Best Marilyn Monroe Books To Read After Seeing ‘Blonde’

In Life and Death Marilyn Monroe marketed sex, eroticism, and stardom. Even today, they are a visual shorthand for our idea of ​​divorced celebs. Andy Warhol’s iconic silk screens of Monroe are perhaps best depicted in this: visual reminders of her marketable face, femininity, and eternal fame. Now a new Netflix movie, Blonde, adapts Joyce Carol Oates’ 2000 account of Monroe’s life to give us a pure portrayal of the perils of her fame. The film joins countless creative efforts to understand and dissect born movie star Norma Jeane Mortensen, including biographies, television series, biographies, picture books, essays, and even plays. Some set agendas—such as biographers claiming she was murdered by the FBI or had an affair with Robert F. Kennedy—while others leaned into the emotional depths of her short and tragic life to paint a portrait of someone whose fame had been completely overshadowed. humane. For those looking to dig deeper, here are the best books that break down, analyze, and analyze the superstar known as Marilyn Monroe.

The only sound Blonde She’s Norma Jeane,” says Oates of her acclaimed 2000 novel, Blonde. The book is a fictional exploration of the life of Marilyn Monroe that peels off the veneer of Hollywood filmmaking and leaves unpolished Norma Jeane searching for safety and certainty. At nearly 1,000 pages, it’s an epic work that uses storyboards about Monroe’s life to create a rich and relevant human story. But be warned that it’s also a real sober read. In it, there is Monroe’s traumatic childhood, numerous abortions, suicide attempts, alcohol and drug addiction, lovers and abusers, and unstable mental health. There is also endless sweat Blonde: race in trying to be Marilyn Monroe, in search of personal and professional independence, in mere need to survive deep trauma and nibbling. The book aims for confrontation as Oates tasks us with reconciling this brutal woman with the glamorous, pure femininity of Marilyn Monroe. For those who enjoy adapting to the new movie, it’s worth sticking with Oates’ ongoing account of Monroe as it beautifully heightens her tragedy, loneliness, and endless search for stability.

Norman Mailer’s 1973 coffee table book about Monroe isn’t a must-read. But it is an important cultural artifact in understanding how the star’s story was previously presented to audiences. In the book, Mailer makes outrageous and baseless claims and mostly plagiarizes biographical sources from other biographies. It fills Monroe’s life to build an escalation in allegations, such as that the FBI killed Monroe to suppress her relationship with Robert F. Kennedy. These and other assertions proved bankable for Mailer in the 1970s, which saw the book sell in the millions. There is another bad reputation around us Marilyn: a biography, also, with some critics claiming that it was an attempt by Miller to get back at Arthur Miller, as Miller had ambitions of broader fame that Miller had entirely in his marriage to Monroe. Rereading today, the book uses cheap reductive psychoanalysis to analyze the star and is peppered with embarrassing sections that wax lyrically on its sexy appeal. It’s a relic of her time, but a key read for those who want to count how many Americans viewed Monroe from the 1970s onwards — as a sex bomb, a slut, and a victim of an FBI cover-up. Miller’s biography remains noteworthy only in understanding the urgent work other biographers have to do to dispel his sensationalist claims.

Donald Spato’s deeply researched and detailed biography of Monroe is hard to find today but well worth seeking out. It is often considered the best of Monroe bios and remains an essential patch. At nearly 800 pages, this is a fun account of the legendary Monroe’s life, from her difficult childhood – an unknown absent father and a mentally ill mother – to her early days wandering in Hollywood, all until she was finally inundated with huge celebrities. . The book is a fair and redacted look that sparks many rumours, including completely debunking stories of the sexual affair with the Kennedy brothers (thanks Mylar). Spato says Monroe slept with JFK only once: “The Kennedys had nothing to do with it.” All of this is backed up by extensive research, including 35,000 personal and professional documents (some of which were first disclosed), and rare interviews including with those who attended the autopsy (who maintain that Monroe was not killed by the FBI or CIA) . Instead, Spoto attempts to allow firsthand facts to speak alongside highly traceable sources, arguing that Monroe’s tragic endings have more to do with her search for stability in life than with wild intrigue.

