There are far too many reasons why I loved this book – the varied themes, the stunning Hollywood movie scenes and the complicated love-hate characters are all too complex to explain in a simple blog post, but I’m going to give it a go anyway, because to put it plainly; I loved this book. I wasn’t even half way through when I decided that I was going to write about it.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo completely surprised me. When I decided to order it on Amazon I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I had no real idea of what it was going to be about. All I knew was that the protagonist was a glamorous lady named Evelyn Hugo, and she was an ageing Hollywood movie icon that had been married seven times. I thought it was going to be a romance. Oh, how I was wrong! This book is so much more than that. So much more.
At the start of this novel, the aged and reclusive Evelyn Hugo approaches writer Monique Grant and begins to tell her the truth about her life for a book. She starts from the beginning, explaining her early life including the early abuse from her father, the death of her mother as a teenager, and how she knew she didn’t belong in Hells Kitchen. She wanted to get out, and that’s how her story began.
In the beginning we don’t find out why Evelyn chose Monique to tell her life story to, but in the end we discover that it’s not random and it’s all part of her unpredictable plan. Really, I find I can predict a books’ ending or twist most of the time, but I felt like I was hit in the face with this one. We find out what connects Evelyn to Monique and it’s truly shocking.
As Evelyn talks about her seven marriages she covers an extensive number of topics including; love, marriage, LGBT+, sexuality, loss, death, grief, heartache, success, fame, domestic abuse, men, parenthood, race, independence, illness and old age… and that’s not even all of them! There are far more to discover throughout this novel. I had to keep reminding myself that this book isn’t based on a true story, but the themes and topics are 100% real to many people around the world today, which is why this novel is so important.
At times, I absolutely loved Evelyn, I was rooting for her through her romantic and domestic abuse issues. But there were also some choices she made that I didn’t agree with. She was selfish at times and made some bad decisions. But at the end of her life, I realised she’s not a bad person. So I’m still not sure how I feel about her. All I know is that she’s a fabulous, confident woman.
“I didn’t need boys in order to feel good. And that realisation gave me great power”
To me, I think Reid was trying to convey a message of female independence, confidence and strength through The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. Through her strong character and unique life experiences, in the end Evelyn was unapologetically herself – she surrounded herself with wonderful people, loved who she loved and accomplished what she wanted with the time she was given.
From reading this I learned that there are many types of love, relationships and marriages. No two are the same. And I agree with the many reviews I’ve read in saying that it’s one of my favourite books. I highly recommend you all read this, you will be surprised.