Saturday, August 11, 2012

Marilyn: The Passion and Paradox of Marilyn Monroe by Lois Banner

From Goodreads: Like her art, Marilyn Monroe was rooted in paradox: She was a powerful star and a childlike waif; a joyful, irreverent party girl with a deeply spiritual side; a superb friend and a narcissist; a dumb blonde and an intellectual. No previous biographer has recognized—much less attempted to analyze—most of these aspects of her personality. Lois Banner has.

Since Marilyn’s death in August of 1962, the appetite for information about her has been insatiable. Biographies of Marilyn abound, and whether these books are sensational or flawed, Marilyn’s fans have always come out in bestselling numbers. This time, with Lois 

Banner’sRevelations, the fans won’t be disappointed. This is no retread of recycled material. As one of the founders of the field of women’s history, Banner will reveal Marilyn Monroe in the way that only a top-notch historian and biographer could.

In researching Revelations, Banner’s credentials opened doors. She gained access to Marilyn intimates who hadn’t spoken to other biographers, and to private material unseen, ignored, or misinterpreted by her predecessors. With new details about Marilyn’s childhood foster homes, her sexual abuse, her multiple marriages, her affairs, and her untimely death at the age of thirty-six, Revelations is, at last, the nuanced biography Marilyn fans have been waiting for.

I've never read anything about Marilyn Monroe.  Sure, I've seen some old movies with her in it and I've heard about a conspiracy theory surrounding her death.  But beyond that, I was pretty clueless until I immersed myself in Banner's Marilyn.  It took me a while to really get a connection to this book.  It was really dry reading, with alot of time spent with Banner explaining why her research of Marilyn was correct and why everyone's before her was not.

But getting past that, she did offer some fresh perspectives about Marilyn's life.  Was she manipulated by men or was she in charge of her own destiny is for the reader to decide.  But I was intrigued in learning about Norma Jean's (her real name) childhood, her rise to stardom and her many men.  I particularly enjoyed the photographs in the book.  It really added to the story seeing her in so many different places and with so many different people.  Her life was simply captivating and tragic.

If you are a Marilyn fan or simply like to read biographies, I urge you to pick up Marilyn by Lois Banner.  Even though it's a bit unorthodox in places, meaning the author's whatfors and how comes, it really is a compelling piece of fiction.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the awesome review, I hadn't heard about this one yet. I'd love to read it too!


The old grey donkey, Eeyore stood by himself in a thistly corner of the Forest, his front feet well apart, his head on one side, and thought about things. Sometimes he thought sadly to himself, "Why?" and sometimes he thought, "Wherefore?" and sometimes he thought, "Inasmuch as which?" and sometimes he didn't quite know what he was thinking about.

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