Book Club Review - Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Updated: May 17
Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid.
Excerpts of this book kept appearing in my tumblr feed for years everytime I searched for Taylor Swift and Kaylor. I had ignored it millions of times until the Covid-19 lockdown aka the Circuit Breaker came into effect in my country. Also on the other hand, I still have a handful of books which I have yet to finish reading mainly are non-fictions, such as Seeing What's Next by Christensen, Anthony and Roth and a book of poetry Simmering Light. The last time I read anything fiction was from incredible fanfiction writers from my favourite fandoms such as #Bechloe #Brittana #Supercorp #Swiftgron #Kaylor. This was like three to four years ago.
Currently, am in a stage that I am deprived of reading a book - anything fiction. Then, I saw a post by one of my favorite writers, Shamim Sharif, of her new book Athena Protocol. She was also the writer of the amazing and beautiful love story for I Can't Think Straight and The World Unseen -- both novels and movies. I ping her personally through her instastory like "I want this!". And she replied "then I hope you can get it!". You know when your favorite writer takes the time to reply to you, you should definitely get ahold of it, isn't it? So, I bought it right away from Amazon and decided to also purchase the Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Well, a week later, I received Reid's and while writing this after 2 weeks later, Athena Protocol has still not reached me.
SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO by Taylor Jenkins Reid
As I had mentioned earlier, I had purchased this masterpiece out of curiosity. Before reading it, I had told myself to cleanse my mind, be fresh from all the theories I have read so as not to be bias towards what others had shared in tumblr.
Before that, let me tell you the backstory of tumblr tags on this book. The tumblr bloggers or we called it the theory investigators said that there are a number of lyrics from Taylor's songs and life scenario are found to be similar in the book. Some even said that this book is about Taylor. Anyway, I had cleansed and cleansed my mind like how we try to cleanse our hands with sanitizers. It was fine until...
It was fine until...at many occurrences, I understood why and what the tumblr bloggers meant. It is like something you cannot put aside and tell yourself "Ah..it is merely a coincidence." I mean you can if you have not invested your time reading the tumblr theories for years. However, it has too many coincidences that I kept laughing or woah-ing so many times everytime words or scenes appeared on these pages.
The following are some excerpts which I found that connects to tumblr theories and our TS. And I have questions for discussion or maybe not.
1) "How does she know just how much to give and just how much of herself to withhold? ...Or is she going to play me the same way she played audiences for years?". There were discussions on how TS is a smart celebrity when she is sharing about her personal life especially related to relationship. It was debated that her relationships with the men we read in tabloids were in fact not real. It is merely for PR. And she will be out and about with them only when she chose to for reasons.
2) Evelyn Hugo played Jo in Little Women 1959 movie.
3) The phrase used as "all's well that ends well" appeared too in Taylor's hit song, Lover. This phrase seems to be a common and old phrase. But still...
4) "Photographers snapped shots as we sat together. We pretended not to see them, making it look like as if we were laughing together, arm in arm." The use of PR photos to promote Hugo and Brick's movies and themselves together even though they are not in a relationship. --- As mentioned earlier, in tumblr there are debatable assumptions about when TS went out with those men she was said to be dating only whenever she has something to promote.
5) "....after all, I loved Harry like a brother. I wasn't ready to be one of them." The use of this phrase when Hugo considered Harry, her gay best friend. --- This phrase reminds me of this part in Call It What You Want written by Swift -- "...Trust you like a brother.." It was highlighted by some that this lyric clearly shows that this someone TS was talking about is more of a best friend who she trusted to keep her secrets. This best friend is whom she is proud to be with.
6) "...Evelyn smiles, almost like a Cheshire Cat." This part of the dialogue between Hugo and the writer of her biography, Monique, reminds me of the lyrics in Swift's lyrics in Wonderland -- "Didn't you calm my fears with a Cheshire cat smile." This song was associated to Dianna Agron, who played one of my favorite Glee characters, Quinn Fabray.
7) There is this part which I am intrigued, where Evelyn had a conversation with her lover, Celia on how to divert the press' attention to something else instead of their relationship. Evelyn sacrificed her reputation. Instead she let the story been told in a way that she is the bad wife, impulsive and had terrible taste in men. She had chosen to protect Celia and their relationship from being the spotlight and she said that "It won't fit their story anymore." --- As a TS fan aka Swifty, I despise people who accused Taylor of her characters and put aside her contributions in music and quality lyrics and songs. And talking about her lyrics, before I even knew about the popular tumblr tags, I have been curious about the pronounce and who actually the lyrics is implying. Because it just doesn't fit. The use of 'you', 'I', 'he' in a song makes me think more.
8) The news article by Photomoment in Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo which highlights Celia St. James Engaged to Quarter-back John Braverman. -- Remember the story of Diana Agron who was rumored to have a relationship with a quarterback Tim T. ? Also in tumblr blogs there is a story of Diana and Taylor's rumored to be in a relationship during this period.
9) Rex North, one of Evelyn's husbands, whom she went out to an award show with. The use of the phrase "...Rex and I painted the town red" reminds me of the lyrics of Taylor in Miss Americana and The Heartbreak Prince, "We're so sad we paint the town blue." Blue relates to sadness or loss, while red is more on excitement.
