Tuesday, April 23, 2013


I've started reading Marilyn: The Passion and The Paradox by Lois Banner and I'm loving it so far. A child of the movies - Marilyn's mother worked at the studios - Marilyn Monroe's life reads like one very eventful and memorable film.
   I have so much that I 'intend' to read and it's quite difficult when I write as well to read all the novels and biographies and autobiographies I'd like to, but I'm so glad I started this.
   For ages I've enjoyed biographies and particularly ones about movie stars. I am only a few chapters into Banner's work and so far I'm finding it (initially academic) but also a brilliant, page-turning read. Marilyn: The Passion and the Paradox is the most detailed account of Marilyn Monroe's life that I have ever read.
   I studied Marilyn's life in detail as a teenager for a play I was writing and performing in and I didn't think there was anything much that hadn't already been written about her or anything public that I didn't know. Some people may find the early accounts in this remarkable (and at first, quite literary work) a case of "too much information" - there are details about her most personal issues - but I have found in this (so far) a remarkable portrait of a remarkable woman, star, icon: part love letter, all real and very telling about the studio system that Marilyn had to navigate to survive.
   So many people out there (including me) are Marilyn fans and we are never going to forget one of the most enduring and iconic movie stars ever as long as writers keep writing about her. Marilyn never wanted to be "a joke" and I think this biography relays anything but. Without making her subject sound too serious or too glib, Banner finds a real person in the telling of Marilyn's story.
   When fantastic writers keep writing great accounts of her (admittedly rich life - rich in drama, comedy, tragedy, detail and beauty), we'll keep reading.
    I'm putting up these photos to remind you all how beautiful she was, how much she wanted to "improve herself" (even though she was already and always perfect in the eyes of her fans and those who knew and loved her) and just what a kind and sweet person she seemed to be.
    Marilyn's inner beauty shines through in this biography - that she was kind to others, gave her friends money when they needed it, that she always sought love and to improve her mind, that she was insecure yet unstoppable even when every metaphorical door slammed in her face. Marilyn worked so hard to become a star (she is quoted as saying, "I knew just how third rate I was") - yet she seemed to grasp the happiness she found (when she found it) with both hands.
    These photos remind me how much reading about her life has meant to me and I hope if you haven't read about Marilyn before that you start to now!