Review by Booklist Review
A thicket of theories, rumors, fantasies, and lies continues to surround Marilyn Monroe's death 50 years ago. British pop-music journalist Badman tries hard to be part of the solution to this mystery in his avidly detailed summation of the last two years in Monroe's sadly brief life, but, alas, he ends up being part of the problem. His for-fanatics-only account is brimming with intriguing and disturbing information about the star's dangerous entanglements with Frank Sinatra, Sam Giancana, and the Kennedys. Badman also freshly illuminates Monroe's war with the studio during the filming of her last, unfinished movie, bearing the now ironic title Something's Got to Give. But as interesting as some of his findings are, Badman undermines his coverage by mixing speculation with fact and failing to pinpoint sources, and his writing is clumsy. All that Badman proves is that the still hidden truth about Monroe's tragic demise serves as a magnet for dogged investigation and endlessly contradictory interpretations. For a new and complete biography, see Lois Banner's Marilyn: The Passion and the Parodox.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2010 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
In the 1950s, Marilyn Monroe emerged as screen star and sex symbol with such movies as Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, The Seven Year Itch, and Some Like It Hot; by the beginning of the 1960s, though, Monroe's insecurities about her personality, her beauty, and her relationships caused her life to lose traction, and she fell into a cycle of drug abuse, destructive relationships, and a series of attempted suicides. In an unsatisfying, fawning hagiography, pop culture writer Badman (The Beach Boys) sets out to recover Monroe's good name from the fabricated allegations that he believes have tarnished her legacy. In exhaustive, almost month-by-month detail, Badman wearyingly examines every shred of evidence regarding Monroe's life from June 1961 to August 5, 1962, when Monroe was found dead in her hotel room. Badman briefly traces Monroe's early life, from childhood to her rise to stardom, claiming to have discovered the true identity of Monroe's father as Charles Stanley Gifford, a fact already acknowledged by other biographers. This thinly argued book claims that Monroe's death was not a suicide but an accident; she may have died from a drug overdose, Badman claims, but this event happened only because, in her attempts to get some sleep, she took larger doses than usual of the sedative chloral hydrate, which reacted with the large amount of Nembutal already in her system. Badman hopes that his meticulous five-year investigation into Monroe's death proves that the long-held assertion that Monroe deliberately took her own life is a slur on her generous and exceedingly affectionate character. Agent: Robert Kirby, United Agents. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review
A tedious expos of Marilyn Monroe's last days commemorates the 50th anniversary of her death. Badman (Beatles Off the Record, 2008, etc.) plunges headlong into the overcrowded field of Monroe-themed books ("almost 700" by the author's count) with this nearly day-by-day account of her life from June 1961 to her death in August 1962. After dispensing with her early years in a decent, if rushed, prelude, the author bogs down in minutiae, detailing the amounts paid for household expenses, the airline numbers of various flights and hourly itineraries for her social outings. Badman fares better when he sticks to discussing Monroe's fraught personal and professional lives. Living off the proceeds from 1959's blockbuster Some Like It Hot, she embarked on the debacle of preparing to star in Something's Got to Give, a film so entrenched in snafus that it deserves a biography of its own. Having recently turned 35, Monroe was beginning to feel the cold shoulder that Hollywood has traditionally shown women entering middle age, and her own insecurities and reliance on barbiturates led to relationships with unscrupulous hangers-on. Most bizarrely, her psychiatrist insisted on daily sessions, prescribed the potent sedative chloral hydrate, which contributed to her death, and even installed a spy/housekeeper in her home to report back to him on Monroe's doings. Along with the fact that the FBI was bugging her home and that she counted shady Rat Pack actors like Peter Lawford and Frank Sinatra as her friends, her lonely death comes across as an inevitability, accidental or not. Badman doesn't so much reveal new information about Monroe as recycle the old into something tawdry and depressing.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.