The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid | Book Review

 

seven husbands of evelyn hugo book review

I can’t remember the first book I read which made me lost interest in books about celebrities even though it’s a fiction. So, I never picked those books even if they are the most beloved or the most popular among bookish community, until I picked The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, which is one of the books in the recommendation list of almost every booktube videos I watched. This book becomes the next five star read on June.


The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid | Book Review

Length                                : 398 pages | 12H 10 minutes

Narrator                              : Julia Whelan, Robin Miles, Alma Cuervo

Date released                      : September 23, 2021

Date read                            : June 14 – 20, 2022

Goodreads rating                : 4.48

My rating                           : 5.00

Keywords                          : Adult, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Romance, LGBTQ

Trigger Warning                : abuse, divorce, abortion, terminal illness, homomisia, lesbomisia, bimisia,

        car accident, death, alcohol, smoking, suicide, sexism, paedophilia, drug  

        use, injury

Where to read                    : Storytel 

Mentioned in                     : June 2022 Reading Wrap-Up 

 

BLURB

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ‘80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.” (Goodreads) 

 

MY THOUGHTS

This book changes my opinion about books with celebrities’ life as their main focus and this worth the hype! The Seven Husband of Evelyn Hugo is definitely on my to be re-read list especially when I need an inspirational person talks about their life where they don't only show their “good deeds” they have done which brought them to the current admirable position or their “celebrity tips” to be like them, but I always love the talk about humane things which might be controversial but teach something to the readers.

(Buku ini adalah buku yang sudah mengubah pendapatku mengenai buku-buku yang bercerita mengenai kehidupan selebritis dan this book worth the hype! The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo adalah buku yang  pengen aku re-read terutama di saat aku butuh sosok inspiratif membagikan kisahnya yang gak cuma menampilkan “hal-hal baik” yang sudah dia lakukan untuk mencapai sebuah posisi yang dikagumi oleh orang lain dan “tips-tips” agar bisa menjadi seperti dia, namun aku suka diskusi mengenai hal-hal manusiawi yang mungkin kontroversial tapi yang mampu memberikan sesuatu kepada pembaca)

 

TOPICS

There are many issues discussed inside this book especially about race, sexual orientation dan women’s rights around 50s-60s in Hollywood. Even though it’s a fictional work, the story of Evelyn Hugo felt so real and not too good to be true.

(Banyak isu yang diangkat dan didiskusikan dalam buku ini terutama mengenai ras, orientasi seksual dan perempuan di dunia Hollywood. Meski buku ini fiksi, namun kisah yang dituturkan Evelyn terasa nyata dan tidak terkesan too good to be true.)

This book not only gives spotlight on the glamourous celebrity’s world but also the hard work and determination someone should have in order to reach certain position and keep it. We got some characters who courageously took the risk for their careers to protect beloved people of theirs.

(Buku ini gak hanya menyorot sisi gemerlap dari dunia selebritas namun juga kerja keras atau usaha seperti apa yang harus dilakukan seseorang untuk mencapai posisi tertentu dan mempertahankannya. Kita juga disuguhkan beberapa karakter yang berani mengambil langkah yang beresiko tinggi terhadap karirnya demi melindungi seseorang yang penting bagi mereka.)

 

"Tell them that I was confused, for a very long time, about what love was. Tell them that I understand it now, and I don’t need their love anymore."


KARAKTER

One of things that makes this book feels so real is its characters who are not 100% good or 100% bad. I love reading a book with character who doesn’t deny the “bad thing” they did but they don’t try to justify it or to find sympathy from other people so they don’t feel so bad about it. Evelyn Hugo in this book doesn’t regret anything she did and I admire her for this. Evelyn Hugo is a strong character who does anything to reach her goals, but at the same time she learned about herself thoughout her journey.

(Salah satu hal yang bikin buku ini terasa nyata adalah karakternya yang gak selalu 100% baik atau 100% jahat. Aku suka banget kalau ketemu karakter yang gak menyangkal kalau dia melakukan hal yang menurut dia buruk namun juga gak membenarkan perbuatan tersebut ataupun mencari simpati agar dia tidak menyesalinya. Tokoh Evelyn di buku ini tidak menyesali hal-hal yang telah terjadi apapun itu dan hal itu membuatku kagum padanya. Evelyn Hugo adalah karakter yang kuat dan mau melakukan apapun untuk mencapai tujuannya, namun dia juga belajar mengenai dirinya sendiri sepanjang perjalanan hidupnya tersebut.)

I can’t judge someone’s decision to do something as bad or good, because everything in this world can’t be placed immediately into good box or bad box or to make them into one line headline news. I can’t really agree with Evelyn’s actions but I admired her character and she becomes someone I look up to because of her hard work and determination.

(Aku gak bisa menyebut perbuatan seseorang sebagai salah atau benar, karena semua hal di dunia ini tidak bisa diceritakan begitu saja dalam satu baris judul headline berita. Aku juga gak bisa setuju dan membenarkan perbuatan Evelyn, namun aku kagum pada karakter ini dan menjadikannya sebagai sosok yang aku kagumi karena kemauan dan kerja kerasnya.)

