Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Goodbye Norma Jean, I Still Don't Know You

Published: July 17th, 2012
Marilyn: The Passion and Paradox of Marilyn Monroe
By: Lois Banner
Bloomsbury USA
ISBN-13: 9781608195312

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.


  Marilyn Monroe is still on of the most recognized sex symbols to come out of America's history and make her way into the world conciousness.  This book is an attempt to analyze the different aspects of Marilyn's personality: her troubled childhood, the dueling longings for a successful career and a family of her own, the partying contrasted with the religion, the dumb blonde versus the very smart girl.  The author, Lois Banner, takes a feminist approach and treats the material like a slice of women's history that is in need of understanding.  Banner managed to gain material that has never been seen before, interviews with Marilyn's personal friends, and facts previously ignored by other biographers.  Banner has also gotten new details about Marilyn's childhood, abuse, and all of her other personal tragedies.  I went into this biography expecting to read something new and fresh to the world's enormous collection of books about the myth and realities of Marilyn Monroe.  The stuff about her childhood as Norma Jeane Mortenson was horrific.  I couldn't imagin a child being shifted around that much, abused, neglected and NOT coming out of it with major problems as an adult like Norma did.  But once we started getting into her movie career, it was the same old stuff that is rehashed everywhere.  I don't care what the synopsis for this book says, it was not anything that was new enough to interest me.  Not to mention that the author spends a lot of time analyzing Marilyn's every action and word instead of just reporting the facts.  This was less of a biography and more of a very amateur psychological analysis.  Seriously, what businees does she have purporting to know the inner thoughts and screw-ups of woman who has been dead for half a century?  This book was just not for me.  If you want to see Marilyn nitpicked to death and be bored out of your mind I encourage you to keep going after finishing the second half of the book.  Otherwise, don't even bother.

VERDICT:  1.75/5  Stars

*I received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley. No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book was published July 17th, 2012.*

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