Before describing the book, you should know that it contains photographs of Ms. Monroe that would earn this book an R rating if it were a motion picture.
". . . [T]his book does not claim to have a monopoly on the truth of Marilyn's life." The book ". . . aims to be a work of reference and an extraordinary read." " . . . [I]t is only apt for the fans to seek out their own truths about Marilyn."
When stars are alive, fan magazines and television reporters capture endless amounts of information about the person's activities. This context for Ms. Monroe's life comes alive in easy-to-use detail in this remarkably complete volume. Think of an aspect of her life that you want to know. Look that point up alphabetically, and you will probably find it here. For example, I looked up Hugh Hefner, and found that he had published nude photographs of Ms. Monroe and was a fan of her work. To follow that thread, you can also find the photographer who made those images and who published the famous calendar. This reference includes a photograph of the photographer, with the calendar on the wall behind him. Very nicely done!
The references were even-handed in almost all cases, so those who have a point of view about that aspect of Ms. Monroe's life will see the other side. For example, there is a section on her suicide attempts that details when they occurred and the circumstances surrounding each of them.
I was impressed that the book contained details that I never thought I would know. Unless you are a real Marilyn expert, you will probably have the same reaction. For example, there is a section on the movies she considered acting in, but did not. You even get her connections to the Academy awards. She never won one, but she presented. You get a photograph of the outfit she wore that night.
As great as the detailed written references are, I enjoyed the visual references more. There are 170 color and 205 black and white photographs in the book. Many of them are very small, as befits a reference work rather than a photography book. They expose new sides of Ms. Monroe by showing her mood, body language, and clothing styles at various stages in her life. You can see the gradual shift from vibrant young woman, to carefully posed star. The book shows you movie posters, publicity stills, shooting on the set, informal scenes with co-stars, vacations, dates, and family photos. There is even a section containing photographs of the women who have acted as Ms. Monroe in television shows and movies.
If you are a Marilyn Monroe fan, I suspect that you will want to have this book and that you will treasure it for years to come.
After you finish looking up everything you can think of, I suggest you also just read each page. There are many details here that you would never think to look up.
If you just think Ms. Monroe was beautiful, you'll be pleased with the many full-page images of her.
After you finish this book, I suggest that you think about the irony of how someone who provided so much happiness for others was so unhappy herself. What can you do to help people who share her unhappiness?
Give love . . . always!