Today is June 30th and the end of Pride month. How very fitting that I finished The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo today. This book is queer as hell, and I had no idea going in. I just knew that I loved Daisy Jones and the Six by Reid, and this book came highly praised by friends and Cannonballers alike. I loved nearly every moment of it.
This book is told through two main points of view, that of Evelyn Hugo and that of her biographer Monique Grant. The majority of the book is narrated by Evelyn, a sexpot actress who got her start in the 1940s age of Hollywood. Known for her blonde hair, thin eyebrows, dark skin, sizeable breasts, and on-screen charisma and gravitas, Evelyn Hugo stops at nothing to get what she wants. Sometimes what she wants is fame and success, and sometimes, later in life, it is love and passion. She has hurt people, lied, made mistakes, and she would do it all again to live her life her way. Monique Grant is a small-time writer for a magazine who has only written on notable piece in her life, yet she is given the opportunity to write the biography of Evelyn Hugo, something that Evelyn has never allowed before. While dealing with her own tumultuous personal life, Monique navigates how to present every detail of Evelyn’s life exactly as she wants it. Cut throughout the narrative are gossip clippings throughout the years which add to overall reality of the story.
Reid has a way of writing about fictional cultural events in a way that makes me achingly wish they were real. I desperately wanted to listen to all of the music that she wrote about in Daisy Jones, and I wish I could watch all the films that she has written about in The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. She writes with enough detail to make everything have weight but not so much that she is trying to convince of anything.
The only issue that I have with the entire book is that at one point during a conversation about the Stonewall Riots and subsequent protests, a character implies that men started and sustained the Stonewall Riots. Transwomen of color started the Stonewall Riots. Queer liberation began at the hands of transwomen.