Monday, November 07, 2022

Seven top Marilyn Monroe books

At Vulture Nathan Smith tagged seven of "the best books that deconstruct, analyze, and even transmogrify the star known as Marilyn Monroe." One title on the list:
Blonde, by Joyce Carol Oates

“The sole voice of Blonde is Norma Jeane’s,” says Oates of her lauded 2000 novel, Blonde. The book is a fictional exploration of Marilyn Monroe’s life
that strips away the veneer of Hollywood moviemaking and leaves the unpolished Norma Jeane searching for security and certainty. At almost 1,000 pages, it’s an epic work that uses the rough storyboards of Monroe’s life to create a richly humanistic and relatable narrative. But be warned that it’s also a real sober read. In it, there is Monroe’s traumatic childhood, her many abortions, suicide attempts, alcoholism and drug problems, lovers and abusers, and precarious mental health. There’s also never-ending sweat in Blonde: the sweat in trying to be Marilyn Monroe, in searching for personal and professional autonomy, in simply needing to survive deep and gnawing traumas. The book aims to confront as Oates tasks us with reconciling this brutalized woman with the sanitized, glamorous femininity of star Marilyn Monroe. For those who enjoy the new film adaptation, it’s worth committing to Oates’s sustained novel on Monroe as it beautifully augments her tragedy, loneliness, and unending search for stability.
Read about another entry on the list.

Blonde also appears among Rose Tremain's six best books, John O’Farrell's top ten celebrity appearances in fiction, Michel Schneider's top ten books on Marilyn Monroe, Ron Hansen's five best literary tales of real-life crimes, and Janet Fitch's book list.

--Marshal Zeringue