Sunday, December 6, 2009

Review: The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe by J. Randy Taraborrelli (Audiobook)

When Marilyn Monroe became famous in the 1950s, the world was told that her mother, Gladys Baker, was either dead or simply not a part of her life — depending on the publicity campaign of the moment. However, that was not true. In fact, her mentally ill mother was very much present in Marilyn's world. The complex family dynamic that unfolded behind the scenes as Miss Monroe blazed a path to iconic glory is a story that has never before been told...until now.

In this groundbreaking book, Taraborrelli draws complex and sympathetic portraits of the powerful women so influential in the actress' life:

  • Her mother, Gladys Baker, who gave up her daughter, Norma Jeane (Marilyn) after having two others kidnapped from her.
  • Her foster mother, Ida Bolender, who raised Norma Jeane for seven years — a woman whose brash but powerful approach to parenting has been completely misunderstood.
  • The legal guardian, Grace Goddard, who helped create "Marilyn Monroe."
He also tells for the first time the potent story of Marilyn's closely guarded friendship with Pat Kennedy Lawford, sister of President John Kennedy; he sheds new light on Marilyn's so-called affair with JFK; and he reveals shocking information about Marilyn's relationship with Robert Kennedy.

An epic journey told by a master storyteller, this is the final word on the life of one of the most fascinating and elusive icons of the 20th Century.

Received from the publisher for review.

I really didn't know all that much about Marilyn Monroe before listening to the book, and had never seen one of her movies. The book did spur me to check out a copy of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes from the library.

Marilyn's story was simply tragic. It was an absolute miracle that she turned out as well as she did with her childhood as filled with selfish, sick, horrible "guardians" as it was.

The second, third, and fourth hand accounts of Marilyn's story made me question the validity and accuracy of the book, but it was interesting nonetheless.

This one gets three stars. The abridgement certainly affected the experience, but the book was still good. The material was fascinating and the reader, Robert Petkoff, excellent. I certainly recommend it to both Monroe fans and biography lovers alike.

★★☆☆ = Liked It


Sun Singer said...

I can understand why you might wonder about the validity of those second- and third-hand accounts.

If I saw this book in a bookstore, I would be looking at the introduction and back-cover copy to see why, after all these years, this author suddenly had access to secrets that one would have thought the media would have divulged long before now.


Diane said...

Oh I wish our library had the audio version of this book. I took out the print version, but never got to read it. I am fascinated by the men who were captivated by M. Monroe.

Glad u liked this book.

Ryan G said...

I've only seen a few of her movies but I have enjoyed them. She wasn't the best actress I've seen but she had that quality that made you watch her.

Marilu said...

I was just checking out your archives and was happy to find this! I am so behind in my google reader that I must have missed this post. I wish I had seen it before Christmas! My husband really likes Marilyn Monroe. We have all kinds of Marilyn memorabilia including a! A Marilyn doll in a white dress is standing over a sewer grate, and when it rings the wind blows her dress up and she sings! He also has the original playboy, Life magazine, and a nude photo that was done before she became Marilyn! This would be a great addition to his collection! Thanks for the review!

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