Book Review of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Ameena Khan, Editor

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid has been a high interest teen novel for the past few years. The novel explores themes such as love, intimacy, scandal, and secrecy, making for a book that is hard to put down. This novel isn’t only enticing and scandalous, but it portrays true love in a beautiful, destructive, and chaotic way. It also showcases the uglier side of the acting industry, and the sacrifices one must make to be successful.

This beautifully written novel is historical fiction, but instead of focusing on a specific event in history, the novel focuses on the time period of “Old Hollywood.” This story is told from two perspectives, Evelyn Hugo in her past, and Monique Grant who is interviewing Evelyn Hugo to document her life. The altering perspectives highlights the time period of “Old Hollywood,” narrated by Hugo, and switches to the present day when Grant is narrating. The altering perspectives adds complexity to the book, as it explores the character development of both Hugo and Grant. The book mainly focuses on Hugo’s character development and how she survived as a young, aspiring actress. It also documents the seven husbands that Hugo had, and the struggles she went through to pursue a successful career in acting.

This novel has a beautiful cover that captures the eye. It shows Hugo in a striking emerald green gown with extravagant jewelry, glowing tan skin, and bright blonde hair. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is not only appealing on the outside but portrays Hugo’s life with beautiful diction and imagery. The vivid description of Hugo’s life as a child and the imagery used to describe her award events, gowns, and jewelry portrays to the reader the ambition and work Hugo had to put in to achieve the extravagant life she always wanted. Neutral or casual diction is used throughout the vast majority of the story, with some informal diction mixed in. The causal way in which the book was written helps the reader understand the story and follow the plot and makes the emotional connection between the characters and the reader more natural.

Another aspect of the novel that was done well was the theme and core message of the story.  In The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, using internal and external conflict, Reid highlights the concepts of love and scandal to demonstrate that sacrificing one’s morals is often the price of pursing success. Hugo often prioritized her career and success over the ones who were closest to her. Hugo took every unfortunate scenario she was in and made the most of it and had no regrets along the way, despite hurting and putting people down. It’s difficult to condemn Hugo’s actions throughout the novel, as she was doing everything she could to escape her unfortunate circumstances. Hugo’s actions imply that she had a lot of strength and ambition at a young age to pursue success, and she doesn’t regret a single decision she made.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid is a beautiful work that explores romance and secrecy along with the need to sacrifice one’s morals in pursuit of success and ambition. This theme was portrayed through a variety of conflicts faced by Evelyn Hugo throughout her life story. This theme makes one evaluate their life choices and question whether they have prioritized their ambitions over the ones closest to them. This novel is beautifully written, a fantastic read for young readers, and helps young readers dive into more mature literature. If you like novels with an intricate plot, based in past time periods, and exploring themes about love and deception, then this book is for you.