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The closest we've come to the legend that was Marilyn Monroe?,
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This review is from: The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe (Hardcover)J. Randy Taraborrelli is one of the top celebrity reporters of recent times and his previous books have been on living legends such as Diana Ross, Elizabeth Taylor, Madonna and of course, the late and great Michael Jackson before his untimely death.
His books and style of writing are very much fashioned towards the current climate of book readers, they're highly entertaining with most chapters being just a few pages long. Taraborrelli will tend to focus on details not normally approached by previous authors of his subjects and where stories may be conflicting he can usually have a good argument where his version seems the reasonable one. He's not always great with details if it's something that's been covered before, but if he has something to write of interest he will usually get his point across. On saying this, if it's new information he will write as much as he knows about it and gives the reader information for the first time, often with added footnotes at the bottom of the page. It makes for an interesting read and you find it hard to put the book down. This book has taken over a decade to complete as he compiled his information from his numerous sources, all documented at the back, in most cases he names the source but in some occasions they've not wanted their identity known so he's given them a false name.
This biography on Marilyn Monroe is probably one of the most anticipated books on her in a very long time. In a way it could not have been published at a more appropriate time. When it's now normal for us to watch our stars fall apart publicly (Britney Spears comes to mind), Tarborrelli has given us a new biography focusing not just the more little known private aspects of Marilyn's life, but her mental well-being in paricular. It very much reflects the current times & trends as we see human relationships played out on reality TV - here we're a witness to our very own Marilyn Monroe falling apart at the seams. In Marilyn's day this type of thing was never discussed and was hushed up. Of course, all of us who have followed Marilyn's life may know about some of her difficulties, especially in the final years of her life and the lifelong difficult relationship she had with her mother Gladys, her addictions, which, in the end, made it more difficult for her to function and destroyed her life. Tarborrelli has chosen this as the basis of his book which hasn't been covered in so much depth before.
He does have a way of writing which shows respect and empathy for the subject, but he writes how "Marilyn may have felt this...." , or "Gladys did this probably because..." With added conversations and scene-setting you wonder where the fiction ends and the facts start. I did find these observations amusing though and could picture them in my head as I read. I don't know whether he is actually equipped to write about her mental well-being or if he fully understands what went on, it's a tricky subject. But then probably a medic would be none the wiser either, judging by the treatment Marilyn received at the time. It would appear that nothing has changed much in that time when we see how Doctors are with certain individuals today. It's a very heavy subject for any writer to approach and he is a very brave man to have attempted this, especially over a much beloved person such as MM! It's a subject to debate and one that will no doubt be explored further in the future as another facet of the Monroe character reveals a more complex person than the media would like us to imagine.
J. Randy's book is one of the more interesting Monroe biographies and definately a look behind the image of the Icon we see everywhere. I enjoyed reading about the mother/daughter relationship. Most people would have giving up but Marilyn was always there for her mother. Gladys comes across as a facinating lady, not one to hide her thoughts, and I had a chuckle to myself at the thought of her parading about the sanatorium wearing the fur stole that Marilyn had given her, "They only let me wear it if I say I'm cold." Her friendship with Pat Lawford is also explored in depth. Infact there's much more here about the Kennedy's than I had anticipated. There's also things I'd never heard before like when Marilyn is being photographed by a fan after The Lawford's party for Bobby Kennedy and a secret service person confiscated the camera, only to be berated by Marilyn who demands he give the camera back, which he does and the one about River Of No Return, when for a joke the crew send in a boy to her trailer and she is lying naked on the massage table - she tells him, "stay 20 minutes and the joke's on them."
Unlike some of the old biographies, where Marilyn's films are treated very much as they were when she was alive, he acknowledges how many of them like, for instance, Don't Bother To Knock, have been reassessed since being released on DVD and how they've stood the test of time. Her relationship with Natasha Lytess is also explored during this time with comments from other students and from Natasha's unpublished manuscript.
By all accounts the book has been the most challenging in Taraborelli's career so far and he certainly has put good use of his skills in telling Marilyn's story with a new approach and refreshing perspective. He comes a long way in describing what it must have took to be Marilyn Monroe and why she continues to facinate us almost 50 years after she died. If it is at all possble to love a person more, you will come away loving Marilyn a little more after reading this book!
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 16 Dec 2009 19:31:34 GMT
Brianan Mc Bride says:
This reveiw is far too long and I didn"t bother reading it as it rambled on
Posted on 16 Dec 2009 19:32:07 GMT
[Deleted by the author on 16 Dec 2009 19:32:42 GMT]
Posted on 2 Jan 2010 21:54:57 GMT
S. Ramsey-Hardy says:
Hello, I'm your neighbouring reviewer of the book in question. I enjoyed your own review very much, and liked its chatty style! Best Wishes, S.R-H.
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