Michelle (True Book Addict)'s Reviews > The Memoir of Marilyn Monroe

The Memoir of Marilyn Monroe by Sandi Gelles-Cole
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's review
May 23, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: for-review, read-in-2011
Read in September, 2011

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.
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