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 and 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.
Not just a book for fans of Marilyn, it is so much more than that. This book is truly a fascinating story beautifully told by one of America's greatest authors. I really enjoyed every page, and I wasn't a fan of Marilyn before reading the novel.
A bit long but VERY engaging. Although Oates makes a point of saying this is a fictional biography, and that she took liberties with the facts, you get the sense that she did a tremendous amount of research on her subject and in this book she really brings her to life. What most of us don't realize is the Marylin Monroe was simply one of many characters that Norma Jean Baker played. Her stardom she achieved as Marilyn obscures the fact that she was an extremely gifted actress, an avid reader, lifelong student, perfectionist, and very insecure and vulnerable. It's a wonderful book.