Smashing patriarchy: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo


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“The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo”, by Taylor Jenkins Reid. This sapphic romance/historical fiction novel was published in 2017, and has since gone on to win many awards, including a Goodreads Choice Award.

When picking up a book with “seven husbands” in the title, I think it is safe to say I had some ideas as to what the book would be about. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid smashed all of these expectations.

This sapphic romance/historical fiction novel takes place in the 1960s. Although 400 pages, I finished the book in one day. I could not seem to put it down, engrossed in the story of Evelyn Hugo’s life.

With a once in a lifetime opportunity to get exclusive details on actress Evelyn Herrera’s (turned Evelyn Hugo’s) rise to fame, Monique Grant prepares to write the biography of her lifetime. However, as she goes on, Grant uncovers truths that Hugo has never revealed to the public before.

This book had me hooked from the first chapter. Reid alternates her chapters between Hugo’s story and Grant’s life. Although some parts of Grant’s personal story were a bit boring or bland at times, I thought that the way this book was written was nearly perfect. Reid knew exactly where to end anecdotes, switch perspectives, and end chapters in a way that kept me engaged throughout the book.

Not only was the writing amazing, Hugo’s story itself demonstrated more than an actress telling her life story for fame. Rather, Hugo works to destroy the stereotypes built around her, removing the narrative that she is only notable because of her 7 husbands. 

As the book continues, we as readers stop seeing Hugo as defined by her many marriages. We see a new side of Hugo that she has never admitted to anyone but those closest to her. Throughout her seven marriages, Hugo discovered one thing: the love of her life was not one of her husbands.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo gives such wonderful representation to the LQBTQIA+ community. It shows Hugo’s struggles in discovering her sexuality, understanding it, and never feeling comfortable enough to come out, something that many people in the community could relate to.

This book was heartbreaking, but in the best ways. It had me crying, laughing, and smiling so hard my cheeks hurt. I gave this book a 5/5; it exceeded all of my expectations and took the place of my favorite book (at least for now). The book, as promised in the dedication, smashed the patriarchy.