Beside Evelyn, there is Monique, a journalist who interviewed her and had her own problems. It seems I would be Monique if I were part of this book. Evelyn’s character and story influenced her so she could changed her mind and decided for something she used to hesitate for a long time.

(Selain Evelyn, ada tokoh Monique yang mewawancarai Evelyn yang juga memiliki masalah tersendiri dalam kehidupannya. Rasanya kalau aku masuk ke dalam buku ini, aku berada di posisi Monique. Pengaruh kisah dan karakter seorang Evelyn ini mampu mengubah pikiran seorang Monique dan membuatnya mampu membuat sebuah keputusan yang selama ini dia enggan melakukannya.)

In this book, we also got to know Evelyn’s seven husbands, her friends and assistants whose different characters but felt so natural and their existence in this book influenced how Evelyn’s character developed and how she made certain decisions in her life.

(Di buku ini kita juga dikenalkan pada ketujuh suami Evelyn, teman-teman dan asisten Evelyn yang semuanya memiliki karakter berbeda namun terasa natural dan keberadaan mereka inilah yang membuat Evelyn melakukan keputusan-keputusan tertentu.)


"When you dig just the tiniest bit beneath the surface, everyone’s love life is original and interesting and nuanced and defies any easy definition." 


WRITING

The title for each section to tell the story of Evelyn’s husbands has different tone for each different character such as Smart, Disappointing, Agreeable, etc. from these titles we can guess how each husband looked like and behaved, but the revelation of how those titles were given to them is really different from my expectation. Which is cool!

(Judul tiap bagian untuk menceritakan karakter para suami Evelyn ini memberikan tone yang berbeda bagi tiap karakter yang diceritakan. Misalnya Smart, Disappointing, Agreeable, dll. Melalui judul bagian ini kita bisa menebak gimana kurang lebih karakter masing-masing suami Evelyn Hugo, namun pengungkapan bagaimana judul itu bisa diberikan sama sekali berbeda dengan yang aku bayangkan. Which is cool.)

Then there are some newspaper clippings about Evelyn’s life and people related to her both fact and gossips which are really cool because each newspaper has different writing style for the same subject.

(Kemudian ada kutipan-kutipan dari surat kabar mengenai update kehidupan Evelyn dan orang-orang yang berkaitan dengannya baik fakta maupun gosip yang benar-benar keren menurutku karena tiap surat kabar pun punya gaya penulisan yang berbeda untuk subyek yang sama.)

Taylor Jenkins Reid’s writing is easy to follow with the right pacing, not too fast nor too slow. It’s just felt like a professional actress told about her life, for real. This book made me want to pick another book by this author.

(Gaya penulisan Taylor Jenkins Reid di sini mudah diikuti dan pacingnya pas, gak terlalu cepat gak terlalu lambat, kayak seorang aktris profesional bercerita mengenai kehidupannya beneran. Buku ini bikin aku pengen baca buku lain dari penulis ini.)

 

FOUND SO MANY FAVORITE QUOTES

This book becomes one of my favorite quote suppliers this year. There are many favorite and eye-opening conversations and thoughts of Evelyn in this book so I made a twitter thread for this book which 90% of it filled by Evelyn Hugo’s quotes. 

(Buku ini jadi salah satu buku di tahun ini yang menjadi penyedia quote favorit. Banyak banget kata-kata dari Evelyn yang eye-opening dan juga sangat aku suka sehingga aku membuat thread twitter untuk buku ini yang sepertinya 90% isinya quote dari Evelyn Hugo.)

 

"There are people who see a beautiful flower and rush over to pick it. They want to hold it in their hands, they want to own it. They want the flower’s beauty to be theirs, to be within their possession, their control."


PLOT

This book doesn’t have unique plot but it feels like something that might happen in the real world. From the beginning to the end, even though the part where Evelyn revealed her reasons to Monique as her interviewer where I thought it would be less interesting but turned out to give balanced portion to Monique and her thoughts to make a decision, this book has the stability to keep the reader read the book until the end, and I wonder there are some other books like this.

(Plot di buku ini bukan plot yang unik, namun rasanya bisa terjadi di dunia nyata. Dari awal hingga akhir, meski waktu pengungkapan maksud Evelyn memilih Monique sebagai interviewernya yang aku pikir bakal berkurang keseruannya namun ternyata buku ini memberikan porsi yang pas untuk Monique dan opini-opininya untuk membuat sebuah keputusan, buku ini punya kekuatan yang stabil untuk membuat para pembaca terus membaca hingga akhir. dan bikin aku berpikir apa aku bisa ketemu buku kayak gini lagi ya.)


the seven husbands of evelyn hugo short review lailiving
This graphic is part of my twitter reading thread for The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

 

FINAL VERDICT

Definitely one of my favorite books of 2022 which gives me a huge unexpected impact on being determined, unapologetically strong person and open to the limitless shades between black and white things in this world.

 

So, how about you? Have you read this book? Tell me your thoughts in the comment box below.

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