Goddamn Don Adler 

Chapter 8 

Little Women is delayed while the studio casts Evelyn in other movies, including her first big film, Father and Daughter. Evelyn goes on a few dates with actors to get some photos in the press. They are all for show until she meets Don Adler. Don seems genuinely interested in Evelyn’s beauty and talent, and though Evelyn doesn’t really understand what sets Don apart from any of the other men, she likes him. They begin to date for real.  

Chapter 9 

Father and Daughter is a hit, and though Evelyn wants to film Little Women, Ari encourages her to do another movie similar to Father and Daughter to capitalize on her commercial success. Harry agrees that Evelyn needs to wait before doing Little Women, suggesting that she continue to do romances, including a film with Don, before doing a more serious film. At this point, Evelyn is very in love with Don. When he proposes to her on the red carpet, she says yes.  

Don and Ev, Forev! 

This 1957 article in Sub Rosa announces Don and Evelyn’s engagement. It speculates that his famous parents must be happy to have Evelyn joining the family. The article says that the wedding will be the talk of the town. 

Chapter 10 

Evelyn says her wedding to Don was beautiful and describes the gown she wore in detail. Don’s parents planned the wedding, and Evelyn senses that he’s eager to get out of their shadow and establish a name for himself. Despite how controlled Don and Evelyn are by his parents and publicity, Evelyn still feels deeply in love and excited to be Don’s bride. At the wedding, Evelyn asks Harry why he never came on to her, and Harry indirectly reveals that he is gay. Evelyn tells him how much his friendship means to her. Evelyn and Don are deeply in love and excited to be a power couple, but Evelyn says that two months after the wedding, Don starts hitting her. 

Chapter 11 

Though the first weeks of Don and Evelyn’s marriage are wonderful, Don soon grows unhappy with the direction his career is taking. As Evelyn wins awards, the press criticizes Don. He begins to take his frustration out on Evelyn. Don tells her that she should take his name, quit acting, and start having babies. When Evelyn vehemently refuses, Don slaps her across the face. Evelyn is stunned and hurt both emotionally and physically, and is reminded her of the times when her father hit her. Evelyn covers up the injury as she and Don are about to step onto a set to film a movie they are in together, One More Day. On the set, as they sit on a fake beach, Don apologizes to Evelyn, and she wonders if maybe everything is okay. They both end up with Oscar nominations for the movie, but Evelyn says that it’s the only one of her films she can’t watch. 

Chapter 12 

Though Evelyn assumed Don would never hit her again after he apologizes, he begins to hit her repeatedly. This most often happens during moments of career frustration or when Evelyn pushes back against his cruelty. Getting abused by Don and then covering it up becomes a pattern for Evelyn. Harry notices that Evelyn has bruises on her face and tries to help her, but Evelyn admits that she still loves Don and doesn’t see any way out of the marriage.  

Meanwhile, Little Women gets the green light with Evelyn as Jo, her friend Ruby Reilly as Meg, Joy Nathan as Amy, and an up-and-coming teen actress named Celia St. James as Beth. Evelyn and Ruby are both intimidated by Celia and think she will cause problems for them by stealing the spotlight. 


These chapters explore acting as a motif and how both Evelyn and Harry "act" even when off-screen in order to hide aspects of themselves from the public. Harry is forced to play the role of a typical heterosexual man because coming out would be too dangerous, and the movie studio encourages Evelyn to date actors for publicity and box office success despite the fact that she doesn’t like most of the men. When Don starts hitting Evelyn, she plays the role of the happy wife on the set and in public all the while covering up her bruises with the same makeup she wears for film roles. She fears the public perception and the impact on her career if the abuse were to ever be discovered. When Evelyn tells Gwendolyn, the makeup artist, that she fell, they both know that she’s lying, but Gwendolyn plays along. This suggests that in many ways everyone is playing a part. Like most people in the public eye, Evelyn and Harry must blur the line between performance and reality.

Throughout the novel, the relationship between marriage and love is dubious. Evelyn marries for her career almost as often as she marries for love. Her marriage to Don is one of the exceptions, and their wedding is filled with the hope and promise associated with a wedding built on love. This illustrates that, though Evelyn often marries and divorces strategically throughout her life, she also finds something sacred in a partnership created out of true devotion. Despite having been married before, Evelyn’s relationship with Don is her first experience of love and desire. This first marriage for love quickly devolves, however, and Don begins to hurt her as her father did. This suggests that Evelyn hasn’t yet outgrown the definition of love that she learned from her violent childhood. Though the titular seven husbands are often more like business partners than spouses in the conventional sense, the repeated marriages that frame the novel are part of Evelyn’s struggle to find and understand love. 

These chapters begin to explore immoral, cruel, and conceited men as a motif, and illustrate how Evelyn does her best to use her relationships with these men to her advantage. For example, Evelyn dislikes Brick immensely and finds him to be self-obsessed and arrogant, but she goes on dates with him to make herself more appealing to audiences and more sellable to the studio. Though she struggles to date men like Brick for show, she perseveres and thus believes it’s the best thing to do for her career. When she first meets Don, she sees nothing that distinguishes him from the men she dislikes, perhaps foreshadows that he, too, is an unkind man. It’s only after she falls in love with and marries him that he reveals his cruelty, taking out his jealousy and career frustrations on Evelyn and punishing her for her success. Evelyn covers up the abuse and stays with him both because she loves him and because it’s good for her career.