Book review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

This fictional memoir does some serious bi representation and takes us back to a time when bisexuality was really misunderstood.

The cover of "The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo" by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Who was Evelyn Hugo?

Evelyn Hugo is a movie star from the time when stars were contracted to, and controlled by, studios. Forced to conform and change, Evelyn sets about making a name for herself in Hollywood.

Evelyn is a powerful character. While she is in a system that is controlling her work life, her personal life is very much her domain. Men that dare enter that life are under her thumb.

The novel follows the story of Evelyn Hugo telling her life to a magazine writer who Evelyn has chosen to write her biography. Interspersed with Evelyn’s life story, which reads as a biography, we get snippets of the biographer’s life and their building relationship.

An Oscar statuette

“Evelyn closes her eyes for a moment, and at first I think she is processing the weight of what I’ve just said, but once she opens her eyes again, I realize she is trying to process my stupidity.”

Clever storytelling

There are a great number of themes woven beautifully together and the twist comes perfectly, making you question everything!

One of the great aids to the storytelling is the use of “other media” throughout the book. Newspaper clippings and magazine articles add to the sense of time and give a great variety to the writing.

Like Last Night at the Telegraph Club, I have to admit that I wasn’t expecting to get much out of this novel. However, by reading more of different identities I am beginning to realise that the whole queer community really does share a lot.

I would thoroughly recommend reading The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.

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Published by Nick Taylor | Editor & Proofreader

Editor and proofreader specialising in LGBTQ+ writing, both fiction and non-fiction.

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