It is a job that has enabled her to survive, and to forget. But when Alice becomes embroiled in a sting operation involving the entrapment of a Communist spy, she is forced to confront the past she has been trying so hard to escape. Firstly huge thanks to 4th Estate Books, I attended an event with them recently where I picked up my proof copy of this book.
The title appealed to me greatly, the premise of a close up with Marilyn Monroe whilst on her tour to the US soldiers stationed in post war Korea. I wonder if the misleading title will leave others similarly disappointed, which would be a shame because at less than pages this book offers an insight into the post war struggles of traumatized Alice as she seeks to rebuild her life.
A Photographer’s Memories
The visit of Marilyn Monroe provides the back drop for this story and the author states in her notes that the book was inspired by 2 photos — one of a female interpreter at work, standing between a UN soldier and a North Korean POW during the Korean War, the other of Marilyn Monroe who visited Korea right after the war to perform to the American military. Our protagonist Alice has survived the war and this is her story, damaged from her experiences and existing rather than living, the opportunity to accompany Marilyn Monroe on her 4 day tour offers chances to heal and unexpectedly reveals the answers to many of her wartime questions.
The book is well written linking the then and now as Alice prepares for the visit, chapters from the past detail her experiences of war and people she has loved and lost whose stories emerge as the visit progresses. The format of the book works well and is easy to follow although I did struggle to place some of the characters with unfamiliar Korean names.
4th Estate pre-empts 'darkly beautiful' Marilyn & Me
The harsh and traumatic impact of the war was well conveyed and the book highlighted for me how little I knew about this event in history. The author notes that the Korean War is also known as the Forgotten War and I wonder if this in part explains my poor knowledge. An interesting snap shot of the trauma this war caused and a potentially informative read, although I think I needed a firmer knowledge base to really appreciate this book. Not really about Marilyn Monroe but I enjoyed the most the parts where she featured. Published earlier this month and while perhaps not for me, for those particularly interested in this historical period I imagine this book would appeal more.
Marilyn and Me review: An unlikely friendship
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Made-for-TV movie Marilyn and Me focused on her relationship with Robert Slatzer , a longtime confidant who claims to have been secretly married Marilyn for three days during a trip to Mexico, only to fall foul of Hollywood moguls determined to destroy their relationship. Decades before her best known role as the mom on 7th Heaven , Catherine Hicks actually made a pretty convincing bombshell in this biopic movie. So convincing, in fact, it earned her an Emmy nod. She may not look much like Marilyn, but her charismatic and expressive face was compelling nonetheless.
His play After the Fall is a thinly veiled dramatization of their marriage, and one that depicts Marilyn as a troubled, demanding and self-destructive woman called Maggie whom the protagonist Quentin is forced to abandon for her own good. The image of Marilyn stuck, though the hurt and betrayal she accuses Quentin of echoes throughout the play.
While many films have sought to show the many sides of Marilyn, from the emotionally damaged daughter of a mentally ill mother to the ambitious performer who knew when to vamp it up, few have employed two separate actresses. In this TV movie, Ashley Judd took the role of Norma Jean, while Mira Sorvino played her alter-ego Marilyn Monroe, and in doing so illustrated the marked differences between her public and private personas.
While no one would claim either Ashley or Mira look much like Marilyn, they both earned Golden Globe nominations for their efforts.
The song could have been about James Dean, it could have been about Montgomery Clift, it could have been about Jim Morrison… how we glamorize death, how we immortalize people. Author Joyce Carol Oates is keen to stress her novel is a fictional account, insisting it should not be considered a biography. An upcoming feature-length version is reportedly in the works , with first Naomi Watts and now Jessica Chastain linked to the lead role. To watch full episodes, you must have a cable provider that supports BBC America's full episode service and you must have BBC America as part of your cable package.
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Marilyn and Me | Ji-min Lee | | NetGalley
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