Review by Booklist Review
In this capsule biography, Winder (Pain, Parties, and Work, 2013) tosses a net on 1955, the year Marilyn Monroe broke from her stifling contract with Fox and fled Hollywood, under a black wig and the cover of darkness, for New York. For the already world-famous star, it was a momentous year indeed. In just over 12 months, she divorces longtime lover turned husband Joe DiMaggio; starts her own production company with her photographer friend and confidante Milton Greene; begins to study the Method under Lee Strasberg, alongside Marlon Brando and Paul Newman; and begins her love affair with future husband Arthur Miller. Her scope so neatly bound, Winder effectively stops time and keeps readers drifting through a montage of Monroe's '55 datebook. Relying on accounts of those who made up Monroe's blonde orbit, Winder sometimes delves too deeply into these peripheral lives. Still, this sympathetic portrayal of a brilliant artist who was dying to be taken seriously is full of quotes, anecdotes, and impressions that will please the many who wish they knew her.--Bostrom, Annie Copyright 2017 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Winder (Pain, Parties, Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer 1953) offers a captivating look at famed actress Marilyn Monroe's escape from Los Angeles and rebirth in New York, far from Hollywood's spotlight. In 1954, Monroe leaves a broken marriage to Joe DiMaggio to start an independent film company called Marilyn Monroe Productions. Despite being one of the world's most famous actresses, Monroe was surprisingly powerless. The film world was controlled by men who called all the shots and regarded her as a "dumb blonde." Winder adds a new page to Monroe's story by recounting how Milton Greene, a young photographer, helped her seize control of her career and walk away from Hollywood's constraints. The move east proves transformative: Monroe starts to transform her wardrobe, mindset, and public image, and this change leads to a host of fruitful new friendships with the likes of acting teacher Lee Strasberg and Truman Capote. She also finds a new position of power in the film industry and new love in the form of playwright Arthur Miller. Winder is a gifted writer and Monroe a fascinating, complex subject; this book will prove nearly impossible to put down for the actress's many fans. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review
Poet and author Winder (Pain, Parties, Work) reinforces the adage that a picture is worth a thousand words in this overstuffed yet hollow "year in the life" biography of Marilyn Monroe (1926-62). The year in question is one Monroe spent in New York (late 1954 through early 1956), dodging sexist Hollywood executives and a crumbling marriage to Joe DiMaggio, teaming with photographer Milton Greene to form her own management company, studying Method acting with Lee Strasberg, and generally living it up in Manhattan. The stories of her adventures in the city feel choppy, most likely because of the numerous sources. Overlong and overcooked descriptions of the star's outfits, maquillage, eating and drinking habits, and hotel room decor are studded with adjectives that objectify -Monroe nearly as much as the Hollywood moguls did. Despite the quoting of some poems and diary entries by the actress, there's very little insight into her head or heart. We see her pathos and humor, but at a remove, and from too many viewpoints. VERDICT This "Marilyn studies" entry provides second- or third-hand observations and too much filler. Readers would do better going to the primary sources or looking at photo studies, such as Eve Arnold's Marilyn Monroe or Greene's posthumously published Milton's Marilyn.-Liz French, Library Journal © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
Marilyn Monroe's whirlwind engagement with New York City receives a fitting reflection.Using a wealth of interviews, key documents, and ongoing correspondence, Winder's (Pain, Parties, Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer 1953, 2013) illuminating chronicle of Monroe's relocation to Manhattan centers on the actress in 1953 as she became increasingly restless and eager to abandon her "lonely life" in Hollywood, always powered by "cliques, connections, and friends of friends." In an effort to regain control over her career and allow disputed contract terms with Fox to simmer, Monroe secretly relocated and, together with photographer Milton Greene, formed a production company on the East Coast and began taking method acting classes in Manhattan with Lee Strasberg. She spent much of her New York time cultivating Marilyn Monroe Productions, fraternizing with the likes of Truman Capote, Marlon Brando, and Arthur Miller, and revitalizing her public image. However, as Winder notes, for Greene, keeping track of her became an immeasurably daunting task. Personally and professionally blossoming with the blockbuster success of The Seven Year Itch (1955), Monroe focused on making her company profitable, but insecurity became her biggest nemesis after returning to foster her career with Fox in Los Angeles, a city where she was "a milkmaid among Malibu tans." With a storybook cadence and impressive description, Winder writes of this time in Monroe's erratic life as an empowering, fulfilling episode, an opportunity to spread her creative wings amid a caged life fraught with the kind of grueling career pressures and studio demands that necessitated medicating herself to relieve chronic insomnia. Asks the author, "who was this warm-blooded space creature who lugged around dictionaries, spoke like a drugged-up puppy, and looked like a French pastry?" Winder doesn't pretend to unravel the many mysteries of Monroe, but she respectfully and quite thoughtfully salutes her East Coast tenure as she reveled for an instant in the sparkling possibilities of life in the Big Apple. A touching, textured, and compellingly written slice of the iconic actress's life. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.