With an in-depth look at the two most empowering years in the life of Marilyn Monroe, The Girl details how The Seven Year Itch created an icon and sent the star on an adventure of self-discovery and transformation from a controlled wife and contract player into a businesswoman and unlikely feminist whose power is still felt today.
When Marilyn Monroe stepped over a subway grating as The Girl in The Seven Year Itch and let a gust of wind catch the skirt of her pleated white dress, an icon was born. Before that, the actress was mainly known for a nude calendar and one-dimensional, albeit memorable, characters on the screen. Though she again played a “dumb blonde” in this film and was making headlines by revealing her enviable anatomy, the star was now every bit in control of her image, and ready for a personal revolution.
Emboldened by her winning fight to land the role of The Girl, the making of The Seven Year Itch and the eighteen months that followed was the period of greatest confidence, liberation, and career success that Monroe lived in her tumultuous life. It was a time in which, among other things, she:
Ended her marriage to Joe DiMaggio and later began a relationship with Arthur Miller; Legally changed her name to Marilyn Monroe, divorcing herself from the troubled past of Norma Jeane; Started her own production company; Studied in private lessons with Lee and Paula Strasberg of the Actors Studio and became a part of the acting revolution of the day. The ripple effects her personal rebellion had on Hollywood, and in trailblazing the way for women that followed, will both surprise and inspire readers to see the Marilyn Monroe in an entirely new light.
I really enjoyed this book and learnt so much about a completely different side to Marilyn Monroe. I’ve seen the memes and photos of her reading, but didn’t really know much about her private life or that was she a real bookworm and lover of the arts. Like most people I always thought of her as a screen icon, for her looks and ditzy dumb blonde films.
This book really has opened my eyes and given me a new admiration for her and her achievements. I now want to watch her films, particularly Bus Stop and The Misfits and will definitely try and get hold of a copy of Norman Mailer’s book.
I definitely recommend this if you’re a fan or if you’re interested in another side to Marilyn Monroe.
Thanks so much to NetGalley and Running Press for my digital copy.
The Girl: Marilyn Monroe, The Seven Year Itch, and the Birth of an Unlikely Feminist by Michelle Morgan is available now.