Even 60 years after her death, Marilyn Monroe still fascinates. In his autobiography unfinished confession, she tells her life and confides her moods. In the pages of this poignant and often moving story emerges the portrait of a woman aware of herself, her image and the reality around her. Far from being naïve as many too often imply, we rather discover an intelligent woman who is inquisitive, clear and ambitious, but probably overly emotional. It’s that superficial sensitivity that will thwart her life and end up losing her.
It took several years for this book to be published in French and it is now available in an updated and illustrated new edition. In this autobiography, the only one by her hand, Marilyn reveals herself directly to us. She wanted to leave behind her vision of the world, especially the world of Hollywood, cruel as it may be. To realize his project, the enigmatic icon, who disappeared at the age of 36, asked the writer Ben Hecht to accompany him in writing his memoirs. She was only 28 at the time, but she had quite a past behind her and a lot of experience with already twenty films to her credit.
Then she abruptly put an end to this project. Something was wrong. Desiring her familiars to see the light of day, she will hand her manuscript over to her friend, photographer Milton Greene, who will take care of the rest.
Marilyn’s story is told chronologically: first her childhood, then her mother’s hospitalization as she struggles with mental health issues, and then her financially disadvantaged adoptive parents. A childhood in foster families that nobody would envy him for. Marilyn was afraid of going insane like her mother. As a child she lacks love and this will be confirmed throughout her life, even by the men she will marry.
Despite the lack of success models around her, Marilyn is an ambitious, curious, intelligent little girl who wants to climb the ladder of success. Already in puberty she becomes aware of her sex appeal and everything starts with her perception of things.
The Hollywood Universe
We all knew from the start that in the Hollywood film universe, the big producers, the ones who pull the strings and move the pawns, aren’t all compassionate souls. It gets even worse for Marilyn, who has suffered greatly.
“In Hollywood, a young girl’s virtue counts far less than the style of her hairdo. You will be judged on your looks, not anything else. Hollywood is a place where they’ll offer you a thousand bucks for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul. I know it, I often turned down the first application and waited for the 50 cents,” asserts the star of the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
The misogynistic universe of the 1950’s film industry is unmerciful to Marilyn, who is often treated as a nobody even though it is she who becomes the million dollar machine for the producers. She is aware that men have significantly more advantages when concluding a contract.
The malice and cruelty of which she is the object destabilizes her, if only because she is very fragile. Drugs unfortunately become the lifeline she holds on to. A crutch that will sadly ruin his sanity.
The amusing side of this book undoubtedly lies in the clarity Marilyn shows about her charm, a charm that always works in men. Marilyn tells, always in her own words, to what extent she had the art of letting women hate her. “Especially married women,” she says. “They were all jealous whenever” she “exchanged even a few words with their husbands, even in public at a reception,” she says.
The then movie star is known as a provocative woman, both for her sexy outfits that reveal as much as possible of what is usually hidden. Her words and gestures only add to the image she is projecting, and consciously so. She believes that this way she can achieve her goals by standing out from the rest. Besides, she is very pretty. With that, she has all the aces in play to advance on her way to fame in this artificial world. But at what cost?
An excellent book that allows us to discover the real Marilyn without filters.
However, it is unfortunate that his confidences remain so unfinished: we would have liked to have known everything to the end…
The book is interspersed with magnificent photographs of Marilyn taken from Milton Green’s portfolio and restored by her son, Joshua Greene.
- unfinished confession
- Marilyn Monroe and Joshua Greene
- Editions Robert Laffont
- 228 pages