Monday, June 11, 2012

marilyn's men

Marilyn's Men: The Private Life of Marilyn Monroe by Jane Ellen Wayne is yet another recap of the actress's life, focusing on her busted love affairs and not offering much real insight. It's chock-full of sleazy unsubstantiated details and gossip added for prurient interest. I'm working on a long-form project on Monroe, so I'm reading everything I can get my hands on, but this one is not to be taken too seriously.

Wayne relies on quotes from Robert Slatzer, who gained fame with his claims of a supposed 1952 secret marriage to Marilyn that supposedly took place in Mexico, at the height of her romance with Yankee slugger Joe DiMaggio. The marriage was supposedly annulled three days later at the insistence of Darryl F. Zanuck. That's a lot of supposedlys. Slatzer's credibility is not helped by other quotes by him that Wayne includes as facts, including basic facts of Marilyn's early life, which he seems to get very wrong. Readers can draw their own conclusions about whether to believe any of Slatzer's other claims about Marilyn, including his belief that she was murdered.

Marilyn entertaining the troops in Korea in 1954

Wayne also recycles unproved stories written by others, repeating a story from author Sandra Sherry, that Marilyn was pregnant during The making of The Seven Year Itch and had an abortion. There are many contradictory and conflicting "facts" in Marilyn's Men. Wayne claims that Marilyn's agent Johnny Hyde told her not to have children, so she had her tubes tied, which was reversed later. But she also recounts multiple concurrent abortions, which is in direct contradiction to a tubal ligation. And what about her attempts to get pregnant with husband Arthur Miller? None of the stories add up.

The bottom line is that this isn't even a book for the casual fan of the star. Marilyn certainly deserves better.

Note: This book review is also part of Cannonball Read IV, "A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink." You can read more about Cannonball Read here. I'm signed up for a "full Cannonball" — 52 books.

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