What I’m Reading: Marilyn Monroe: The Private Life of An Icon

Marilyn Monroe: The Private Life of An Icon attempts to shed light on one of Hollywood’s brightest, most complicated actresses. It even addresses issues of the time period that are still prevalent today such as the casting couch. In learning more about the environment of Hollywood, as well as Monroe’s upbringing, you come to understand how sex became connected to Marilyn Monroe. She was the daughter of a woman who suffered mental health issues, and was constantly bounced around from unsafe foster home to unsafe foster home. When she tried to tell the truth about abuses she endured, Marilyn was told simply that it couldn’t have happened. It also sheds light on her own complicated sexual identity, further complicated by her Christian Science religious upbringing.

Monroe didn’t finish high school, instead being married off at fifteen. She only started seriously educating herself after meeting Arthur Miller, who encouraged her to expand her interests and was responsible for encouraging her to go to New York to study under Lee Strasberg. Everything she learned was of her own accord.

Monroe is painted as a complicated figure, with more ideas and more to give than the world usually gives her credit for even in her death. The book is an interesting look at a woman who has become the immortal symbol for film and Hollywood even despite her own tragic death.

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