I was starting to feel like the only person I knew who hadn’t read Taylor Jenkins Reid’s The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. Scrolling through my Libby wishlist, I saw this at the top – and it was available! I checked it out and immediately sat down to see what all the fuss was about.
The book is narrated by Monique Grant, a talented but underutilized writer at a magazine. The magazine receives notice that aging megastar Evelyn Hugo would like to tell her life story to the publication. Her one stipulation? Monique has to be the writer.
As perplexed as her editor, Monique agrees to meet with Evelyn nonetheless. Evelyn says that she wants to tell the absolute truth about her entire life, in the form of a biography written by Monique. Despite her initial misgivings, Monique agrees and the pair begin meeting regularly.
Throughout the novel, the point of view changes between Monique in the present day and Evelyn in the past. Evelyn’s long and storied history as a movie star begins with a teenaged marriage and trip to California, and concludes at the close of her life. Painful stories are revealed that, while they often paint Evelyn in a negative light, continue to evoke pity for the woman at the heart of them all.
To say I was surprised by this book is a bit of an understatement. I went in having absolutely no idea what it was about, and walked away so happy to have read it. With points of my own history uncomfortably close to Evelyn’s, I was easily able to empathize with a character who wasn’t entirely sympathetic.