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PUBLISHER: WASHINGTON SQUARE PRESS (AN IMPRINT OF SIMON AND SCHUSTER) 2017
“It’s always been fascinating to me how things can be simultaneously true and false, how people can be good and bad all in one, how someone can love you in a way that is beautifully selfless while serving themselves ruthlessly.”
This book is about Human complexities. Human frailties. Human strength. Human ambition. Human compassion.
‘The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo’ by Taylor Jenkins Reid is a historical fiction spanning from the 1950s to the 80s chronicling the life of a famous movie star who is ready to do a tell-all in the twilight zone of her life.
Evelyn Hugo picks up Monique Grant, a not-so-famous journalist (reason to unfold later) to narrate her biography and give her the scoop of her life.
The seven husbands and the stories behind each marriage form the scene for Hollywood in those days unfolding a story of ambition, greed, competition, lies, and selfishness along with a tale of forbidden love.
Taylor Jenkins Reid has carefully peeled layers of emotions through the characters on each page unfolding the conflicts and convictions.
When Monique Grant is getting ready for the first meeting with Evelyn Hugo, the tiniest of thoughts are narrated.
Initially, Monique comes across as a rabbit caught in the headlights. Overwhelmed. Too much happens too fast. Why her? Why has Evelyn Hugo selected her to be the one? And when Evelyn Hugo offers her one-in-a-million chance to do her biography, she is completely taken aback. Caught between honesty and an inner ambition. Disliking lying to her boss about the new developments. But in the end, of course, ambition takes over. She wants her letters in big and bold.
On page 146, when Monique and Evelyn shake hands for the deal, an eerie similarity between them creeps over. Monique at this stage is yet the nicer one … Evelyn till this page is smart, manipulative, ambitious, and a go-getter willing to pay costs.
Evelyn is portrayed as ruthless from the start. Aims clear, dreams refined. The way forward chalked out. Emotions had no place in the road ahead. When she is leaving her first husband, Ernie, she is brutally honest, arousing a twinge of respect for her honesty.
But as she races ahead, new facets emerge. A softening when she encounters the love of her life, Celia St James.
I loved the character of Harry. A breath of fresh air in the myriad complex world of Hollywood. Steadfast. Dependable.
The book is a fast read. It flows easily from page to page. New circumstances emerge unfolding newer facets, newer responses.
The book has been discussed too for the similarity between Evelyn Hugo and Elizabeth Taylor. On being questioned about it, Taylor Jenkins Reid says, “You can’t write about an iconic Hollywood star of the sixties without bumping up against Elizabeth Taylor. “ ( https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-seven-husbands-of-evelyn-hugo-a-q-a-with-taylor_b_59232576e4b07617ae4cbe61 )
‘The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo’ is a good read and it’s adaption as a film is eagerly awaited.
A communications professional, passionately interested in books and a writer at heart.
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Trigger Warning: This has graphic descriptions of violence and may be triggering to survivors and victims of violence.
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