Book Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Book Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Sarah Pine

Walking into a Barnes and Noble sometimes feels like an arduous mission. There are thousands of titles and authors to choose from, and I could spend an indefinite amount of hours reading the descriptions of every book on every shelf. That’s why I sometimes turn to TikTok–specifically BookTok–for recommendations. There are a few common titles that float around, but one of the books I’ve seen most is The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, written by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I picked up the book, thinking that I would probably not understand the hype surrounding it online; however, I thoroughly enjoyed it. 

 The novel, published in 2017, centers around a journalist– Monique– who receives an unexpected request: famous retired actress Evelyn Hugo wants her to write a “tell all” article for Vivant, the magazine she works for. Monique is perplexed by the request, considering that she has a very low level job at Vivant, and that Evelyn Hugo–arguably the most famous actress in old Hollywood– wants her to write the article. After their first time meeting, Evelyn reveals that she does not want Monique to write an article for Vivant, but rather she wants Monique to tell her life story– including the stories of Evelyn’s seven marriages– in a biography that would be published after Hugo’s death. Monique– even more perplexed– continues to meet with Evelyn, and as she hears more of her story, she realizes why Evelyn wanted her to write the biography. 

When I started reading The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. I was in somewhat of a reading slump. I had spent a couple of weeks reading my last book– longer than average for a slow summer– so I was hoping that this book would pack enough drama and action to get me back to my normal pace. It, very effectively, did: I absorbed the contents of the book in only two days. Reid does a great job of balancing both the storytelling aspect of Evelyn Hugo’s life– which is full of drama and surprises– while simultaneously placing it in Monique’s world, where she is dealing with her own slew of misfortunes. By forming the question around Evelyn’s intentions in Monique writing this biography, I had no choice but to keep reading, awaiting the shocking twist. Despite my speculation over what the big surprise was, none of my premonitions were correct, and I was truly shocked when I finally reached the climax. Reid also does a great job of keeping the reader interested throughout the novel, filling Evelyn’s story with the harsh realities of Hollywood, as well as displaying the power Evelyn held in the male dominated industry. 

If you are looking for a dramatic, quick book to pick up and put down within a few days, I would highly recommend The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. It is a worthwhile read, and there is also speculation of a possible book or movie adaptation, so you should get to reading it before it is inevitably ruined on screen.