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Why "the Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo" Must Be on Your Reading List

Vaishnavi is an enthusiastic, voracious reader with an equally intense passion for writing and sharing her favorite book reviews!

Why the book has my heart

The brilliance of the book lies in its rawness – raw emotions and raw experiences described in a mesmerizing narrative style. It certainly makes one form a real bond with Evelyn Hugo alongside all other characters including her famous 7 husbands. The story of her life is heartbreaking yet heart-warming, a definite emotional roller-coaster ride. It also gives us a deeper understanding of the dynamics of Hollywood, the price of fame, and what sets a star apart from ‘actors’; In Evelyn’s words, “The difference between an actress and a star is that the star feels comfortable being the very thing the world wants her to be.” We can understand the gargantuan difference between the real and media-portrayed lives of Hollywood stars. I appreciate the author especially for fully portraying all kinds of truths of the star’s life without leaving out the uglies. TJR must be given credit for painting a spellbinding picture about true love that is "all-encompassing" and unconditional.

About the book

Title: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Genre: Historical Fiction

Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid

Published: 2017

Themes: Love, Relationships and Family, Loss and Heartbreak, Sacrifices, Fame and Stardom.

Cover Page

Cover Page

A note on the recurring theme...

The "Price of Fame" is a theme highlighted recurringly throughout the story. Evelyn, in her narration, makes sure to constantly point out how the need to keep up with her stardom always had a big influence on her decisions, both personally and in her career. Surely, her journey from Hell's Kitchen to Hollywood was a tough one. Numerous sacrifices had to be made. Extreme steps had to be taken. "Nobody deserves anything,” Evelyn says. “It's simply a matter of who's willing to go and take it for themselves." Rightly so, her determination and ambition led her to do all it took, and more, in order to get where she wanted.

As she got closer to her dreams however, it seems like her goal post only went farther from her due to greediness. Hugo is vocal about her feelings towards money and fame, for she says, "It is never boring, getting your hands on more money". Evidently, this attitude took a toll on her relationships, personal life and more, leading her to make many unethical and morally corrupt decisions.

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In retrospect, it is clear to her that the materialistic gains that she always worked so much for, could never fill the void within her. They failed to satiate her. All that matters in life is family and its love.

"Praise is just like an addiction. The more you get it, the more of it you need just to stay even."

— Evelyn Hugo (Taylor Jenkins Reid)

The Show-stealer : Evelyn Hugo

In contradiction to the impression created by the title that the story is about the seven husbands of Evelyn Hugo, it is more about the star herself. An in-depth picture is drawn to justify her every life decision, which throws a lot of light on her nature. Personally, the way she led life, incorporating in her ways every bit of wisdom she gained through her experiences in personal and work life, is a highlight for me. If I learned anything from her, it's that "When you're given an opportunity to change your life, be ready to do whatever it takes to make it happen. The world doesn't give things, you take things."

Her grace, attitude, ever-eye-catching beauty, the respect and adoration she commanded, her outlook on love and relationships, her views about what family truly is make us introspect our own values. At each stage, she emerges as the show-stealer, no second thought about that.


My favorite words of Hugo's

On love and relationships:

  • "People think that intimacy is about sex. But intimacy is about truth."
  • "Heartbreak is a loss. Divorce is a piece of paper."
  • "(Relationships are complex. People are messy, and love can be ugly.) I’m inclined to always err on the side of compassion."
  • "Sex is just an act. Sexuality is a sincere expression of desire and pleasure."

On life:

  • "You have to find a job that makes your heart feel big instead of one that makes it feel small."
  • "You can be sorry about something and not regret it"
  • "Don’t be so tied up in trying to do the right thing when the smart thing is so painfully clear."
  • "It’s luck and being a son of a bitch."
  • "No one is just a victim or a victor. Everyone is somewhere in between. People who go around casting themselves as one or the other are not only kidding themselves, but they’re also painfully unoriginal."
  • "The world respects people who think they should be running it."

Find the book here!

© 2022 Vaishnavi

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