Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Saturday self-care….

Wow! I picked up The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid on Saturday morning, and didn’t climb out of my hole until Sunday night near midnight! Ahhh… that’s a slight exaggeration, I did a few other things like bathe, fix food, talk to my hubby, go to the theatre… but, omg, I was hooked!

Monique Grant is a thirty something aspiring writer who wonders why Evelyn Hugo has requested her, and only her, to write her biography. It’s a story of how at the age of 15 she married her first husband in order to runaway from her disappointing childhood. I realized pretty quickly that Evelyn used her ensuing marriages to not only gain acclaim and stardom, but also to protect a secret love that was seen as dark and dirty during the 50’s-80’s era.  

Evelyn Hugo is a strong female, who will not be controlled by men or let anyone stand in her path to fame. I’m surprised I fell in love with her character since I was judgmental of her at the beginning. In fact, this book has several strong women in it who deal with messy issues in their lives and come out even more badass. Ultimately, Evelyn leads Monique to understand how strong she can be in her writing and career. 

Taylor Jenkins Reid’s structuring of the story is brilliant. She alternates between the past, with Evelyn’s relationships and rise to stardo, and present, with an 80 something Evelyn telling her story to Monique. In between we see snippets of magazine tabloids about Evelyn. It’s addictive, and will keep you turning pages. 

I’d like to tell you more about the aspects of this story that really caused reflection for me, but I would be forced to reveal part of her secret, and you need to discover that on your own. 

TJR love…

Taylor Jenkins Reid is one of my new favorite authors. After reading her latest book, Daisy Jones and the Six, I knew I needed more of Reid in my life. The Seven Marriages of Evelyn Hugo did not disappoint, and I’ve now added the rest of her work to my ever-growing TBR list. 

An American Marriage / Tayari Jones

A husband is wrongfully accused of rape and convicted to twelve years in prison. A wife tries to remain strong while he’s gone. Their back and forth letters are touching. It was like I was able to peer into their personal lives and feel some of what they felt. As a woman, some of the letters Roy wrote to Celestial made be angry, and yet here he is, a black man tried and treated unfairly. A man whose home is a prison full of many hopeless men.

As I read more, I became intrigued with the characters. Sometimes I wanted to tell them to wake up…a sign of a good book. Near the end I realized that my not being black made the story hard for me to read in places. I don’t understand what it means to be a black young person, especially a man, in this day. I can’t relate because of the privileges I’ve had being born white and being married to a white man. Oh my…I need to understand, want to understand.  I’ll quote Celestial, “Accident of birth is the number one predictor of happiness.” Recently my husband was pulled over by a white deputy for a traffic violation while I was with him. My husband, even though he felt like the officer had been unnecessarily rough with him, was given a mere warning. Would it have concluded differently if he’d been black? We both had the feeling it would have. An American Marriage brings all these points home in a timely fashion without being preachy or even political. 

I was happy with the ending even though it wasn’t what I expected. This book unquestionably made me think. I hope I’ve tried to summarize the book in a relatable way. This was a 5 star book for me. 

Oh, by the way, http://www.tayarijones.com/did a book talk near us, and we were able to go! What a delight, to hear her speak AND meet her afterwards! I’m looking forward to reading her other books!

careyloves meeting Tayari! Look at her typewriter purse! Soooo cool!