know, her connection with Evelyn is not just an interview, and biography writing talk as what lies beyond Evelyn’s compelling story is even more staggering. “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” tells the story of love, riches, inner struggles, and the price of fame and fortune.

After diagnosing the symptoms I had after reading this book-tears falling, rereading specific chapters, searching up the meaning and symbolism — I can safely say that I can interpret this book as one of the best books I have read this month. Right from the beginning, Taylor Jenkins Reid establishes that this book won’t be sunshine and rainbows from Monique’s crumbling life and Evelyn’s deteriorating mental state. No joke: every single line managed to please all the little crevices in my heart until I couldn’t feel anything. 

As the title says, this book is about Evelyn Hugo and her seven husbands. Some taught Evelyn love, some taught patience, some taught pain, and some were amazing (get the reference?). Nothing in this book seemed off place or confusing. Right from the first page, I knew I would fall madly in love with this book, and as pages kept turning and eyes kept moving, I was fascinated by the directions the plot was taking. There were no plot holes, and there were also many plot twists that shocked me. Evelyn’s story is interesting because it relates to what people already know: we already know famous people. Still, this book gives us an even closer look at the struggles they can face even though we may think they have everything in the world. 

This novel does a fantastic job at bringing specific issues that aren’t discussed to life. Evelyn is a Cuban woman, but because of that, she couldn’t get a role as an actress, abandoning her native Spanish language and essentially having to “look white” to be successful. Another major topic discussed in this book was how women have only been used as sex objects, but the roles that Evelyn would play were the “dumb blonde” or a prostitute. Not only the status of women but also the issues regarding being queer back then. The number of times Evelyn struggled to keep her relationships in place because of her sexuality and the toxins of fame made me realize that being famous is not very attractive. Sure, you get fans, gifts, and fortune, but true happiness isn’t typically granted when millions of random people watch your every move. 

Oh, Evelyn Hugo. A woman who has everything everyone wishes for in the world from money and fame except happiness. Throughout reading her story, we learn of her flaws, struggles, her humorous personality, and the loves of her life. The crap she faces is heartbreaking, and the things she does can make us angry, but what can we expect from her? Every day of her life, she is followed by the press, and everything she does is judged even if she does good. What scares me is how many celebrities face the same issues as Evelyn Hugo. Through Evelyn’s character, readers learn that stars may seem happy on the outside; they may be facing problems as they are human in reality. 

I love this book because although it may be just over 380 pages, I can recall every single character in this book. Every character has a unique personality trait that makes them stand out. For example, my favorite character Harry is probably the kindest man you will ever meet if he was real. Still, he has his flaws and his inner struggles of being gay in a time where it wasn’t accepted. Even the characters I hated *cough cough* Don *cough* were still pretty memorable and weren’t just throw away characters.

As I said earlier, this book has got to be one of my favorite reads this year because of its enticing characters, heartbreaking and heartwarming story, and its brilliance at highlighting issues in society that need to be known. Some words summarize how great this book was: riveting, complex, insightful, and best of all, a beautiful star like Evelyn Hugo’s actress career.

If you have already read “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo”, I would recommend “The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue” by VE Schwab (LGBTQ themes, adult) and “Red White & Royal Blue: by Casey McQuiston (LGBTQ themes, adult, price of fame). Overall, I highly recommend this book to everyone ages 14 and up!