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Meredith L. Grau
- Publicado en Amazon.com
Formato: Tapa dura
I have recently found myself reawakened by the mystique of Marilyn Monroe, perhaps because of the recent "Vanity Fair" article about her and the release of "Fragments." As such, I have entered into a research frenzy, gobbling up as much information about her as possible, reading new books, reviewing old biographies, etc. I read Taraborrelli's bio on Elizabeth Taylor years ago and enjoyed it, so I believed that his study of Marilyn would be equally intriguing, especially since the "kudos" and "bravos" on the back cover talked about how ingenius and ground-breaking his research was. Um... not really.
Not only have I read many other bios that have more fully investigated and humanized the tragic and iconic figure that MM has become, but basically everything he offers up has been communicated before. The only new information I was surprised by was his revelations about Marilyn's own symptoms of BPS (borderline paranoid schizophrenia) and her relationships with her mother, Gladys, and half sister, Berniece. Other than that, the book is only exceptional in its total lack of information. In his appendices, Taraborrelli even states that he didn't include a record of his source materials simply because he thought it tedious and "no one really checks that anyway." Again, really? Nearly every piece of new "evidence" that he introduces, which is consequently refuted in nearly every other preceding Marily bio, isn't backed up by any proof. He simply says, "this is the real truth, and the other claims were false." Well, why? If you're right, prove it to me.
He also fails to approach the damning evidence that authors such as Donald H. Wolfe, for example, bring against the Kennedys and their association with MM. He refutes years of speculation and testimony that Marilyn was engaged in a torrid affair with the president (and maybe even his brother) by saying, "No, it wasn't true." And their participation in her death? "No, that's not true either." Well, why then?! Shoddy. Shoddy, at best. Not to mention that he contradicts himself every other page, saying that JFK slept with Marilyn once and then wanted nothing to do with her but then insisted that she appear at his birthday party at Madison Square Garden. INSISTED. And Bobby too. Yeah, really sounds like he wanted that whack-job out of his life.
And "whack-job" is just how Taraborrelli presents Marilyn. Oh, he has sympathy for her by God, but he portrays her as a drug-addled lunatic. This is exactly the stigma that has been slanderously attached to her even prior to her death and that so many researches have been diligently trying to cut through. It's almost like Taraborrelli is trying to enforce the incorrect image of Marilyn and protect those who so apparently contributed to her death, such as the Kennedy brothers, her shrink Dr. Greenson, and her other assorted "friends." I don't believe that Marilyn was a completely innocent figure, no one is, but she had a little help finding her way to self-destruction. If Taraborrelli had backed his claims up with solid evidence, I could accept it, but since all he does is say, "This is what happened, trust me," I'm sorry, but no. Come on.
Stay as far away from this book as possible, unless you like witnessing someone spit on an sad woman's grave.
50 de 58 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
Valerie J. Wood
- Publicado en Amazon.com
Formato: Tapa dura
This is a detailed, fairly complex biography of Marilyn Monroe. I may not necessarily agree 100% with the conclusions that author reached, particularly towards the end of Marilyn's life, but there is a lot of interesting, intriguing information in this new biography. As an avid, avid fan of Miss Monroe, I have read just about every biography there is (that I know of!--I have over 75 books about MM as of my last count), as well as of other significant players in her life. So the idea of a new, comprehensive biography is something that I always look forward to.
The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe is extremely well written and researched, and gives the reader a new appreciation of Marilyn--particularly as relates to her early life and the events that helped shape her personality. The analysis of Marilyn's early life as Norma Jean Baker is perhaps the best overall assessment I have read yet. The author has taken time to put into perspective her early relationships with her foster families and relatives involved in her upbringing. The sad story of Norma Jean's mother, Gladys, is related in poignant detail throughout the book. The overall premise that Norma Jean/Marilyn was descending into the same schizo-paranoid type personality towards the end of her short life is the basis for many of the author's conclusions about MM. After reading about Marilyn's early life (Norma Jean) up to the point where she divorced Jim Dougherty, you truly get a sense of the uncertainty and insecurity of a girl who was shuffled from home to home and who was searching for family caring and love. Stories related in other biographies, particularly of childhood molestation, are pretty well put to rest according to author Taraborelli. Norma Jean's transition into Marilyn Monroe is plausible and well-covered, including a sympathetic look at MM's relationship with agent Johnny Hyde.
Where I run into a sense of frustration with this book is at the point in Marilyn's life where she begins to date Joe DiMaggio. Indeed, the major events of their lives together, and subsequently her relationship with Arthur Miller, are chronicled, but at this point there seemed to be a bit of a loss of direction regarding the relationships of Marilyn and her second and third husbands. The chemistry between MM and Joltin' Joe is well defined; their later relationship especially after he rescued her from Payne Whitney, less so. The early romance with Arthur Miller is well-done; the disconnect between him and Marilyn after she found his journal notes is poignant. Less informative is information regarding the end of their marriage and divorce.
Marilyn is described in the early 1960's as either quite charming and lucid, or totally drugged and 'out of it.' The same witty, attractive and clever woman who could charm JFK or his brother Robert seems to bounce back and forth almost daily as being between being lovely and clear -- or deranged and delusional, depending on the drugs she is deemed to be taking. This poses a problem in this reader's mind, as it seems a bit unlikely that both personas could be present depending on the circumstances. It also is interesting to note that, in her mid 30's, Marilyn was more beautiful and sexy than ever, and the many thousands of photos from various photographers, such as Bert Stern, or outtakes from Something's Got to Give, show this. After all, the camera doesn't lie--even for Marilyn Monroe. Sure, she had approval of her photos and it's certainly true that not every shot was spectacular, but in a series of photos shot at the same time there are always great shots and so-so/bad ones. Her look, during this time, was trimmer and even lovelier than she was 10 years before.
The Cal-Neva lodge incident is detailed far more clearly and cleanly than in any other bio of MM that comes to mind. Indeed, the relationship of friendship between MM and Pat and Peter Lawford makes sense, at last. The apparent great friendship between MM and Pat Lawford is given great credence here.
Perhaps there is no way to have a 'definitive last word' about the events in MM's life. This book unequivocally states that Marilyn met John F. Kennedy in 1962. Other books, also seemingly well researched, put their relationship as beginning much earlier. Another current book, In the President's Secret Service, clearly states that MM and JFK had an ongoing affair and met many times in many places in New York City.
The eternal question about Marilyn's death (suicide or murder) is not clearly resolved, although the author indicates that he believes it was by a likely unintentional overdose of drugs. That said, the timelines which have been offered over the bios of the last 25 years do not really mesh with this conclusion, especially regarding the time of death and the chaos at MM's house in the hours after her death was known.
Little things, like whether Eunice Murray actually lived with MM (in this book it is stated she did--in some other well-researched books it is indicated that the only night she EVER spent at MM's Brentwood home was on August 4, 1962), lack of mention of some major players in Marilyn's life (Arthur Jacobs comes to mind) and a brusque sentence in which all the angst of Marilyn's firing by Fox over Something's Got to Give is resolved in a statement to the effect that suddenly MM had a brand new $1 million contract with Fox and the movie was going to be finished after all--with absolutely no detail as to how this came about -- left me feeling a bit uncertain and wondering about the information available on issues like these.
Overall, this is by far one of the better biographies of Marilyn Monroe to come out in awhile. Definitely worth a read for the MM fan, and for the movie fan who wants to try and understand a bit more about the mystique of the one and only Miss Marilyn Monroe.