Even 60 years after her death, Marilyn Monroe still fascinates. In her autobiography Unfinished Confession, she recounts her life and confides her moods. Throughout the pages of her poignant and often moving story, the portrait of a woman aware of herself, her image and the reality that surrounds her emerges. Far from being naive, as many have too often imply, we rather discover an intelligent woman, eager to know, lucid and ambitious, but probably too emotional. It is this sensitive sensitivity that will cross his life and will end up losing it.
It took several years to see this book published in French. Now available in a new updated and illustrated edition, her autobiography, the only one by her hand, is Marilyn who reveals herself directly to us. She wanted to leave behind her vision of the world, that of Hollywood in particular, as cruel as it could be. To carry out his project, the enigmatic icon who disappeared at the age of 36, called on the writer Ben Hecht to accompany him in the writing of his memoirs. At the time, she was only 28 years old, but already had a whole past behind her and a lot of experience with already twenty films to her credit.
Then, she would abruptly end this project. Something was wrong. Wanting all the same that her confidences can see the light of day, she will give her manuscript to her friend and photographer, Milton Greene who will take charge of the rest of the project.
Her story is told chronologically from her childhood, her mother's hospitalization, struggling with mental health issues, and her financially disadvantaged adoptive parents. A foster family childhood that no one would envy. Marilyn was afraid of sinking into madness like her mother. As a child, she lacks love, and this will be confirmed throughout her life, even with the men she will marry.
Despite the lack of role models around her, Marilyn is an ambitious, curious and intelligent little girl who wants to climb the ladder of success. Already, in adolescence, she becomes aware of her sex appeal and everything will begin in her perception of things.
The Hollywood universe
We We all knew from the start that in the Hollywood cinematic universe, the great producers, those who pull the strings of the game and move the pawns, are not all compassionate souls. For Marilyn, who has suffered a lot from it, it's even worse.
“In Hollywood, a young girl's virtue matters far less than the style of her hairstyle. You are judged on your appearance, not on anything else. Hollywood is a place where they offer you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul. I know, I've turned down the first offer enough times and held on for the fifty cents,” pleads the film's star, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
The misogynistic universe of the film industry of the 1950s is merciless towards Marilyn, who is often treated as a nobody, even if it is she who becomes a machine to make millions for the producers. She is well aware that men have much more when it comes to signing a contract.
The wickedness, the cruelty to which she is subjected destabilizes her, already that she is very fragile. The drugs will, unfortunately, become her lifeline to which she clings. A crutch that will, sadly, get the better of his sanity.
The amusing side of this book is undoubtedly its lucidity on its charm which always operates, with men of course. Marilyn tells, always in her own words, how good she is at making herself hated by women. “Especially married women,” she says. “They were all jealous whenever she exchanged even a few words with their husband, even in public at a reception,” she reports.
The film star of the time is recognized as a provocative woman not only her sexy outfits which reveals as much as possible of what is usually hidden. Her words and gestures only add to the image she projects, quite consciously. She believes she can achieve her goals this way, by standing out from the others. Moreover, she is very pretty. Thus, she has all the aces in her game to advance on the path to glory in this artificial world. But at what price?
An excellent book, which makes us discover the real Marilyn, without filter.
All the same, a pity that her confidences remain unfinished, we would have liked everything know until the end…
The book is punctuated with magnificent photos of Marilyn, taken from Milton Green's portfolio, restored by her son, Joshua Greene.
- Unfinished Confession
- Marilyn Monroe and Joshua Greene
- Robert Laffont Editions
- 228 pages