5/5 – When I read We Are Okay, I said that I didn’t know if another book would ever make me feel so connected to a story. I felt this same connection to The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and I can’t believe lightning in a bottle struck twice in one month.
This book made me happy, broke my heart, and left me speechless. In that order. Everything about this book and what happened felt like a true story. Taylor Jenkins Reid wrote characters that felt real. I loved Evelyn Hugo, I loved Celia St. James, I loved Harry Cameron. As Evelyn Hugo was telling the story of her life spanning decades, an epic, she was real. I could hear her voice and see her in my mind even though she didn’t exist. It felt like we were the ones sitting across from her listening to her tell her story, her truth. Not what was published in magazines and newspapers. She did what she had to gain wealth and fame, as she started from a Cuban girl from Hell’s Kitchen desperate to escape to Hollywood where she would ultimately become one of the biggest stars of her era. Not once did she regret the life she led. She was a woman who embraced her sexuality by using it to get what she wanted and openly enjoying it when it gave her pleasure. Once again, first-person perspective was done right, used effectively. It makes all of the bad examples stand out like a sore thumb.
It was an epic love story. This book is about a woman who fell in love with another woman. I’ve read multiple books about two women in love. This was different. It wasn’t two teenagers falling for each other, it was two women who weren’t allowed to be open about their love in the world they lived in and in the time they lived in. Evelyn Hugo is bisexual. It’s said multiple times on the page and she insists on the label because she has loved men and loved a woman. She doesn’t let anyone forget that she has done both.
The book is divided into parts. Each part represents a different husband but rarely is it about the husband. Some marriages were real, some were just for show. Evelyn is so open and honest about every single one. She does not skip over the ugly parts, nor does she push aside the wonderful parts. Her image has always been the woman who had seven husbands. Every time she divorced and remarried, it was headlining news. It’s how she was presented to everyone, but it was not who she was. Underneath those headlines are the complexity of her relationships and ultimately the actions she takes.
I think what I will take most from this book are the relationships. The word soulmate is thrown around multiple times in this book, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t believe in soulmates. Someone you would do anything for, do anything to protect them, to keep them in your life and someone who ultimately made you feel whole. Someone that time and distance couldn’t stop you from loving. It’s very powerful. The intimacy between people is powerful. In some ways, it’s beyond my comprehension and in other ways I understand. We would be incredibly lucky to find someone like that.
I knew early on in the book I was going to rate it five stars. I had a small doubt that something might happen which would ruin it for me, but it never came. At the end of the day, five stars is just a ranking. The book is going to stick with me and that means a lot more than how many stars I think it deserves. I didn’t let myself question or worry about what was going to happen next, I just read and let it all unfold before me.
It was incredibly difficult to put down this book every time I had to. This book is just incredible. I haven’t even talked about everything, and I don’t think I could if I wanted to. I don’t feel I can sum up everything I feel about this book. I will be thinking about this hours from now, days from now, weeks from now and maybe one day several years from now I will think about this book again. I want someone to have the same experience as I did, by going in knowing as little as possible. Here is all I can give you, Evelyn Hugo is a Cuban-American, bisexual goddess who is telling a reporter Monique about her life and career in Hollywood.
Once again, I have to ask to take this recommendation and my review with a grain of salt. I know what it’s like to read a hyped book and end up disappointed. Trust me, I know. I hope that as a reader you just dive right in, don’t worry about the hype or high expectations. Just get comfortable, pour yourself your favorite drink, and just read. Just listen to Evelyn Hugo tell you about her life.