The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe — Book Review
From New York Times bestselling author J. Randy Taraborrelli comes the definitive biography of the most enduring icon in popular American culture.
When Marilyn Monroe became famous in the 1950s, the world was told that her mother was either dead or simply not a part of her life. However, that was not true. In fact, her mentally ill mother was very much present in Marilyn’s world and the complex family dynamic that unfolded behind the scenes is a story that has never before been told…until now. In this groundbreaking book, Taraborrelli draws complex and sympathetic portraits of the women so influential in the actress’ life, including her mother, her foster mother, and her legal guardian. He also reveals, for the first time, the shocking scope of Marilyn’s own mental illness, the identity of Marilyn’s father and the half-brother she never knew, and new information about her relationship with the Kennedy’s-Bobby, Jack, and Pat Kennedy Lawford. Explosive, revelatory, and surprisingly moving, this is the final word on the life of one of the most fascinating and elusive icons of the 20th Century.
I consider myself a Marilyn (or rather, a Norma Jeane) Devotee so when I saw this book last week, I just couldn’t help but buy it. And I guess I made the right decision because it turned out to be something really good.
Much has been said about Marilyn Monroe. So much has been said about who she was in life, and how she died. This book does not glorify her, or exaggerate about the craziness of her life. This book does not portray her as bad, nor good, but rather allows people to take a look at who she really was: As Norma Jeane, and as Marilyn. It provides a detailed account about her life–from who her grandparents were, to the circumstances that were around when she was born, to her foster homes, husbands, alleged affairs, and her battle with her personal demons.
This book was never exploitative. In a way, you would want to learn more about her because of all the information here, but in case you are not a fan, or you’ve always thought badly of her, you would begin to see her in a different light. And I guess, Marilyn deserves that. After all, she was a person, too, and she had to deal with her feelings and with all the confusion while in the public eye.
Was she perfect? Was there an excuse for the wrong things she did? No, but what you have to know is that she is just like us–human, imperfect, and fragile. That she tried to live life the best way you can. That we’ll never know much about her, even though how much we try. That we can read more, and watch more of the things that are dedicated to her, but in the end, she will remain a mystery. And that’s the beauty of this book, and of Norma Jeane herself.