Everybody loves some good gossip. Judge me all you like, but awhile ago I loved knowing the juicy news about the hottest stars. As I got older, I started realizing that my idol worship was silly, as there was a living human beings attached to the gossip I would pour over.
The more you see someone as a human like you, the harder it is to roll around joyfully in their pain. We enjoy watching people rise, but even more when they fall.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo isn’t a book I would normally gravitate to, but I thought I could satisfy the gossip bug with fiction characters. The book centers around Hollywood starlet Evelyn Hugo, a glamorous movie star of the ‘50s, and her exit out of the industry in the ‘80s. Scandal followed her throughout her career, especially her multiple marriages.
Now 79, Evelyn is ready to discuss her side of the story and she picks unknown journalist Monique Grant to ghost write her biography. While Monique is thrilled for this once-in-lifetime opportunity, she doesn’t understand why Evelyn insisted on her alone for this project.
As Evelyn details the secrets behind all of her marriages and decades of fame and heartache, Monique starts to feel connected and inspired by Evelyn. But when Evelyn comes closer to the present, it becomes clear why Monique was chosen, and their tragic connection.
It’s nice to be surprised once in awhile.
The surprise was how sucked in I was by Evelyn Hugo and her story, which wasn’t what I was expecting. The usual trappings of the scandal story are there, but the ending really got to me. I was crying for Evelyn and the loss she endured in her later years.
What hit me is that I didn’t see how Evelyn and Monique were connected until the reveal was dropped, and then I felt like I was punched in the chest. Maybe some readers will guess, but not me.
Another strong element is the different varieties of relationships shown throughout the novel, including gay and bisexual characters, and how the hollywood industry and public were unkind to LGBTQ people from the ‘50s to the ‘80s.
I think I really liked this book because I found Evelyn to be a complicated person, someone I probably should be rooting against but somehow couldn’t. I know there’s going to be plenty of readers who will hate Evelyn Hugo, because she owns her decisions. Even the ones that hurt other people.
She’s not likable, nor does Evelyn in her older age care to be likable. For once in her life she just wants to be honest. If we as readers want strong female characters, than we must accept all shades, not just heroines. Plus, complicated characters are far more interesting.