Title: The Girl – Marilyn Monroe, The Seven Year Itch, and the Birth of an Unlikely Feminist
Author: Michelle Morgan
Pages: 256 Pages
Publisher: Perseus Books/Running Press
With an in-depth look at the two most empowering years in the life of Marilyn Monroe, The Girl details how The Seven Year Itch created an icon and sent the star on an adventure of self-discovery and transformation from a controlled wife and contract player into a businesswoman and unlikely feminist whose power is still felt today.
When Marilyn Monroe stepped over a subway grating as The Girl in The Seven Year Itch and let a gust of wind catch the skirt of her pleated white dress, an icon was born. Before that, the actress was mainly known for a nude calendar and one-dimensional, albeit memorable, characters on the screen. Though she again played a “dumb blonde” in this film and was making headlines by revealing her enviable anatomy, the star was now every bit in control of her image, and ready for a personal revolution.
Emboldened by her winning fight to land the role of The Girl, the making of The Seven Year Itch and the eighteen months that followed was the period of greatest confidence, liberation, and career success that Monroe lived in her tumultuous life. It was a time in which, among other things, she:
Ended her marriage to Joe DiMaggio and later began a relationship with Arthur Miller; Legally changed her name to Marilyn Monroe, divorcing herself from the troubled past of Norma Jeane; Started her own production company; Studied in private lessons with Lee and Paula Strasberg of the Actors Studio and became a part of the acting revolution of the day. The ripple effects her personal rebellion had on Hollywood, and in trailblazing the way for women that followed, will both surprise and inspire readers to see the Marilyn Monroe in an entirely new light.
Marilyn Monroe has always been an actress that I have been in awe of. Not necessarily for her acting skills – I can’t say that I have seen enough of her movies to make a fair judgement on that but as an icon I have always been overwhelmed by her power of longevity. It is nearly sixty years since her death and really there is only one Marilyn. You don’t even have to say her surname and people know who you are talking about.
Lately I have read a few books about her life and each one has compelled me to read more. What I have found with the other books I have read is a lack of warmth and a detachment to Marilyn Monroe as a person. In Michelle Morgan’s books you are given a very warm and sympathetic look at her life and that was really refreshing. Whilst Morgan doesn’t claim Marilyn was perfect she tries to understand the flaws and imperfections rather than making sweeping gestures.
Of all the Marilyn Monroe books I have read of late this happens to be the one I have enjoyed the most. It only looks at a relatively small (but important) period of Marilyn Monroe’s life but it shows just how much of an impact Marilyn Monroe made on the movie industry and helped paved the way for women working in that field that is felt even today.
The Girl – Marilyn Monroe, The Seven Year Itch, and the Birth of an Unlikely Feminist by Michelle Morgan.
For more information regarding Michelle Morgan (@MMWriterGirl) please visit www.michellemorgan.co.uk.
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For more information regarding Running Press (@Running_Press) please visit www.runningpress.com.