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Marilyn Monroe: The Private Life of a Public Icon

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  171 ratings  ·  31 reviews
Based on new interviews and research, this ground-breaking biography explores the secret selves behind Marilyn Monroe’s public facades.

Marilyn Monroe. Her beauty still captivates. Her love life still fascinates. Her story still dominates popular culture. Now, drawing on years of research and dozens of new interviews, this biography cuts through decades of lies and secrets
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published August 14th 2018 by St. Martin's Press
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3.99  · 
Rating details
 ·  171 ratings  ·  31 reviews

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Jillian Giusti
Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book focuses mostly on her mental illnesses and looks at her life from that point of view. This book is not filled with gossip and rumors it’s based on the facts that are available. It’s a pretty good book with the point of view that most books about her don’t cover . It was interesting and I liked it very much . If you are looking for a basic biography than this is a good book for you .
Linda Lipko
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a very good book this is! I finished it at 2 a.m. last night. I've read other books about Marilyn Monroe, but this author seemed to understand her quite well. Highly intelligent, highly vulnerable, incredibly hyper sensitive, it took tremendous will power to continue to try to function in Hollywood during the time of her life.

As she aged, she grew very paranoid that she would lose the only thing she felt she had going for her -- her body/her looks/her chemistry. When the magical number of 3
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Wow, this is such a good biography done on Marilyn Monroe. The author told facts and stories from interviews with people who knew her. There was no speculations or slanderous lies being thrown around. I even learned new facts I had not been aware of. I did not like this book when I started reading, but it gets much more in depth about her mental illnesses and struggles she faced before she died. As an avid lover of Monroe, I highly suggest this for anyone who feels the same about her.
Aug 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Marilyn Monroe is one of the most enchanting, interesting, intelligent and deeply troubled women to remain in the popular cultural zeitgeist, even half a century after her death. This intimate portrait of one of Hollywood's most influential women takes a grand, sweeping look at Marilyn from her birth and childhood as Norma Jean Baker to the transformation into the woman that anyone in the Western world could identify from a single picture.
What Casillo captures, and what perhaps makes this book
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fame doesn’t get you everything. We take our problems with us. Beauty is only skin deep. All these platitudes speak to Marilyn and her ultimately sad, lonely life. Heartbreaking to read how the people she called friends would end up failing her- although the question remains: if she had been saved again, at what point would she have overdosed again? When do you stop saving someone who doesn’t want to be saved?
Happy Canto
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This isn't the first Marilyn Book Charles Casillo has written (I've reviewed "The Marilyn Diaries" before) - this book, however, is vastly different from his first take on Monroe's life. In The Diaries, Charles Casillo inhabits Marilyn's psyche so well, that you come to believe the book you hold in your hands is truly her journal, and that you're privy to some amazing, exhilarating discovery, the kind of excitement anyone who had access to such a diary would feel. I wasn't able to put that book ...more
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Billy Wilder said Marilyn Monroe was "a puzzle without any solution," but biographer and novelist Charles Casillo (The Marilyn Diaries) has dug deep with his extraordinary biography and finds answers to questions that have haunted Monroe fans for decades. There have been dozens of full-length biographies written about Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962); however, Casillo's compelling and exhaustively researched biography does an outstanding job of sifting through conflicting testimonies and offering a co ...more
Sadie-jane (sj) Nunis
Jan 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Couldn't stop reading this
Ms monroe is an enigma and the biographer told her story well.

Good start to the reading year.

2019 reading challenge - a book you meant to read in 2018
Judy Freidhof
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
This narrative sheds new light into the psychological abyss that Marilyn Monroe had fallen into through the course of her personal and professional life. The book gives insight into her private life as seen through those people in her orbit. She is high maintenance both professionally and privately relying on pills and alcohol to get through the day. Much like what happened to many in the entertainment business, there were no shortage of medical professionals willing to accommodate her escalatin ...more
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
...A dictionary-size volume could be filled with quotations about Marilyn’s mammal magnetism and effortless hypnosis of just about anyone whose gaze fell into her primordial-force orbit and felt the fundamental erotic pull from her magmatic core.

A biographer who seems to get this important central factor in Marilyn’s living and posthumous fame is former actor, playwright and author Charles Casillo, whose new book, Marilyn Monroe: The Private Life of a Public Icon, presents the woman in both the
Lee Adams
Oct 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good book. Sad story.
Nov 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Every time I read another Marilyn biography - and I've read many of them - I think somewhere among the sadness and tragedy of her life I'm expecting there to be a different ending every time.

