Friday, August 17, 2007

iPod Shelf: BLONDE, A Novel About Marilyn Monroe

She is the image of carnality incarnate: a woman with tousled blond hair, heavy-lidded eyes, and parted lips that seem to invite every man within whispering distance to come hither. Norma Jeane Baker. Marilyn Monroe. A misunderstood thespian who was smart enough to play dumb...then sufferthe consequences of that act.

BLONDE is Joyce Carol Oates's fictional account of MM's life, before the birth of Marilyn and after. And I emphasize the word "fictional," because there's quite a bit of license taken--it's not a straight biography. In an interview that comes after the audio book itself, the author admits that she condensed several lovers into one, and she took educated guesses about MM's motivations. She even provided a theory as to how MM died, even though the circumstances have always been shrouded in mystery.

This book delves beneath the surface of an image, and it turns out to be a tragic American tale. It's an addictive telling, too, and if you're lucky enough to listen to the audio version, the narrator brings such life to MM's husky whisper that you almost believe you're listening to the superstar herself.

Definitely recommended if you're looking for entertainment with substance.

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