10) Fake marriage between Celia and John, and Evelyn with Hugo. The choice of their residence were at Manhattan and Upper East side. --- How it relates to TS? TS decided to have another place in NYC and who encourages her to stay in NYC instead of London? Go check it out.
11) Joshua tree in LA ---- The cactus connection to Taylor with reference to the photo she posted when she was touring for her reputation concert.
12) One of the many letters written by Celia to her lover, Evelyn where she said, "Reading your letter felt like gasping for air after being trapped under water". ---- Exactly that is what I have been saying all this while. Isn't it the exact same thing as this lyrics in Clean, "The water filled my lungs, I screamed so loud but no one heard a thing"
13) The part where Evelyn was said that the truth had been there for them to grab if they'd paid attention talking about how the media only writes what they wanted. If they would have look into it deeper, the truth is there all. --- It has been a discussion in tumblr that TS has been writing about it since the beginning but no one cares to listen. She also had shown it in her music videos, lyrics, photos but no one take note of those.
14) Miss America >>> Miss Americana
15) The last news article from New York Tribune dated March 26, 2017. --- Why this date? Isn't this the period when Taylor Swift went into hiding and decided not to show herself to the world? Isn't this when she says "Taylor can't come to the phone right now, cause she is dead?" Wasn't that month and year when the masterpiece album reputation was born and she came back to life?
16) Oh my God, one last point I just realized this while watching marathons of Taylor Swift music videos again as I was checking some reference to confirm on my previous point of Look What you made me do. Then when I was rewatching Style, I read some comments about Harry Styles. Personally, I love Harry Styles but I am not interested about his and Taylor's relationship. But you see, most comments in this video is Harry Style is one of Taylor's best ex who respected her and all and even supported each other's music. Goodness. Harry Styles >> Harry Cameron??
Well, I can say that my curiosity is worth it. The story-telling is so moving that I had to stop myself from reading too fast at one seating. I had to plan carefully so that I have something to do during this circuit breaker aka lock down. I want to make sure my Athena Protocol will reach me nicely right after I finished Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. Was it successful?
Completed everything on the fifth day.
Before reading this book, I have always kept in mind that if ever something happens, I do not mind keeping my love or relationship with the person I am in love with a secret. I still feel it is worth it. Because sometimes, it is in reality not possible in certain situations to share it with anyone. We should be able to choose who we want to share our life with or what we want to share to others. Although this might sound impractical or selfish probably to the other party, still it is something that I do not mind if it happens because if I am in Evelyn's position, I would do the same. The implications is worst. We can see that initially, Celia disagreed with Evelyn, eventually, she hid her true self by marrying John Braverman.
I used to believe that love or falling in love is not important. For me, achieving my career and dreams are my main goals. However, throughout these years I realized that being in love, having affections towards someone and allowing myself to fall in love makes the path to achieving my goals more tolerable, memorable, filled with smiles and heartwarming memories. I used to want to puke whenever I watched love stories on TV because I do not believed in their pain when they could not be together. Why is it so hard? You cannot be together, find someone else. Or if he or she doesn't like you, find someone else. Move on!
When you read this book, you might not agree with the way Evelyn handled her relationship with Celia and creating lies to cover their real relationship. For her situation, I would believe she needs to even though she does has feelings for some of her husbands. I am not famous but if I am in Evelyn's position, I don't think I need to have the seven husbands. Why do you need to cover up to that extent? Evelyn is lucky that the woman she falls in love with feels the same way. How their love relationship lasted even after breaks for years and ended up together. How they have to hide their relationship in which I understood why and will definitely do the same if I need to. But I do not think I will go the extent of marrying people I am not in love with or interested in.
BOOK CLUB READERS' GUIDE
(I am participating for fun!)
1) Before the story of the husbands are shared in this book in sequence, the "chapter" is expressed in a way like 'Poor Ernie Diaz', 'Goddamn Don Adler' and so on.
From my perspectives, the titles are expressed by the writer of the biography, Monique, based on her understanding and expression from Evelyn's stories. The way Evelyn expressed herself about her husbands to Monique during the interviews are how these are based on. For example, Don Adler, the abuser is someone neither myself nor Evelyn could expect that he is an abuser. The story started with Adler's good characters. Only that at the back of my mind, I could feel something that this guy will do which will be the opposite of who he has shown himself to Evelyn. And true that.
Goddamn Adler is like an expression I knew it! but yet I try to ignore that thing hidden at the back of mind but then see it happens! I was right after all. I wish I would have listen to that voice in me.
2) Out of these seven husbands of Evelyn, my absolute favorite is Harry Cameron. That guy reminds me of my male colleagues who supported me throughout these years when I told them about my inclinations and stories about my adventures. I could see the Harry Cameron in my real life.
On the other hand, the one who surprised me most is Robert Jamison and Ernie Diaz. I cannot believe it that Ernie with that track record of being an opportunist could let go of Evelyn nicely without any violence involved. It was like a give and take situations. While Robert's respect for his sister's choice and did not betray Evelyn and his sister, Celia, even after Celia was gone, and I respected him for that.
