April's Reviews > Fragments: Poems, Intimate Notes, Letters

Fragments by Marilyn Monroe
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's review
Jan 26, 2011

really liked it
Read in January, 2011

Heart wrenching.

I have to start out by saying that I honestly have never been a huge Marilyn Monroe buff - bowing my head I admit that I have never seen one of her films. However, I have heard endless talk of this sensationalized woman, as well as having watched a few bios of her and reading articles about her. Marilyn Monroe's story fascinates me and I find her life struggles and unexplained death heart-rendering. This is a woman whose name and story everyone knows and hypothesizes about. When I first heard of this book, Fragments, I was instantly intrigued and dying to read a copy. Here are my thoughts...

I know many may shake their heads in sadness that this woman's deepest thoughts and desires are now published in the public eye, for all to see. A woman whose privacy was nearly non-existent, now exploited, even in death. While I do share a bit of guilt in my fascination, I found Fragments to be a wondrous delve into the persona of a highly stereotyped and misunderstood young woman. With personal letters, notes, poems, recipes and random jottings, readers will get a bit of a glimpse into Ms. Monroe's life, her struggles and her misgivings. This was a young woman, who, it seems, never truly felt whole or happy in her own skin. For me, the book was a very eye-opening experience and I discovered many things that I had not previously known prior to reading it. I had not known that her biological mother suffered mental illness, or the fact that Marilyn, herself, was put into a mental ward for a time, against her will. This may be well known by some, but new for me.

In addition to discovering such tidbits, I was intrigued by Marilyn's thought process and her poems filled with her own churning emotion. On such poem, which truly grabbed me, is found on page 73:

That silent river which stirsand swells itself with whatever passes over it
wind, rain, great ships.
I love the river never unmoored
by anything
It's quiet now
And the silence is alone
except for the thunderous rumbling of things unknown
distant drums very present
but for the piercing of screams
and the whispers of things
sharp sounds and then suddenly hushed
to moans beyond sadness-terror beyond
The cry of things dim and too young to be known yet
The sobs of life itself

You must suffer-
to loose your dark golden
when your covering of
even dead leaves leave you
strong and naked
you must be-
alive-when looking dead
straight though bent
with wind
And bear the pain & the joy
of newness on your limbs

Loneliness-be still

The letters, poems and other renderings are presented as original pieces, followed by a typed version to enable easier reading and interpretation for the readers. Editors did make simple spelling corrections on the typed version, which is marked in red. I found it incredibly interesting to look upon the actual writings of Ms. Monroe, her handwriting itself, her sometimes random-looking notes and ideas. I have always been intrigued by long-ago notes and letters, handwriting styles and language, this is no different. These writings were all bequeathed to her dear friend Lee Strasberg, upon her death in 1962. They were then turned over to Mr. Strasberg's wife, Anna, upon his death in 1982. It is from there that the adventure of Fragments began.

Fragments is presented in such a way that, I believe, it is not meant to be prying or solicitous, but rather a journey of truth into the deeply misunderstood life of a young woman. There are a few editor's notes here and there, as well as a chronology of Marilyn's life included. Otherwise the entire book is contrived of Marilyn's own thoughts and writings, as well as gorgeous pictures depicting her life. The copy of Fragments that I read is a library copy, but I hope to add a personal copy to my own library, here at home, soon. This is a book that will capture the hearts of long-time fans of Marilyn Monroe, as well as those just wanted to discover the humanness of a lovely woman. I do have to mention that after reading this, my interest in Ms. Monroe has been highly piqued and I have picked up a couple of her bios since and hope to watch a few of her movies in the future.
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01/13/2011 page 75

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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extraordinary ordinary whimsy I'm intrigued.

April It's wonderful!

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