Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo — Final Review
It’s 10:36 pm, January 3rd, I’ve just finished Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and I think ‘I do not want to be like Evelyn Hugo’.
Now, Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is about Evelyn Hugo (of course) and how she built her career to become the star she is.
The book starts with her making deal with a writer, Monique, to write her biography because she is ready to die and wants people to know the true story about her life, from the perspective of the one who owns the narrative, to disrupt what people think they know about her.
She wants to tell the world the truth, her truth.
First off, the author. Taylor Jenkins Reid did an excellent job of not romanticizing the main character, Evelyn, because you know, she’s really not a good person (which she herself knows!). That has to be applauded because whether unintentionally or not, a lot of authors make you like or pity the bad guy. I never did, not in the slightest.
Interesting from start is how I’ll describe this book.
To say I hate Evelyn is a stretch, she was complex, as we all are. However, I can say I learnt a few things:
Your choices determine the kind of life you’ll live.
The many choices we make in everything are like Lego blocks and the options we take determine the kind of house we build. James Clear said that every action we make is a vote to the kind of person we want to be, and I saw it very clearly reading through her biography.
In Evelyn’s case, she was very aware that her decisions not only deviate from ‘ideal’ moral codes but that they turn her into what we (and she) would call an ugly person. She believed she did what she had to do.
But there is always a choice. If you want to be nice, choose the option to be nice. If you want to have lived your life stepping on people, your choices and actions will have created the path for you. If you want to live an ordinary life or a full one or an impactful one, choose the ones that align with your desire. You’ll only look back and see just how you’ve done.
In addition, sometimes, we think we’re doing the right thing or making the necessary decisions but it turns out we’re creating our cages. Golden as it may be, it’s still a cage.
Your choices, your life.
Nothing is worth your soul.
As Evelyn narrates her story, we see just how much she sacrificed everything to get what she wanted, which she did. And after everything, after getting to the top of the mountain and staking her flag (which of course brought her momentary joy), what she could say at the end of it all was ‘I wasted my time’.
Darlings, it’s good to be ambitious, to get what you desire, but if you have to compromise on yourself or what you believe to be true to get it, it’s not worth it. What is my life if I have to destroy everything to gain that one thing? It’s just that one thing, and it’s not worth it. If I win an Oscar today, I’ll be ecstatic because it’s the largest reward for all I’ve done and then it will become a piece of metal in a shelf.
When you find that thing that is worth all sacrifice, by all means, go for it but is what you’re losing worth it? The Bible says a man that tries to keep his life loses it, against all efforts. Decide critically if it is worth it.
No amount of money or fame should be worth your soul. That will be selling it, and it is far more precious than tangible stuff (that we agree to determine its value, seriously, that’s what money is).
You are more than your face.
‘It is a damning act to base your worth (or identity) on something that has such a short shelf life’.
That has to be one of the things Evelyn said that I love. You are beautiful and you are more than your beauty. Darling, your brain will always work for you but beauty will always have an expiry date.
Put it in context. You may not be basing your worth on your face but on your hair, grades, sexuality, whatever feeble foundation it is. I would not tell you to not have what your identity stems from but to base it on something feeble is catastrophic.
What you base your worth on determines how you see life and how you live life, and your face, sex, amount of money, or grades is not it- even work is risky. Seriously, a time will come when you’ll stop writing exams, have wrinkled skin, be too old to move or work what then?
(Also, accept the fact that there will always be someone more beautiful than you, it’s just what it is 🙂.)
Until next time,
P.S: Clearly, Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is an interesting book. It will certainly leave you feeling something. You really should check it out :)
How I felt and what I learnt halfway is here — Lessons from Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.