3) The way Monique changes it is in the way she responded to her situation with more stand towards what she actually wants. Something that will trigger Monique. We can say that Monique still disagreed with the way Evelyn handled her own life and could have done better. But Evelyn's determination and beliefs that what she did with Celia initially was for the benefit of their relationship and apparently it seems to work out well, plays a role in Monique understanding on how to manage her own life. She has to focus on what was in play at the moment. The formula that works. Apparently, Celia did used the same formula of Evelyn's when she was handling her own relationship. In fact she gave that idea to Evelyn when they are in need to get back together at the end.
As for Evelyn, meeting Monique is entirely something which might have calm her soul and ego. To have a sense of belonging, affection and sympathy where not everything is about work and career.
4) "Evelyn Hugo" Evelyn Hugo is an expression of a behaviour 'you do or you die'. One of the significant Evelyn Hugo I had tried in my life is always with someone superior than me is in terms of in my work life. That is to my boss and also sometimes to my mum. ha ha
5) This story is about the perspectives of Evelyn Hugo and definitely it is one-sided from her own experiences with the people she had been with. There are no arguments on this.
6) I could see how media writes what is being fed to them by the artist whether intentionally or not. It is actually an entertaining yet powerful thing to do when one can get ahold of how this system works. Evelyn seems to understand the way media works perfectly throughout her career that she gives them what they want. She knows their limitations and how they look into convenience. They will not investigate whether it is true behind doors. This is one of the interesting aspects that personally I actually enjoyed seeing how it works. Everytime something changes in her life, she feeds them and they consume it like a hungry eagle. This is somewhat similar to the things I read on how Taylor Swift managed with her smartness to handle the media and the things she shares to the world. Will definitely take note of this whenever I become famous one day, in a good way.
7) The word "you" which was described in some paragraphs in this book where Evelyn did not say "she" or "me". The use of this is common in social media posts nowadays. In fact, I did it quite often. For me it is because I do not want to sound like I am bragging, showing off or I do not want people to think that I am showing off. Sometimes I really want other people to relate to some posts and I am only a messenger.
Probably, in Evelyn's case, it could mean she still cannot get over how she could not see all that coming when she chose Adler and she do not want to sound like as if she is the one making that mistake. This could happened to any women out there. Same as the one with Riva. It is like she is trying to detach herself from that storyline because it still sting and would like to share the blame with anyone, and it could happen to anyone.
8) I cannot remember anything about sexuality or how sex influenced Evelyn's life. Did not notice this and so I would like to skip this question at the moment. When I read it the second time, will take note of this.
9) It is complicated to conclude whether Evelyn mean anything when she said this. On the other hand, whenever I used the sentence anything that happens have a reason behind it, means I just want to make that uncomfortable situation to be positive. I don't feel good it had happened but since what has been done cannot be undone, I will try to justify to myself that it is alright. It has already happened and I cannot do anything. There could be something good coming out of this.
10) There is no specific lines that I feel like it has any impact on me but I like the parts where she is consistent in her way of perceiving things and how she handled those problems. And eventually those decision helps her.
11) Ha ha ha... well cosmetic surgeries seem to be common nowadays. I have no comments even though most of those who has cosmetic surgeries are already originally pretty and good looking. Cosmetic surgeries are not really my thing. As for hair dye, it is also common nowadays. I do not believe on dyeing my last time but recently I had done it just to cover my white hair. Well, whatever Evelyn. It is your choice.
12) Alright. Language. I could relate to this. In my country, English is our first language while our mother tongue languages are our second. We have Malay, Chinese and Tamil. Over the years, personally I observed how generation by generation, our second language literally is a second language not like it used to be. Our government has to implement campaigns to remind people of their roots. When I was in school, Speak Mandarin campaigns were all around the country. Two decades later, Speak Malay and Speak Tamil tag along.
I am writing here based on my personal opinion. I could see why Evelyn might not have speak mainly in her Spanish language. If someone could speak fluent English, it is a statement and considered educated and modern. I still feel that is still the same. Whenever I am with my friends of the same race, we speak English. Yeah once in awhile we will add in our mother tongue language in the sentence. Same goes to my friends from other races. I disliked it when I watched in TV when they mixed the language, but yet in real life, I did the same.
13) Taylor Swift. As everyone knows my fascination towards her talents, her writings, her ideas, her lyrics, how she creates those melody where all songs are different with not even a song with the same beats, no same tunes, no same harmony, none with same lyrics. I feel like I would like to know those things since I listened to her songs millions of times on repeat and will be one of those who will be in the 2nd VIP sections at her concerts. Yeah she shared with us behind the scenes videos and memos, but not enough.
ENHANCE YOUR BOOK CLUB
1) I am not the type who will wear costumes etc for entertainment. I am boring, I know. But I decided to create myself in SIMS. Check this out. Evelyn Hugo emerald green outfits.
2) I will check out the writing by Debora Ziegler as Taylor Jenkins Reid has suggested Wild and Precious Life.
3) Oh yes, I will definitely read the other books of Taylor Jenkins Reid after this. Will check it out soon.