Category Archives: Marion’s Favorites

Marion’s Favorite Things from books, music, art, travel, and anything else that he really enjoys.

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 108: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Have you ever read a novel where you hated the main character but found the story compelling?

Have you ever read a novel where you loathed the main character’s lifestyle choices but can still find compassion in those choices?

Have you ever read a novel you did not like where the boundaries of love were pushed too but can still see the need for love in all circumstances?

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid answers in the affirmative to those aforementioned questions. This runaway bestseller (soon to be a Netflix movie) tells the story of the legendary actress Evelyn Hugo.  Evelyn agrees to reveal her life to journalist Monique Grant as an exclusive tell-all.  However, Hugo has her reasons for choosing Grant to tell her life story.

Evelyn chronicles her rise to Hollywood fame and infamy, her seven marriages, her love affairs, and the choices she made to become the mega star she desperately wanted to be.  On the surface, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo are salacious, gossipy, and all the things that pop culture has become as we are knee deep into the social media age.  However, Jenkins Reid provides a surprising depth with Hugo that loathed and intrigued at the same time.

These two quotes give Evelyn’s perspective on love that is profound:

People think that intimacy is about sex. But intimacy is about truth. When you realize you can tell someone your truth, when you can show yourself to them, when you stand in front of them bare and their response is “you’re safe with me”–that’s intimacy.

When you dig just the tiniest bit beneath the surface, everyone’s love life is original and interesting and nuanced and defies any easy definition.

Words of wisdom from an unexpected place.  These quotes are bookends and to me drive the heart of the novel. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo will be classified as a beach read or an airport read by some readers.  However, the power of good fiction and storytelling is making a reader care about a character that you would loathe if they were a real person.  Taylor Jenkins Reid did that in spades in this novel and deserves major kudos.  Well done…..

It will be interesting to see whom Netflix casts when they film it.  I believe The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo will captivate the small screen as it has in the commercial fiction world.

Marion’s Favorites: Reading Envy Podcast (Rest In Love Jenny Colvin)

When it comes, it comes. I found out earlier today about the passing of librarian and podcaster Jenny Colvin. She passed away last week at 43. Jenny was the host of the popular Reading Envy Podcast. She was a librarian at Furman University in South Carolina. Jenny had a large online presence in the reading… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 107: Celia: Mi Vida by Celia Cruz & Ana Cristina Reymundo

As a music lover, there are some songs you hear and immediately make you want to dance. Even if you cannot dance, the song commands you to move your body to the beat.  The Queen of Salsa (La Reina de la Salsa), Celia Cruz, has many songs that fit the prior description.  Every time, I… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Story Review 11: Come Home to Atropos by Steven Barnes

Steven Barnes writes a sarcastic, charming story that comes as an infomercial, designed to attract rich white folks who want to end their lives in paradise on a Caribbean island. However, the story reveals the illusion underneath. Travel to exotic lands always appears as the ultimate escape, but Come Home To Atropos pierces that fantasy… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 106: Leviathan by Paul Auster

What is friendship?  Especially what is male friendship? Paul Auster gives us an answer in his novel, Leviathan. Leviathan is an Old Testament reference meaning a dragon-like monster, serpent or even a crocodile that represents evil. While, Auster’s novel is not biblical or religious on the surface, there is definitely a strong philosophical underpinning that… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 105: The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

Have you ever read a book that you knew instantly you should have read years ago? I knew it after reading the first chapter of The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. I was working at a mom-and-pop bookstore in Santa Fe, NM in 1996 when this novel was published. I remembered the sales rep from… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 104: Angel On My Shoulder by Natalie Cole

“As you walk your own journey, keep your eyes open, listen well, and if you look real hard, you just might find an angel on your shoulder.” Those words are from the last paragraph of the late Natalie Cole’s autobiography, Angel On My Shoulder published November 2000, fifteen years before her death in December 2015. … Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 103: Queen of Angels by Greg Bear

Queen of Angels by Greg Bear has been a book I’ve wanted to read for years. I’ve seen it at used bookstores and bought it several times intending to read the book but never get around to it until recently. Queen of Angels is an ambitious, thought-provoking science-fiction novel that deals with race, crime, religion,… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 102: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

When I heard that Ray Bradbury had passed in 2012, I realized that I had never read any of his books. Wow, that surprised me. Well, in honor of his passing, I decided to read his most popular and enduring work, Fahrenheit 451. “Do you know why books such as this are so important? Because… Continue Reading