|About 15 years ago I bought a book on Jean Harlow called Platinum Girl. It is a beautful book about the actress and |
the format was stunning... written with a great deal of respect and insight into the life of the fabled Hollywood
Goddess. How I wished at the time that there was such a book on Marilyn Monroe, because to me, she deserved a
book of this quality to tell her life story...
When I saw Michelle's book I was immediately struck by how it looked. It is a stunning book with over 70 photos,
fine 4-colour sepia printing throughout.. . my thoughts reminded me of the Harlow book and I felt as if my wish all
those years ago had come true!
Michelle tells the now familiar story of Marilyn's life with new "eye-witness" accounts from people who haven't
spoken publicly before. Her childhood is written about in great detail and you have to hand it to Michelle for her
efforts in contacting people who were friends of Marilyn at the time and knew her in the orphange etc
Michelle's story is very respectful to Marilyn's memory and this is obvious in her writing but she has tried to be as
honest as she can be, she trys to set the record straight where other authors have perhaps used sensational stories &
scandal when there hasn't been... she leaves it open for the reader to make up their own mind.
Sometimes this was a bit frustrating as I felt there could have been more detail to certain things that happened,
especially on film sets and at other times. Although much has been written about MM over the years, you always
hope that one day a book will appear with every little detail that you have read (and believed to have been accurate),
I suspect that Michelle didn't want to go over "old territory" and wanted to keep her book fresh, for example she
writes about the filming of 'Clash By Night' and although Marilyn was often forgetting her lines or late on set, she
writes that Barbara Stanwyck was quite cold to her colleagues and refused to sign autographs for fans and that Paul
Douglas had wanted Marilyn's name to be below the films titles... but she omits that Stanwyck challenged Douglas to
keep Marilyn's name above the title and was therefore very supportive her young co-star at least...
Michelle seems to skirt round certain subjects, for instance, there's bit about Marilyn's relationship with Pat
Newcomb where she hints that there may have been a more than "platonic" friendsip between the two, gossip which
came from within Marilyn's inner circle. That's as far as she goes and I really wish she'd been more bold and elidable.
It would make the book more thorough and more definitive as a biogrpahy on Marilyn Monroe...
At other times it's very emotonal, when she describes Marilyn leaving Arthur Miller's house for the last time after
collecting her things and when she receives a visit from her father in hospital, but the latter is very sparse on
information. I cried when reading about the funeral, and Joe's emotional state over her coffin, his love for Marilyn
really shines through in Michelle's words.
On the whole though, the biography is a good read and very entertaining. It was great to read again about DiMaggio,
Marilyn's trip to England and the highs and lows in her life and the reminisces of people who knew her and perhaps,
hadn't spoken on record before. The first part of the book is meticulously researched but the second half of the book
is a little patchy and I felt it didn't live up to my expectations. This is not Michelle's fault, apparently the publishers
insisted on editing alot of the original manuscript, which will hopefully be published in future editons.
It's stunning to look at, beautifully presented and designed, with many pictures that most people won't have had
access to before.