What I Learned from Evelyn Hugo

Let me first begin by saying that I have read A LOT of books over the past year. Some have moved me, some have bored me, some have intrigued but there are some that have changed me. They left an impact on my life that’s so deep that I continue to think about the characters on a daily basis—which is exactly what happened after reading Taylor Jenkins Reid’s novel, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. Actually, as I write this, Reid has released her newest book Daisy Jones and the Six and I am actively checking my Amazon tracking information in hopes that it will say “delivered.” I am hoping that her newest novel will have a similar impact on me and I have a sneaking suspicion that it will be amazing!

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is what made me love to read again. I was immediately sucked into the powerhouse that is Evelyn Hugo. For those of you who haven’t read this book, 1. You should buy it NOW and 2. Here is a little background information on what the book is about….

Evelyn Hugo has experienced a lot in her life. She’s had a lot of highs and she’s had more than her fair share of lows—but now, she’s ready for the world to know her story. She requests the presence of a young journalist Monique Grant She invites Monique to come to her home and interview her. Evelyn only wants Monique for the job and as humbled as Monique is for the opportunity to learn the secrets of the great Evelyn Hugo, she doesn’t understand why she was chosen.

Over the course of a few days, Evelyn begins to tell Monique her tale. She begins at the beginning; even before her first husband. She tells her story of how she made it to Los Angeles and why she decided to leave her fame behind in the ’80s. She tells her story of how she came to have her seven husbands. Evelyn’s life always seemed glamorous from the outside but Monique quickly learns that there is much more beneath the surface of this woman.  She learns the complex secrets of a woman who has lived her life in the spotlight and finally, she learns Evelyn’s biggest secret; a secret so devastating that Monique is left wondering why she ever agreed to interview this woman.

This story taught me countless lessons but it also left me wondering what I could do to become as tenacious as Evelyn Hugo. She was tough as nails and she wasn’t afraid of what life threw at her. Sure, she made some mistakes along the way but she persisted, she did not give up who she was. She made sacrifices and she took risks.

I started reading about Evelyn on a Sunday morning and I finished her story six hours later. I have no idea what the rest of my family was doing that day, I just knew that my world was consumed by the life of Evelyn Hugo. I couldn’t put the book down, I wanted to hear her story. I found myself so deeply invested in her character that it changed me. 

I wouldn’t consider myself to be an overly emotional person—sure there are points in movies or TV shows that make me cry (hello, ending of The Office and Gilmore Girls) but I don’t think I had ever cried while reading a book. Evelyn Hugo unleashed the flood gates; I sobbed at multiple points of this novel. My heart broke for all that she endured and all the pain that she carried with her throughout her life. But, the tears didn’t stop me from continuing to read.

When the last page of her story was before me, I was completely unprepared. I wasn’t ready for it to end. But, the beauty of  what Taylor Jenkins Reid’s did with her story of  Evelyn is that she brought her to life for me and her story, for me, hasn’t ended. I still carry it with me and think about Evelyn often. Because of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, I learned how to enjoy reading again. I learned how to let a book take hold of my heart and soul.

As I said earlier, if you haven’t already read this book then order it offline, stop by your local book store or borrow it from your local library. Once you’ve had a chance to read it, let me know your thoughts! I love discussing this book (or really any book) with people. It allows me to feel even more connected to the characters.

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