Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe

What do you think of when you hear the name Marilyn Monroe? I personally think of blonde wigs and hot red lipstick. And maybe a gold dress or a subway grill blowing air up a white skirt. In truth, Marilyn Monroe is as much of a mystery as she was a celebrity - which is saying something. In The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe, we are carefully guided through Marilyn's early life, her rise to stardom and of course, her eventual tragic end. 

My thoughts on this biography are mixed, which is kind of rare for me. The author does an amazing job of piecing all of the scraps of legend and truth to create a story of sorts. Marilyn's mother was flat out insane, and as a result, she was raised in different orphanages and foster homes. In fact, most of Marilyn's family had a history of mental illness, so she lived most of her life in paralyzing fear that one day the "voices" would come to haunt her, as well. Some of the stories struck me as downright fabricated - and the author says as much. So much of the Marilyn Monroe life is submerged in her legend that it's nearly impossible to tell what is fact and what is fiction.

Several things are very clear, however: One, Marilyn Monroe had a wonderful life but she had an inability to enjoy the present enough to let go of the past. Two, she longed to be a serious dramatic actress, but due to her image as a seductive siren, was never taken seriously. Three, she was intensely unhappy and had pretty much convinced herself that she had become insane like her mother - even though she had not. Lastly, she had an image. Much like Michael Jackson or Elizabeth Taylor, her onscreen and public persona was vastly different than what she was like in real life. I really liked getting to know Marilyn Monroe in this book - but what a sad, sad story. When you read books like this, you become convinced beyond the shadow of a doubt that fame and money are absolutely worthless in comparison to personal contentment.

A rarely seen side of Marilyn: Relatively makeup free.


1 comment:

  1. The amazing MM is one of my FAVES of the big screen and I'm truly inspired to read this!


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