Marilyn Monroe remains to this day one of Hollywood’s biggest sex symbols. Her image continues to be promoted today through articles about her life, books, posters and even documentaries. When she died suddenly on August 5, 1962, she left behind millions of fans, a career and a film industry in which she was at the top of its list of stars. Her marriages and love affairs have been documented relentlessly and her sex appealed is desired by young men looking to be the next great sex symbol in Hollywood. But just who was the real Marilyn Monroe? When she died she was only thirty-six years of age, far too young to have written a complete autobiography or to have experienced all that life has to offer. However, prior to her death, she had begun to tell her life story to friend and business associate Milton Green. Green kept the manuscript along with thousands of photos he took of the late actress. His son Joshua, has preserved the images digitally restoring them in the process. When he found the manuscript he had it published into this short but revealing book about the early life of Norma Jean Mortenson.
This book is her story told in her own words. Her story is not glamorous nor is it tragic. In fact, aside from her early childhood memories and living situation that changed regularly, there isn’t much that stands out in the way of chaos. For the most part, she was a normal girl trying to have a normal life. I believe that is imperative that the reader abandon any preconceived notions about Monroe’s life. Her marriage to Joe DiMaggio and later love affair with President Kennedy are fodder for gossip columns and distract from her life behind the camera. In fact, the images we see of her on film and in pictures do not come close to revealing the real Marilyn Monroe.
It is incredible that fifty-four years after her death that you can still find her face on posters at most stores. Recently on a trip to IKEA, a poster with her image was among the many that the store sells. In just thirty-six years, she created a legacy that is certain to last for an eternity. Sadly, the book ends right after she marries DiMaggio. She has just set out to entertain troops in Korea. We know that there is more to her story and that her life took a darker and more sinister turn. Rumors about the real cause or her death have survived since she passed and show no signs of slowing down. It remains to be seen if we will ever know the truth about her death and why it happened. And even if the truth is known, the loss of the late icon will still be felt.
Her story is short but highly entertaining. There are no pieces of gossip about other stars and it will be surprising for some to learn how unassuming she actually was at the time. She is very candid about her experiences and gives of a welcoming charm that explains the never-ending infatuation the media has with her. I believe that if she had lived, she would have finished this manuscript and it would be by far one of the best autobiographies we have seen. But even in its shortness, Marilyn does a good job of telling us her story.