This was a really good read. I like when a book about Marilyn doesn't outright condemn her for being a sexual person. There's a lot of slut-shaming that goes on in a bad Marilyn book, and this thankfully avoided that.

As for her mental illness diagnosis seemingly disclosed throughout the latter half of the
Chris Beal
Sep 29, 2018 rated it liked it
I learned some things I didn't know, but mostly confirmed what I already did. There is more detail about Marilyn's career here than I had read elsewhere.

Castillo's account of her last days doesn't include some material I had read earlier and I wonder if he found it not to be credible -- in particular, the witnesses who said they saw Robert Kennedy at her home on the afternoon of the night she died. There was some new information on motive, though. For Marilyn fans, this would be a good addition
Sep 23, 2018 rated it liked it
As author Charles Casillo hints in this book, there will never been a definitive biography of Marilyn Monroe because so much about her many personas is unknown. Even by that standard, this book might have too much speculation and and conjecture for some readers. Still, Casillo is able to successfully illustrate one of his main points: That which made Marilyn Monroe so incandescent came from a very dark place deep within her.
Angela Tenore
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was absorbing and easy to read for someone who doesn’t know a lot about Marilyn Monroe. I will say the author seems to take liberties with thoughts and feelings in people presenting them as facts, but I’m not a stickler for scholarly authenticity in my pop culture icons. It was very interesting and readable.
David Weathersby
Aug 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Such a sad book in many ways. Someone felt they were destined to always be unloved and alone, but had celebrity on a scale no one could imagine.
Nov 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
Reads more like a gossip column...

Probably biggest claim in the book is cited to a "trusted, but anonymous" source... Never like(or trust those)!!!
Heather Zehnder
Sep 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
It seems like this author is infatuated with Monroe, but the book is well-written and extensive. The most comprehensive volume I've read about Marilyn Monroe.
Dec 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have always admired this authors writing style. Marilyn Monroe – The Private Life of the Public Icon is no exception – it’s well written and easy to follow. I have read numerous biographies on Marilyn Monroe and this one, was at times a challenging read which I believe is a good thing and I would suggest this biography has something to offer readers that are both new to the subject and also those that are seasoned students of Marilyn!

A particular source of interest was interviews with Joan Co
Deidre Schwartz
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
I've read many books on Marilyn and this one certainly ranks at the top. Highly recommend to anyone interested in her life, struggles, and dramatic achievements in an era of pre-feminism. She was ahead of her time and desperately wanted to show the world the depths of her persona. She was so much more, yet not strong enough to fight the powerful film magnates, celebrities, and politicians who had a hand in her demise.
Morgan ***Books and Bougie***
Sep 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm not the biggest Marilyn Monroe fan.

In fact, I picked up this book out of pure boredom at my hometown library (I love it but they lack a lot of options). I didn't expect to finish it. I found it impossible to put down.

I enjoyed the book. It wasn't a showstopper for me. I can tell the author has a wee bit of bias in his adoration for Marilyn. Either way, it was a pretty good book.

Also, #TeamElizabethTaylor
Elizabeth Bohdan
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
INCREDIBLE. I started this book never knowing anything about Marilyn Monroe. Reading this biography was addicting and educational. I will never think of her any other way other than pained, strong, and misunderstood. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!
Victoria Chiakmakis
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Marilyn Monroe has intrigued me with her beauty, mystery, and sadness. After reading this book, I wish I could reach out and hug this poor soul. Reinforces the idea that no matter how happy, beautiful, and put together someone seems on the outside, it has no bearing on what goes on inside.
Nov 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Donna Benton
Feb 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Exçellent!!! Loved this book.
Mar 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Detailed review to come.
Sheila Lien
Mar 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Great info...not my favorite author
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great story about the beloved Marilyn. Typos here and there. Editors?
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: biography
Too gossipy for my taste.
Erin Moonyeen
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the best biographies of Monroe; explores her character through the lens of mental illness.
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Sometimes while sitting darkly in a corner bar, sipping a martini with three olives, or just strolling down a city street with shadowy, hidden secrets, this author's mind wanders to his many interests and obsessions: Tragic figures, film noir, Marilyn Monroe, sex, eccentric personalities, extraordinarily talented individuals, and antidotes for insomnia, loneliness, and insecurity. He has written a ...more