This sympathetic biography, with its extensive bibliography and detailed notes, is a solid addition to the already vast library about the legendary star, even though Casillo (The Fame Game) produces no startlingly new insights. Applying present-day hindsight to Monroe’s life, from her unstable upbringing to her death at 36, Casillo highlights the long-lasting damage from Monroe’s childhood neglect and sexual abuse, and how it contributed to her later struggles with drugs, alcohol, and mental health issues. He also shows how often others, including the Kennedy brothers and her third husband, playwright Arthur Miller, sought to use the sex symbol for their own purposes, even as Monroe desperately pinned her hopes on these men and others to help her achieve personal and professional fulfillment. More than half a century later, the poor medical care Monroe received for her frequent bouts of suicidal depression and her inappropriate relationships with medical professionals—like many, dazzled by her fame and charisma—remain appalling. Casillo occasionally overreaches when applying modern expectations to a very different era, but he provides readers with a well-written examination of the mystique of a woman who still fascinates decades after her untimely death. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 05/28/2018 Release date: 08/14/2018 Genre: Nonfiction
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