I won the book, Unfinished…, from fellow Cannonballer Elizabeth Periale (also known as xoxoxoe) and I was excited to read it because Marilyn’s fame has always been interesting to me. I’ve never obsessed over her like some, but it’s interesting to me how many people do, still, to this day, obsess over Marilyn Monroe. Or, at least the image of Marilyn Monroe.
Periale uses many of those images, along with quotes, by and about Marilyn, in this graphic novel. And she does so to great effect. She tells bits of Marilyn’s story starting with her childhood, which I was, for the most part, unfamiliar with. Most of the novel, however, is about Marilyn’s life after she begins working as an actress and becomes famous (and then super famous).
I was more familiar with Marilyn’s life as an actress than her early life, but still didn’t know about her battles with endometriosis, her multiple miscarriages or her dependence on pain pills. But the book isn’t even really about any of that either. Instead, Periale uses the novel to bring up some very interesting points about Marilyn and (iconic) women in general.
Because, here’s the thing; Marilyn is an icon. She is so much of an icon that she’s used to indicate a specific type of woman: “Are you an Audrey or a Marilyn?” And yet, she and her body still, to this day, remain the subject of scrutiny. I mean, decades after the poor woman’s death, people are still debating on whether or not we should consider Marilyn fat. We can’t just accept that she was talented and beautiful and body be bangin’. No, instead people argue over whether or not Marilyn could properly be considered curvy or if she’s just another “skinny bitch.”
It sometimes feels like women just can’t win and this story of Marilyn’s life is one of those times. I mean, even when you’re an icon, a Golden-Globe-winning icon, people will still reduce you to a body to debate about. Poor Marilyn.
(Note: I only gave it four stars because while the content is wonderful and the novel itself is very striking, I’m old and sometimes had a hard time reading the small white font on the hot pink background. I wish it were just a bit more reader-friendly in that regard.)