The true cost of money and fame

To what extent can a person go for the one person that they love, especially with your reputation on the line?

Many people want fame and riches, however fail to recognize the price they would have to pay.

Many people want fame and riches, however fail to recognize the price they would have to pay.

Makayla Bech, Staff Writer

Being born in a small town in the outskirts of New York City, Evelyn Hugo dreamed of leading a big life on the screen to fulfil her mother’s destiny that she was unable to achieve. A life consumed by money and fame is all that Evelyn has ever wanted, so when the opportunity to leave this forsaken town and head to the big city is offered to her from an older man, she accepts.

When a dream is so big and the opportunities for a young, Hispanic girl seem slim, Evelyn Hugo decides to go to the ultimate extremes to prove to herself that in front of the camera is where she belongs, and she will do anything it takes to be the next face of Hollywood. Her mother dreamed of becoming a star, but due to the society of the early 1900s, there weren’t many opportunities for people of a Hispanic background, especially for females. So, when Evelyn understands that she can transform herself and appearance to create a life in Hollywood, she does not fret at the possibilities. Depicted within the 2017 novel The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid, a young journalist, Monique Grant, is offered the role of writing an official tell-all biography for the greatest actress of the 1960s, no other than Evelyn Hugo. A great shock this is for Monique as she is just a small journalist working for a large magazine company; however, once the story begins to unravel itself, the connection between Monique and Evelyn becomes greatly complicated and the meaning of why Evelyn chose Monique to write her biography is both necessary whilst being cruel.

This novel follows the life of Evelyn Hugo, her acting career and the seven husbands and divorces that she encounters along the way. However, what becomes increasingly clear several chapters in to Reid’s writing is that fame and love has an intriguing relationship. Most of the romantic relations were setups due to the producing companies wanting to reign in press before the opening of a new melodramatic film. Although some of these relationships did spark some romance, it became clear just how motivated Evelyn was as she continues to offer her hand in marriage to men she barely knew. If it meant that she was going to grow in fame, get richer, and most importantly protect the person that she loves the most in the entire world, she was willing to marry just about anyone.

This novel explores the dramatic effects that love has on a human and how love is complicated when factoring in fame. With the entire nation waiting to read the next tabloid headline about their new favorite actress, life becomes secretive, scandalous, and so very complicated for Evelyn Hugo. Reid dives deep into the mental stamina that it takes to have fame and the need and desire that most people in the public eye crave, attention. Evelyn Hugo needed attention. She needed to stay relevant. She needed to surprise audiences, even if that meant using her body sexually with producers, or shooting French films in which her bare body was revealed to the cameras. It also meant that she had to be willing to sacrifice the people that she loves in order to protect her own reputation. With Evelyn’s fame being at large starting in the 1950s, society was not the most welcoming when it came to women being anything but good housewives there to care for their husband and children. Therefore, when Evelyn began to grow an audience, she knew that she could not be public about who she was seeing romantically off of the big screen.

The drastic changes in society are ever so clear when we are able to looks at the benefits that we have today when compared to the privileges that minority groups had in the 1900s and before. Evelyn Hugo knew that as a natural born Hispanic, she had to dye her dark hair blonde, and had to blame her darker toned skin on the summer sun. She had to hide that she could speak Spanish fluently. She also had to hide that her best friend was a gay man, and she herself was full heartedly in love with another superstar that just so happened to be a woman. This book develops themes that bring so much awareness to the progress that society has gone through throughout the years and the sacrifices they made in order for us to have more freedoms todays. Reid mentions the Stonewall riots in 1969 and how it hurt those who were queer and feared for their lives on a daily basis. This novel provides so much information and opens doors for readers that may feel that they cannot be who they are, when they really can.

I highly recommend this novel to readers who want a glimpse of glamor, fame, romance, and the secrets of a famous lifestyle. This book reveals true friendships and the complications that being famous provides despite the money and beautiful parties that celebrities attend. It is also inspirational in the way that it shows that anyone can come from nothing, and make themselves into anything that they want to be.