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message 1: by Diane (last edited Feb 03, 2018 08:25AM) (new)

Diane Zwang | 1248 comments Mod
1. "The Brunette said, "Hollywood pays. That's why we're here. We're higher-class hookers. A hooker doesn't make a romance of hooking. She retires when she's saved enough. Movies aren't brain surgery, honey." Do you agree with Jane Russell's assessment?

2. "I gave her The Misfits and she left me anyway, I love her and don't understand". Do you feel sorry for Arthur Miller?

3. Marilyn and the President. What do you make of this section? I certainly got a different view of our 35th President and of Marilyn too.

4. Do you feel sorry for Norma Jeane AKA Marilyn Monroe? Is she responsible for her demise or The Studio?

5. And now who do you think the Dark Prince is?

For more information regarding her death, I recommend Coroner by Thomas T. Noguchi, MD. Marilyn's death is covered in about 20 pages.

Please feel free to add any questions, comments or thoughts.


message 2: by Gail (new)

Gail (gailifer) | 1391 comments 1) Do you agree with Jane Russell’s assessment?
I do not think that there is one way to assess Hollywood, now or at the time. Jane’s life turned out better (in real life) but I don’t think Norma Jean could have but herself through what she went through simply for the money.
2) Do you feel sorry for Arthur Miller?
Yes, actually I do. He never really understood Norma Jean and certainly never understood Marilyn but he did try to love her. He did attempt to protect her from herself and the drugs. He lost her because he couldn’t begin to understand what was going through her head. Couldn’t understand what she was really feeling or thinking. She was like a Martian to him. However, I do think that he loved her unconditionally.
3) Marilyn and the President - Ugly. It was just ugly through and through. I have no idea how close to something like the truth this represents but it is simply awful and it really make the whole book take a pivot towards ugly which I didn’t appreciate.
4) Do I feel sorry for Norma Jean? Is she responsible for her demise?
Everyone has a certain amount of responsibility for one’s own life regardless of the surrounding conditions. However, Norma Jean didn’t have any examples of a stable loving environment. She didn’t even seem to know how to hold onto herself when she played the role of Marilyn. Sugar, etc. The studio had a property that they abused. They were certainly not helping her in any way. They were just exploiting her. Yes, you can not help but feel sorry for Norma Jean.
5) And now who do you think the Dark Prince is?
I think the Dark Prince is the male object of Norma Jean’s affection. It is her father (non-existent), her perfect lover, her twin (Carlos/Brando and Gemini). It is definitely Gable for a time as he could be a substitute for father and lover, although that was just a role in a movie. It was the movie that Norma Jean longed for. And really at the end, it became the only thing she seemed to want - peace, peaceful sleep, and maybe death although of course that is not what the book concludes.


message 3: by Kristel (last edited Mar 06, 2018 04:24AM) (new)

Kristel (kristelh) | 4116 comments Mod
1. "The Brunette said, "Hollywood pays. That's why we're here. We're higher-class hookers. A hooker doesn't make a romance of hooking. She retires when she's saved enough. Movies aren't brain surgery, honey." Do you agree with Jane Russell's assessment?

My opinion matches with Jane Russell's. It is a healthy way to look at the job than the way Norma Jean did.

2. "I gave her The Misfits and she left me anyway, I love her and don't understand". Do you feel sorry for Arthur Miller?

I actually do feel sorry for Arthur Miller and I disliked how Marilyn treated him. I am not going to take Marilyn's side in this.

3. Marilyn and the President. What do you make of this section? I certainly got a different view of our 35th President and of Marilyn too.
I hated this section, not because I liked the Kennedy's but because it was just so degrading. Marilyn was really at a very low point. It was hard to stomach.

4. Do you feel sorry for Norma Jeane AKA Marilyn Monroe? Is she responsible for her demise or The Studio? Drugs destroyed Marilyn. They did not help her. The Studio was part of what destroyed her but we all have to accept responsibility for our choices. Marilyn too.

5. And now who do you think the Dark Prince is? The dark prince was which ever man was the man at the moment and they were all her "Daddy". Marilyn never understood reality. She only knew fantasy.

Warning, Spoiler, but then we know how it ends. Actually the ending leaves us with the choice; did Marilyn kill herself, was she a suicide, could she have been an accidental overdose like they call them now days or was it a conspiracy. Was the sharpshooter just one of her paranoias that she dreamed in her drug state or was he real. We, the reader, get to choose.


message 4: by Book (new)

Book Wormy | 1989 comments Mod
"The Brunette said, "Hollywood pays. That's why we're here. We're higher-class hookers. A hooker doesn't make a romance of hooking. She retires when she's saved enough. Movies aren't brain surgery, honey." Do you agree with Jane Russell's assessment?

I think this is a very sane and logical way of looking at Hollywood and the process of making movies.

2. "I gave her The Misfits and she left me anyway, I love her and don't understand". Do you feel sorry for Arthur Miller?

I do feel sorry for him, he did his best but he was no match for Marilyn and her needs.

3. Marilyn and the President. What do you make of this section? I certainly got a different view of our 35th President and of Marilyn too.

