29 March 2022

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Late in 2021 Allie and I did a bookswap after I finished reading the new Salley Rooney Beautiful World, Where Are You (reviewed in full here). I lent her Rooney, and she leant me The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I am usually hesitant to do bookswaps because I start to worry about when I will finish the book and get it back to them. Unfortunately, Allie quickly returned my book, but her copy is still sitting on my bookshelf.

This is the second book by Reid I have been lent over the last few years. The first time I read her work was when Ben's mom gave me her copy of Daisy Jones and the Six. I had a similar experience reading both books - I moved through them very quickly, but never felt like they were really my cup of tea. But I noticed a lot of people reading Evelyn Hugo and it seemed like it was even more well received then Daisy Jones

This book is the story of old Hollywood star Evelyn Hugo and the relationships that transpired throughout her career. As the title suggests, she is married seven times and the book moves in chronological order. Evelyn narrates her own story to a young reporter she seemingly plucks out of oblivion. Similarly to Daisy Jones, Reid uses the interview as her main approach to storytelling. It's not stylized in the same way as Daisy Jones which read as an actual transcript, but Reid still uses little elements like newspaper clippings or media reports to transition from each husband. 

A big issue I have with Reid is that I hate these kind of narrative devices. It takes me out of feeling like I'm reading a novel. I know Reid recently put out a new book, and I would be curious to see if she uses a similar technique.

I did like using the marriages as a way to shape the character's story. It also made me move pretty quickly through the book because it feels so "chunked." I'd almost want to "wrap up" one relationship before I'd put the book down. 

Taylor Jenkins Reid

I also enjoyed the references to the movies the characters were working on. Evenly stars in an adaptation of Little Women and also Anna Karenina. The connection to Hollywood and movie-making was probably what I enjoyed most about the book. All the politics behind making a movie and who gets cast seemed fairly realistic. I also enjoyed how so many scenes were set at the Oscars. 

This book also involves two twists which I didn't really see coming. I am someone who never thinks ahead while watching a movie or reading a book, and I rarely ever guess the ending until it starts to unfold. The final twist in this book may have been obvious to most, but I didn't really suspect it. 

I think this is a book anyone could enjoy at any age. If you are ever looking for a quick gift, I think this would definitely be a crowd pleaser! I enjoyed my time reading The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, but I think this is my last time reading anything by Reid. 

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