Marilyn Monroe is perhaps the most popular and mythical icon in popular culture. And if you love her as much as we do – why not back up your style-knowlege by reading some of the best books written about her?
Styletalk’s editor doing her best Monroe-impersonation while reading.
There are many Marilyn-books to choose from, as there seems to be no end on wanting to capitalize on the myth as well as the real person.
“Her problem wasn’t she was a dumb blonde; it was she wasn’t a blonde and she wasn’t dumb.”
― Joyce Carol Oates’s book “Blonde”
I remember devouring Anthony Summers’ “Goddess”, not to mention Bert Sterns beautiful photobook “The Last Sitting” from the last photo shoot Marilyn Monroe ever did. Both books are amazing reads, whether you believe in the myth of the woman or the conspiracy theories behind her life and death. But – of all the books I feel it is Joyce Carol Oates’ novel “Blonde” about the fictional Marilyn that comes closest to some form of truth about the woman born as Norma Jean Baker.
The popular theory about the myth of Monroe’s appeal is that she conveyed this rare combination of fire and innocence – one moment a sex siren, a naturally playful woman-child the next, and at worst of times: a disturbed and unstable train wreck. Summer’s and Stern’s books – great as they are – still paints this picture and it feels like only half truths. It could be as simple as a matter of gender, because good as Summer’s and Stern’s books are, they are also man’s gaze at a famous woman.
Or – it could simply be that Oates’ genial fiction captures something that documentaries never can. That art communicates in ways words and photographs never will. I would gladly recommend all these 3 books – as well as Magnums “Marilyn by Magnum” with Eve Arnold’s superb photos of the “woman” as well as the “star”. So dim the lights, pour yourself a coctail, dress up in your most glamorous moviestar outfit and dive into the books. Don’t forget to play Elton John’s “Candle In The Wind” on your sound system. Happy reading!