I felt this was a really low point in Marilyn's life it also didn't show the president in a good light however some of the descriptions of the "sex" in the hotel room had me in hysterics especially describing his penis as "an affable slug"

4. Do you feel sorry for Norma Jeane AKA Marilyn Monroe? Is she responsible for her demise or The Studio?

I feel very sorry for NJ but ultimately we have to accept that she played a role in her own downfall, the Studio are not blameless either. In fact everything that happened in her life lead her to that point.

5. And now who do you think the Dark Prince is?

The dark Prince was any man in her life.


message 5: by Pip (new)

Pip | 1411 comments 1. Jane Russell was far less vulnerable than Marilyn. I liked that Oates hinted that Marilyn tried to be more like Jane after meeting her. I presume that this was all fictitious, but it was an interesting way of explaining why Jane survived and Marilyn didn't.
2.Arthur Miller was an intellectual and really couldn't cope with the way Marilyn existed on an emotional rollercoaster. He was swept into her orbit like so many others, but he was powerless to help her.
3. Most of this section was believable. I think it has been well documented that their liaison was well known. Marilyn singing him "Happy Birthday" was well publicised at the time. I adored Kennedy and bought into the whole Camelot fantasy, but was not disillusioned by the subsequent revelations. I hadn't heard of Peter Lawford as the Pimp in Chief, but knew about the romps in his spa pool in Malibu (or maybe it was at Bing Crosbie's place in Palm Springs?) I had heard about the clandestine abortion allegation before, too. Not improbable.
4. I do feel sorry for a woman who was serially abused and yet managed to extricate herself from doomed relationships and the power of the Studio. I find her drug abuse inexplicable and irresponsible. She was fed drugs by the evil doctor, but given her horror of drugs in her youth, she seemed to be blindly ignorant of the consequences of drug taking. It was dreadfully common for people to take drugs - look at all those musicians who died young - but, even now, people seem to take drugs for trivial reasons. Look at the crisis we have with antibiotics now! And I find that my age group will take anything their doctor orders (and many over the counter drugs as well) without any thought of the consequences. Sorry, I am on a hobby horse at this moment!
5. I agree with Kristel, the Dark Prince was whoever was man of the moment, but also, he could be Death?


message 6: by Kristel (new)

Kristel (kristelh) | 4116 comments Mod
Pip wrote: "1. Jane Russell was far less vulnerable than Marilyn. I liked that Oates hinted that Marilyn tried to be more like Jane after meeting her. I presume that this was all fictitious, but it was an inte..."

I agree with, and ride with you on that hobby horse. We are currently battling an opioid crisis here is the US and many entertainers and regular Joes are dying of taking drugs that numb the brain and rob the person of their personhood.


message 7: by Diane (new)

Diane  | 2042 comments 1. "The Brunette said, "Hollywood pays. That's why we're here. We're higher-class hookers. A hooker doesn't make a romance of hooking. She retires when she's saved enough. Movies aren't brain surgery, honey." Do you agree with Jane Russell's assessment?

Not really, but I can see the analogy. I agree that it is a healthier outlook on Hollywood. Russell strikes me as a much more resilient person that Monroe.

2. "I gave her The Misfits and she left me anyway, I love her and don't understand". Do you feel sorry for Arthur Miller?

I do feel sorry for him. I think he truly loved her, but she had way too much baggage by the time they met to sustain an enduring relationship.

3. Marilyn and the President. What do you make of this section? I certainly got a different view of our 35th President and of Marilyn too.

I found this disturbing. I would like to think that this is mostly hearsay.

4. Do you feel sorry for Norma Jeane AKA Marilyn Monroe? Is she responsible for her demise or The Studio?

I do feel sorry for her. She had a rough life and had few supportive people in her life, or at least none that lasted for any significant amount of time. The Studio is partially to blame, but she made many poor choices on her own that contributed to her demise.

5. And now who do you think the Dark Prince is?

I think she was always looking for that missing father figure in her life. The men in her life would each briefly occupy this role, but never quite fulfill it.


message 8: by Jenni (new)

Jenni (sprainedbrain) | 71 comments 1. "The Brunette said, "Hollywood pays. That's why we're here. We're higher-class hookers. A hooker doesn't make a romance of hooking. She retires when she's saved enough. Movies aren't brain surgery, honey." Do you agree with Jane Russell's assessment?

I think Jane wasn't nearly as alone and vulnerable as Norma Jeane. She had a much healthier outlook on the whole scene.

2. "I gave her The Misfits and she left me anyway, I love her and don't understand". Do you feel sorry for Arthur Miller?

Yes. I think he loved her, but they never had a chance.

3. Marilyn and the President. What do you make of this section? I certainly got a different view of our 35th President and of Marilyn too.

I did not like this part of the book... as others have said, so degrading for Marilyn. None of it really seems that implausible - it seems a well-known fact that he was a womanizer.

4. Do you feel sorry for Norma Jeane AKA Marilyn Monroe? Is she responsible for her demise or The Studio?

I do feel sorry for her. She had such a sad, lonely life and just seemed to fall into bad situations. She made bad choices, but I think the studio also had a role in her demise.

5. And now who do you think the Dark Prince is?

I think the Dark Prince was whoever the man in her life was at the time, but also her missing father, and I agree with Pip that in the end, it was Death.


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