Released April 2001
This is an interesting fiction/real life blend about the life and death of Marilyn Monroe. It appears to have pissed off many Monroe as well as Oates fans. Many who claim writer Oates was just bitter and jealous of Monroe's beauty, one reviewer going so far, after seeing Oates picture on the back cover, to say it was because "she'd been beaten with the ugly stick herself". Sheesh, talk about ugly people!
I enjoyed the book even though it was pretty bleak and mostly depressing but how could it be otherwise? Monroe's life wasn't exactly the happily ever fantasy what with her rough beginning, the abuse, the sex and the drugs. I thought Oates did an enviable job of recreating Monroe's voice, her motivation and getting to the heart of the woman behind the myth. It begins with Monroe as a young child and portrays the abuse she suffers at the hands of an unstable mother. This sets the ground work for Marilyn's unsuccessful search for a normal life which clashes time and time again with her overwhelming drive to become a successful and important actress.
It's sad and compelling and beautifully written and worth a read if you're a Marilyn fan.