Wednesday, June 14, 2017

#BookReview: THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Summary: Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jump start her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ‘80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo gives all kinds of Elizabeth Taylor vibes. Seven husbands to Liz's seven, eight if you count her two time marriage to Eddie Fisher, puts Evelyn right up there in the big leagues of Hollywood leading ladies that loved them and left them. So when Monique is given the chance for a once in a lifetime interview with Evelyn, she jumps at it. But why does a movie star like Evelyn Hugo pick a relatively unknown black writer for her final interview? Through twists and turns, long days and nights spent with the reclusive Hugo, it's not readily apparent.

As Evelyn shares the story of her life (and her men) and the love of her life, it is almost as if she is giving Monique pointers on how to live a better life. She allows her access to her small world that very few get to see, with the exception of her house manager/assistant who gave shades of Joan Crawford's assistant, Mamacita, including the fact that she's not the white woman America has come to know her as. Does she share this secret with Monique because she's black and she thinks it'll go over better with her than one of the white writers Monique's magazine would typically send to cover Evelyn? Does she think that as a woman of color, Monique will empathize with her need to cover up who she really was for years? While all of that may have factored into her decision, the truth is Evelyn holds a secret that will change Monique's life. (No, she's not her birth mother or some other Lifetime-like twist.)

I initially resisted reading this book because I like to focus on stories about people of color. So it was a shock to find that both Monique and Evelyn were. That brought a little more comfort to my reading, but beyond that, Jenkins Reid has written a fascinating look at the life of celebrity. Even at 400 pages, it was a quick read that drew me in from the beginning and held my attention in the two days it took me to read it. If you need something lighthearted, perhaps a beach read, be sure to check this one out.

400 p.
Published: June 2017
Disclaimer: Copy of book received from publisher; opinions are my own.

No comments :

Post a Comment