When Carlton Books kindly offered to send me a copy for review, and two copies to give away to you lovely readers (read on to find out how!), I was intrigued. And, when the book arrived, delighted. This publication is deliciously luxurious and filled with little visual 'twists' such as facsimile documents and delightful photo-montages, which the little girl in me adored... opening up 'brown paper' envelopes to reveal little plane tickets, costume sketches and interview notes. It's a fabulous way to get a feel for the details of her work and life.
The text is also a good read- it flows well, containing enough detail and anecdote without becoming bogged down. As someone with a broad understanding of Marilyn's life and a general interest in cinema, I found it an interesting 'entry level' read. A super fan or film expert would probably be aware of the details and dates already, nevertheless the tone, images and documents which anchor make it worth a look even if you know your Monroe facts inside out.
As The Personal Archives is written in association with Marilyn's estate, there is a distinct absence of gossip, conspiricy theories and even some of the more unhappy aspects to her psychology. They are mentioned, but not picked over (for example "Whether it was because studio boss Harry Cohn was not impressed with her or, as some have stated over the years, Cohn was very impressed by her until she turned down his sexual advances, the result was the same. Marilyn was out of a job in late 1948." neatly draws a line under the likelihood she was mistreated by her boss at Columbia; the reader knows what happened, but the focus of the chapter is very much what Marilyn herself did next to get her career 'back on track'). Personally, I found this rather refreshing; with the focus on her life and work (rather than her relationships with men and her death) Marilyn is represented as an ambitious woman and film star with a dramatic life... rather than a melodramatic plot or furious internet debate where the fact she was a real human being, and a successful one at that, neglected.
At £19.99 it's great value considering the wealth of iconic and lesser-known photographs, level of detail and lush presentation. Marilyn Monroe: The Personal Archives would make a wonderful gift to any Marilyn Monroe fan - a books which may be enjoyed as a display item or read as a biography in equal measure.
So, I have two copies to give away! Here's how you can get your perfectly manicured mitts on a copy:
- Follow this blog and leave a comment;
- Follow Carlton Books' blog (and leave me another comment to let me know);
- Tweet "I've entered the Marilyn Monroe giveaway with @carltonbookspr & @perditaspursuit http://perditaspursuits.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/giveaway-marilyn-monroe-personal.html" (and leave me another comment to let me know);
- Follow @perditaspursuit and @carltonbookspr on Twitter (and leave me another comment to let me know).