BOOK REVIEW BY DAVID MARSHALL
The first thing to get out of the way is
the question some of you might have, namely what the heck is Cursum Perficio?
The Latin phrase appears on a group of four tiles forming a coat of arms at
Marilynís front door. The loose translation comes to ìEnd of My Journey.î
Although the original owners of the home obviously meant the phrase to mean that
they have found their small haven at the end of a long journey, a cozy place of
respite, after Marilynís death the tiles took on a more prophetic feel. It is
a fitting title for a book focused on nearly everything having to do with
Marilynís last home, the only house she owned in her lifetime.
The book is lushly illustrated
with drawings and photos, (among the illustrators is one Eric Monroe Woodard --
sound familiar?), floor plans, layouts of the home and property as well as the
furnishings. Items that had appeared in the Christieís auction return to their
natural setting, arranged as Marilyn had placed them while decorating and
planning her small nest in the Brentwood neighborhood.
But thereís a lot more here than
just ìand this is where she had her coffee table.î Following Marilynís
last year from her return to Los Angeles, her initial sessions with Dr. Greenson
and her introduction to Eunice Murray, the reader is allowed to follow Marilyn
through her final months from house searching through the purchase of 12305 5th
Helena, through her trip to Mexico and the furniture buying spree to the careful
placing of each object and Marilynís overall decorating plans for the home.
It doesnít end there -- the book
also covers such items as Marilynís daily schedule before and after the Somethingís
Got To Give filming, where she shopped, what her daily routine was while
renegotiating her contract. We see Joe DiMaggio reenter her life, her
friendships with the Rat Packers, her plans for upcoming projects such as the
filming of ìI Love Louisaî, (later made as What
A Way To Go! with Shirley MacLaine), and the coming together of her final
photo sessions with Stern and Barris as well as her last interview with LIFE magazine writer Richard Meryman.
Although Vitacco-Robles covers
Marilynís passing, there is no investigation or speculation here. And thatís
as it should be. The book is about Marilynís last months of life, the planning
and decorating of her home, her plans for the future. And that is what should
appeal most to those interested in Marilynís final abode.
made it to California but really, really want to go? Walked that short distance
of 5th Helena but have only peeked your head up over the gate? Most
of all, have you ever wished you could walk up to those gates, shout out ìHey
Marilyn!î and wait as the gates slowly move back and there she is in her Jax
slacks and her Puci blouse, waving from the door? Thatís what Cursum
Perficio gives you-- a chance to walk across the brick courtyard while
Marilyn stands there smiling in the doorway. ìCome on in,î she says. ìLet
me show you around.î