Published by Weinstein Publishing on May 13th 2014
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Marilyn Monroe is at the height of her fame, the object of the world’s desire. Attention is her drug, the very definition of who she is. Her own wants and needs have become fleeting at best, as if she sees herself only through others’ eyes. But there is one thing Marilyn still wishes for beyond all else—to meet her real father. That’s the part you already know, the legend—but here’s the part that’s never been told.
In Anna Godbersen’s imaginative novel, set at the height of the Cold War, a young, unknown Norma Jean meets a man in Los Angeles—a Soviet agent? A Russian spy?—who transforms her into Marilyn the star. And when she reaches the pinnacle of success, he comes back for his repayment. He shows her a photo of her estranged father and promises to reunite them in exchange for information: Find out something about presidential candidate John F. Kennedy that no one else knows. At first, Marilyn is bored by the prospect of, once again, using a man’s attraction to get what she needs. But when she meets the magnetic Jack Kennedy, she realizes that this isn’t going to be a simple game. What started with the earnest desire to meet her father has grave consequences for her, for the bright young Kennedy, and for the entire nation. The Blonde is a vivid tableau of American celebrity, sex, love, violence, power, and paranoia.
This is going to be shorter than normal and unfortunately, gifless; I am getting on a plane in a few hours to go to NYC! It’s actually my final college class…I’ll be taking workshops, seeing shows, auditioning…lots of fun. I just wanted to post this before I left because I’ll be pretty much completely MIA for the next two weeks.
To begin with, this genre is not my favorite. I still solidly like to stay within the realm of YA fiction. Unless I’m reading a good Adult Urban Fantasy or even the occasional Adult Paranormal Romance, I try not to stray from Young Adult. So this wasn’t my cup of tea to begin with. I knew that going in, but when I was offered an ARC, I took it. I had read some of Anna Godberson’s Luxe series years ago, which I only vaguely remember, but I knew she was a well known author so the writing was bound to be good. Which it was. There was A TON of attention to detail. Sometimes I felt this was a little tedious, but that’s partly because I’m more used to the break-neck speed of YA. The writing is excellent though, and the story was seen from multiple POV’s.
I’m not a fan of how crass the book was. I usually don’t appreciate when sex is thrown around with no romance, and a bit of this book was like that. There was a lot of language and manipulation, and a lot of Marilyn Monroe wondering how she could best seduce someone. I’m all about romanticizing, well, just about everything, and there wasn’t much of that here.
There was plenty of mystery to go around. Some less shiny spying than I prefer, though probably closer to reality than my *romanticized* notions. Marilyn Monroe fanatics are sure to like this thriller, which is shrouded in rich detail of the time period.I don’t know a whole lot about the dazzling movie star, as I didn’t grow up during that era, but she was certainly an interesting figure.