“Taking pride in your beauty is a damning act. Because you allow yourself to believe that the only thing notable about yourself is something with a very short shelf life.” Taylor Jenkins Reid, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Prior to this book, I had not read a single five star book in 2019. I was ACHING for a wonderful, memorable, page turning, heart wrenching, gut twisting book, and TAYLOR JENKINS REID HAS DONE IT! I do not hand out 5 star reads easily anymore, but this, my friends…this was all the stars and more. I’ve never read TJR before, but this will not be my last by her. I read it on my Kindle and immediately went and purchased a physical copy to be able to loan out to friends and family. I will never stop recommending this book.
The concept of this novel was unique for me. A book within a book is the only way to look at it – our narrator (Monique) is a writer, drafting a book about the infamous (although fictional) Evelyn Hugo. Jumping back and forth between present day and Evelyn’s memories, TJR captured all of the glory, fame, terror and loneliness of living a life in the spotlight. We have the privilege of learning Evelyn’s thoughts, feelings, major life events, and all the mystery behind her and her seven husbands.
I am not normally a fan of characters that have very few redeemable qualities. I have a hard time reading about people that I would never want to know or associate myself with. While Evelyn’s character had some absolutely despicable thoughts and made some terrible decisions, I still found her flawed self to be endearing and relatable. While I didn’t see a LOT of myself in Evelyn Hugo, I saw SOME of myself, and that made me love her. She was extreme without being unreachable. While she lived a wild, fancy life, she allowed herself to be vulnerable and to wear her heart on her sleeve.
Our narrator, Monique, also grew a ton as a character throughout the book. She gained a backbone, she made a friend, she learned about love and life and she came out a stronger person.
This book was an absolute win, a gem, and it made me feel feelings…something I very rarely allow myself to do. I can’t wait to get my hands on another TJR soon!