While some of Marilyn’s books have political agendas, the biography of J. Randy Taraporelli is more invested in family ties and focuses on Monroe’s mother, Gladys Baker. We learn how generations of the Monroe family have been plagued by serious mental health issues, including her mother, Gladys, who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and spent most of her life in institutions. Monroe was terrified of falling into the same genetic line of insanity that wiped out her mother and grandmother (who, incidentally, committed suicide). Taraporelli’s approach is to emphasize Monroe’s “secret life” and argue that her psychological problems were due to this inescapable genetic fate. Many mental illnesses were misunderstood in the 1950s, and in Monroe’s case, she was treated badly by the exploitative studio system and a sycophant crew close to her. Monroe’s concerns about her mental stability led to her increasing reliance on prescription pills and alcohol to calm her later severe anxiety. (It’s a dismal read when you learn that she died with 15 bottles of prescription pills on her nightstand.) Know that this biography is more interesting than the others, so don’t look for a lot of thoughtful commentary and expect more explanation (like interviews with Secret Service) agents and transcripts. From Gladys Baker Medical Records).

Believe it or not, Monroe actually composed parts of her autobiography while she was still alive. my story (first published in 1974) is an anomaly, as it was largely forgotten and only published in response to renewed interest in it in the mid-1970s (thanks again, Miller). The book collects numerous interviews with screenwriter Ben Hecht, and chronicles her life up to 1954. Some astonishing insights are shared here, including that Monroe was sexually abused at the age of eight by a man who settled with her adoptive parents. (There’s also a wild story of her being scolded by Joan Crawford for her clothes.) Monroe says insight into my story, “Yes, there was something special about me…I was the kind of girl who found dead in the bedroom with an empty bottle of sleeping pills in hand.” Know that this is not a complete picture – more like a little window in Monroe’s mind. Bringing together personal thoughts, anecdotes, and memories, the book asks fans to fill in the blanks in Monroe’s short life by listening to her voice and reflections rather than subscribing to the outrageous myths projected upon her.

While Monroe’s biographies are often pumped out every few years, Charles Casillo’s mediation regarding Monroe is one of her most redeeming treatments in recent memory. Unlike others who have sought complete and honest accuracy, or speculated on wild conspiracy theories, Casillo tends to human backgrounds for a more sensitive picture that boils down to the emotional profiles of her life. In particular, how Monroe has been plagued by deadly insecurity — over her mental stability, shattered family ties, and self-preservation — and undoing dependencies to seemingly stay alive and running, using everything from booze to barbiturates. The book’s central claim is that Monroe’s torn and unfulfilled relationship with her unknown father was what caused her life of problematic and traumatic relationships with men. This included her husbands, the demanding and belittled Joe Dimaggio of Arthur Miller. Monroe’s search for her father is emblematic of her greater search for certainty elsewhere in her life that unfortunately never materialized, and seeing her eventually take her own life – whether intentionally or unintentionally. This is a new biography that summarizes many parts of her life story in an easily digestible and compelling psychological study.

Barbara Leaming makes a major effort to reduce the usual scandalous parts of Monroe’s life (such as Kennedys and her suicide) to invest aggressively in the study of her identity as a woman struggling against the studio system, society, and herself. At the center of this conflict is her marriage to Arthur Miller. Leaming argues that this union still represents Monroe’s desire for dignity and artistic respect, far from the emptiness of Hollywood exploits and the facade of dumb blonde Marilyn. However, somewhat pessimistically, Liming says that Monroe eventually succumbed to the same circle she sought to avoid, even in spite of the marriage. Spending her final years taking nude photos and hitting booze and partying, she reverted to the humiliating routine from which she so desperately sought to escape to become a big movie star in the first place. Of all the biographies out there, this one is sure to appeal to readers interested in calculating the relationship between Monroe’s fame and femininity, as Leaming provides important corrections to many of the prevailing tall tales. Marlin Monroe He brings sly femininity, intellect, and depth to Monroe that still appears today in popular conceptions of her as a symbolic shorthand for sex and fame.

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