Off the Bucket List: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Taylor Jenkins Reid’s “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” has been hanging around on my TBR list forever and a day. I picked it up a while back on Indie Bookstore Day while shopping Page One in Evanston, IL — I know from other TJR fans how much they love this book and while I had a few others of hers under my belt, for some reason I just hadn’t gotten to this yet.

And it’s the perfectly delicious kind of soapy Bravo story to break up a streak of heavy drama and dark dystopian reads.

Evelyn Hugo is cinema’s vampy It Girl from the late 1950s through to the 1980s — an actress that used both her brain, her body and her questionable ethics to get ahead, to endure and to succeed at finally embracing her true self, before taking one last shot at clearing her conscience in sharing her life story with a talented-yet-struggling writer.

That writer is Monique Grant, and while her story generally takes a backseat to Evelyn’s, it’s no less important in the overall narrative — that being the many forms love takes throughout our lives. Whether it’s familial, friendly or fiery, those relationships centered in commitment are at the forefront of “Evelyn Hugo.”

One doesn’t have anything to do with the other, but I found myself thinking about this book while reading it and comparing it to a podcast my daughter got me hooked on — “Normal Gossip.” Evelyn’s life is one episode of that podcast after another — each husband another character in her cast, and with each relationship, I found myself asking myself who I thought the villain was, as Normal Gossip’s hosts do. I think one of the keys to this book’s compelling nature is through each piece of this tale, the villain changes — at least for me. That’s what kept me turning the pages, for sure — never knowing who, at the end of a section about one husband, was going to be the reason there was going to be another section, and another husband.

I loved this book, loved its gossipy nature, and loved its messy ending. I, like the rest of TJR’s fans, will wait anxiously to see if and when Netflix gets the ball rolling on an adaptation. It’s a perfect long weekend read and sure to get book clubs talking, if you haven’t dissected this one already.

Happy Fall, y’all.

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