Monday, 21 May 2012

My Story by Marilyn Monroe

I loved this memoir. I say memoir not autobiography because it is not an autobiography. An autobiography begins at birth and covers one's entire life. A memoir covers only a part of one's life.

It is my understanding that this book wasn't published for more than a decade after being written. Also that it was ghostwritten by Ben Hecht. While there is no way of knowing how much of this book is true, I certainly hope it is. The woman in this story is a strong, intelligent, persevering woman who had a hard childhood and managed to overcome so much.

While she ended up being the most famous actress of all time, it wasn't handed to her. She had to work very hard for her fame. Unfortunately her fame is as a sexy, blond bimbo bombshell but the woman in this book seems very different. In fact, you get the idea that Norma Jean was actually frustrated that she was treated like a sex object and not a whole person. She clearly longed to be taken seriously as an actress. And despite being one of the most glamourous actresses in Hollywood, she was quite poor and owned only a few dresses. Sometimes she wanted a job just so she would have money to buy food!

The memoir ends just as she reaches the fame she longs for. There are hints at her emotional and mental issues. She admits to being molested and feeling abandoned by her mother. All the hints of borderline personality (and dare I say narcissism) are there, but just how they impacted the actress is hard to say. At least from her point of view. All other books about her are not her own words. Nothing is as good as her own point of view.

While this book does satisfy answers about who Norma Jean was before she was Marilyn Monroe, in the end it leaves you with more questions than answers. However, the fact that it leaves you wanting more means it's pretty darn good.

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