Review: Marilyn Monroe by Barbara Leaming

Marilyn MonroeTitle: Marilyn Monroe

Author: Barbara Leaming

Pages: 480 Pages

Publisher: Orion

The Blurb

Barbara Leaming’s Marilyn Monroe is a complex, sympathetic portrait that will forever change the way we view the most enduring icon of America sexuality. To those who think they have heard all there is to hear about Marilyn Monroe, think again. Leaming’s book tells a bran-new tale of sexual, psychological, and political intrigue of the highest order. Told for the first time in all its complexity, this is a compelling portrait of a woman at the centre of a drama with immensely high stakes, a drama in which the other players are some of the most fascinating characters from the worlds of movies, theatre, and politics. It is a book that shines a bright light on one of the most tumultuous frightening, and exciting periods in American culture.

Basing her research on new interviews and on thousands of primary documents – including revealing letters by Arthur Miller, Elia Kazan, John Huston, Laurence Olivier, Tennessee Williams, Darryl Zanuck, Marilyn’s psychiatrist Dr. Ralph Greenson, and many others – Leaming has reconstructed the tangle of betrayal in Marilyn’s Life. For the first time, a master story teller has put together all the pieces and told Marilyn’s story with the intensity and drama it so richly deserves.

At the heart of this book is a sexual triangle and a riveting story that has never been told before. You will come away filled with new respect for Marilyn’s incredible courage, dignity, and loyalty, and an overwhelming sense of tragedy after witnessing Marilyn, powerless to overcome her demons, move inexorably to her own final, terrible betrayal of herself.

Marilyn Monroe is a book that will make you think and will break your heart.

The Review

I never knew an awful lot about Marilyn Monroe. I knew she was an iconic actress and that she had been married to Arthur Miller and Joe DiMaggio. I knew that it had been rumoured that she had had an affair with JFK but all this stuff is the generic facts that most people know. Once I had read Barbara Leaming’s book I knew so much more.

What I really loved about this book was that Leaming didn’t glorify Monroe. She discussed matters of Monroe’s life in an in-depth but sensitive way. She had a knack of showing Monroe, warts and all, without making your perceptions of Monroe too altered yet giving you an extra dimension to consider.

It isn’t just the story of Marilyn Monroe. It is the story of film making and Monroe as one of the first cluster of women who tried to break through the glass ceiling of an industry long considered a boys club.

Marilyn Monroe is a fascinating read.

Marilyn Monroe by Barbara Leaming is available now.

35 Stars

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