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The Passion and the Paradox

I’ll begin with a quote from Marilyn: “I knew that I belonged to the public and to the world, not because I was talented or even beautiful but, because I had never belonged to anything or anyone else.” Sadly, this is what she really thought of herself and never let go of that premise. Marilyn, according to this biographer, believed that when everyone loves you but, doesn’t really know you, you can die of loneliness. What I got out of this biography was the fact that Marilyn didn’t like herself very much but, based her feelings on all the hangers on and her famous husbands along with her infamous dates with men that didn’t care for her at all and that just seemed to love all the publicity of having Marilyn on their arms. To me, she seemed very intelligent and if she had used that intelligence she would not have died alone with the pain that nobody cared if she lived or died. It’s got to be devastating to be everyone’s darling that no one really cared for. It’s too bad that Marilyn didn’t have a little more backbone and didn’t try to surround herself with ordinary people and not people that just used her for newspaper stories.

The book itself was extremely long and probably had more in it than was really necessary but, the author did a good job relating Marilyn’s life. I’ve read other books about Marilyn and they are mostly the same. The first husband, who was a nice guy and probably the one she should have stayed with. Her next two husbands, who were very dominating and she put up with it. She was never really allowed to play roles that she could have owned because she was just used for her looks. This was, of course, so the studios could make money. It’s really too bad because she could have had a much better life if she had taken charge of herself and not put herself in the hands of people who used her for their own gain. I think that the author certainly did her research but, there have been so many books about Marilyn and they all say just about the same thing. I wish she could have done more with her life and had more real friends that she could have called on but, unfortunately, we’ll never know.

Book Blurb for Marilyn

Like her art, Marilyn Monroe was rooted in paradox: She was a powerful star and a childlike waif; a joyful, irreverent party girl with a deeply spiritual side; a superb friend and a narcissist; a dumb blonde and an intellectual. No previous biographer has recognized -- much less attempted to analyze -- most of these aspects of her personality. Lois Banner has.

Since Marilyn's death in August of 1962, the appetite for information about her has been insatiable. Biographies of Marilyn abound, and whether these books are sensational or flawed, Marilyn's fans have always come out in bestselling numbers. This time, with Lois Banner's Revelations, the fans won't be disappointed. This is no retread of recycled material. As one of the founders of the field of women's history, Banner will reveal Marilyn Monroe in the way that only a top-notch historian and biographer could.

In researching Revelations, Banner's credentials opened doors. She gained access to Marilyn intimates who hadn't spoken to other biographers, and to private material unseen, ignored, or misinterpreted by her predecessors. With new details about Marilyn's childhood foster homes, her sexual abuse, her multiple marriages, her affairs, and her untimely death at the age of thirty-six, Revelations is, at last, the nuanced biography Marilyn fans have been waiting for.

Night Owl Reviews Sep, 2012 4.00