Once upon a time, I could have become an actress. I have a distant aunt who was a very famous actress in Taiwan who had extended this once in a lifetime opportunity to me. But, the price I would have had to pay, was that I had to lose weight; a lot of weight. I was a fat kid growing up, and will always be a fat kid at heart. I wasn’t willing to bend over backwards to become accepted by the media and into fame. I’ve always wanted to only be accepted for who I am, exactly as I come – all or nothing. So, I turned down the offer. Shamelessly.
Reading always seems to be a bit more intimate than watching a movie, and Taylor Jenkins Reid really delivered to us the glimpse of Hollywood that we all so desperately needed. Except, we come to find out that being sucked into fame isn’t as easy as we imagine it to be.
Enter Cuban-American actress Evelyn Herrera, better known as Evelyn Hugo in this fantastically written novel. She was a gorgeous, voluptuous, bombshell icon – everyone wanted a piece of her. Now, a nearing 80 year old Hugo finally wanted her story to be told and she only wanted one person to write her story: Monique Grant. Grant is a not-so-well-known journalist who, in her personal life is going through a divorce. And, for someone as famous as Hugo to want specifically to tell her story was confusing not only to Grant but to the reader as well.
Seven husbands, seven love stories … at least that’s how it was portrayed to the public. What was Hollywood like between the 50’s and 80’s? Through many marriages, also came with many layers of Evelyn Hugo that the reader has yet to discover. Each marriage had a different purpose, a different reason. We fall in love for the first time when Hugo does. And then, when she realized what true love actually meant for her, what it actually felt like … we fall with her again; this time we fall harder.
A forbidden love. A deep, dark secret. Monique Grant does finally agree to write Evelyn Hugo’s biography but, at what cost? Two stories with two heroines with a heartbreaking connection at the end.
“They are just husbands. I am Evelyn Hugo. And anyway, I think once people know the truth, they will be much more interested in my wife.”