cover image Marilyn in Manhattan: Her Year of Joy

Marilyn in Manhattan: Her Year of Joy

Elizabeth Winder. Flatiron, $27.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-2500-6496-7

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.)