BOOK REVIEW BY DAVID MARSHALL
There’s an upside and a downside to
these online groups. The upside is that after you’ve been around for a while,
you amass a huge collection of Marilyn photos. So what could possibly be the
downside to that? The downside comes when you realize that you now have the
majority of photos that will appear in any MM photo book you pick up. And while
that can be weighed against the pleasure one gets from holding a book and
leisurely thumbing through the pages as opposed to sitting at a computer and
clicking to the next picture, it does dampen the thrill you used to feel when
coming across a MM book you didn’t already own. You knew that you’d be
treated to a wide plethora of brand new Marilyn photos and would spend days and
days looking through them one by one, studying, memorizing.
That would be the one thing I have
against Jock Carroll’s book on the many pictures he took of Marilyn as her
career was just about to take off into the stratosphere. It’s no fault of Mr.
Carroll’s of course. But I have to admit that when I looked through the book
the first time, there was the whispered disappointment of “Oh, I’ve seen
that one. That one too.” But the upside is when you have a book there is
always something new—and usually in the section that, if you are like me, I
often overlook- yeah, the Words.
How long did you own Mailer’s
“Marilyn” before you actually read what he had to say? Or how about “The
Complete Last Sitting”? Did it take you months and months to turn to the front
of the book and see what Mr. Stern had to say for himself? I know that the
temptation to just look at the pictures and overlook the actual text is strong.
But I suggest that you pull those coffee table books down off the shelf, (or up
off the coffee table), and spend sometime reading what they say. Some of it can
only be categorizes as “God Awful” such as “The Unseen Archives”, (GREAT
book, stupid and inaccurate text). Sometimes the text is nearly as fascinating
as the photos, like “Milton’s Marilyn” or “Falling For Marilyn”.
Now granted, the actual text to
this book is only 17 pages, followed by about 60 pages of photos. But without
the words, without Carroll’s memories of the just then about to become a major
star Marilyn, you’d be sitting with a book that you could just as easily do
without as you likely already have all of those pictures. For by sitting down
and taking the time to read those seventeen pages, you can her Marilyn talking
about her makeup techniques (circa 1952), her makeup man Whitey, her childhood
and her thoughts on one Mr. Joe DiMaggio. You’ll get to read about her at
Niagara Falls, the dreams of maybe becoming a recognized actress, read all the
small conversations and snippets of trivia you know you would give just about
anything to have herd and witnessed in person.
Seventeen pages isn’t all that
much. But when it comes to this point where you’ve read just about every book
out there on the woman, those seventeen pages of new information and memories of
yet another person who knew Marilyn, seventeen pages can be a priceless
full page black and white photos. Good quality paper. Seventeen pages of Memory.
Sounds worth it to me!