Anyone who knows me well is aware that I am a HUGE classic movies fan. Turner Classic Movies is on my TV 24/7. I like to say that I am a 80 year old woman trapped in a 19 year old body.
That being said, when I found out Marilyn had a book, I knew I instantly had to read it. In my room, I have a giant Marilyn board by my bedside, and one of my all time favorites is Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Needless to say, we all know she is an icon, but once I began reading, I didn’t know how much of a tortured soul she really was.
Before reading, the only knowledge I truly had from her past was from watching NBC’s SMASH, which I am still currently watching. They touch on her past but it is more about before her death when it comes to the musical they put together, and who doesn’t love “Let Me Be Your Star” (personal favorite is I Never Met a Wolf Who Didn’t Love to Howl).
The book is a collection of Marilyn’s diary notes with Ben Hecht. It is surprising how intimate and in-depth it goes since we all knew Marilyn to be quiet, stepped on by Hollywood executives, and so on. It was depressing reading that such a smart individual was so taken advantage of her entire life, and only few people saw the real Norma Jean.
They say it was written at the height of her fame, and you can see it in the writing. The chapters are very short, some only been three pages long which gave me a rushed feeling which is maybe how I devoured the whole work in two hours.
During the book, I caught myself reading it in her voice. The only thing I find truly a bummer is that it was never finished so ghost writers had to step in. I feel like I am along with a ton of people that I miss Marilyn a lot.
Marilyn was always known for her sensuality and openness, but from reading her pages, you learn about how much she kept to herself, didn’t like to be touched a lot and only was so sexually open was because she didn’t know anything else. She was abused, sexually, mentally and physically her whole life, from the orphanage to her tragic death.
It is crazy to see how smart she actually was then what she was portrayed as on screen. The fact that she had to take the ‘dumb blonde’ roles to keep taking jobs is insane. Times have been changing but not as fast as desired.
I feel like I will always love Marilyn. I wish the book was longer. She is such a heartfelt writer and it is such a shame that she is gone. I love you Norma Jean.