What if Marilyn Monroe did not die that day in 1962? What if someone close to her happened to stop by and saved her? And what if Marilyn decided she didn't want to be Marilyn anymore and let (almost) everyone believe she was dead and started a new life? This scenario is what Gelles-Cole explores in her 'fictionalized autobiography' of Marilyn. Not only does she start over, but she starts over again and again, learning from various mistakes along the way. The author has given us an inside look at what it would have been like for Marilyn, had she lived, to overcome her total dependence on alcohol and chemical substances while taking on a new identity and seeking a new life. Most people have a difficult time overcoming addiction while remaining who they are in their lives. In the book, what Marilyn accomplishes is remarkable, although she does stumble along the way. The book really is a story of a woman's self-discovery and rebirth. A woman that was so manipulated and, at times, maligned in her life that for her to have accomplished what she did in this fictional tale would have been a miracle. If only it could be true. In the book, 'Marilyn' sets straight just how she climbed to the top in Hollywood, she comes clean regarding the truth about her marriages to Arthur Miller and Joe DiMaggio, and she debunks the whole conspiracy theory surrounding her death in connection with the Kennedy family.
I enjoyed this book, although at times the jumping back and forth had me a bit confused. I think 'what if' novels are so interesting, especially when it takes a famous person or event and turns it on its ear. I mean, how many of us have wished that a beloved celebrity really wasn't dead and had just staged their death to escape the public life. That's why there are so many reports of Elvis sightings or of Jim Morrison being alive and living in France. Heck, I've even wished this about Heath Ledger! Gelles-Cole has taken our wish (especially for Marilyn fans) and breathed it to life. She has made us think about what might have been.
About the book:
Marilyn Monroe is 85, the victim of a fire set purposefully to destroy her. This is the memoir she writes of what really happened from the night she was rescued in August, ‘62 until June 1, 2011 when the book starts, her 85th birthday.
Told in her own voice and propelled by the various lifestyles she tries on in her search to dig beneath the character that she created for the movies to the real woman inside, the book is two stories. While we read to learn what caused the horrible accident that ruined her face, she writes of her recovery from the addictions that subsumed her in Hollywood, her life as an average woman traveling with a young lover in Europe; her final goodbye to DiMaggio. As senior citizen Marilyn’s face is recreated she tells what happened to her fortune and then how she supported herself, how it felt when her face and body aged, how lust continued into her late years and how she fell in love when she thought all of that was behind her.
THE MEMOIR OF MARILYN MONROE is a mix of fiction, myth and Marilyn history.
I received this book from Pump Up Your Book Promotions in exchange for my honest opinion. No monetary compensation was received.