Review: Marilyn’s Red Diary by E.Z. Friedel

Everyone knows that Marilyn Monroe is American’s sex icon.

The blonde bombshells life is well known to many: the drugs, the sex, the insecurities, the tragic death, the conspiracy, the scandals.

So what makes this novel different the every other Marilyn story out there you ask?

It’s her diary.

I won’t spend too much time with the background of this novel since Marilyn Monroe is such a well known figure. We meet the troubled woman while she is undergoing treatment from her psychiatrist Ralph Greenson.

Greenson encourages her to journal as a way of getting to know herself better and exploring why she does certain things. The first few entries are a little hard to follow along but as she gets more and more into the dairy writing, the entries become more clear and substantially easier to follow.

We learn about her marriages to Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller as well as her other sexual encounters (sparing few details) with the Kennedy brothers. It also touches on her relationship with Frank Sinatra and how he influenced Marilyn’s relationship with the Kennedy brothers.

The diary entries are an interesting tool in the development of the novel. I thought that they kept the story moving along nicely but at the same time, some of the chapters were more interesting than others, as to be expected when reading a diary. Some of the entries were boring and didn’t really serve a purpose for me, they simply took up space that I found annoying as I wanted to keep reading and moving on in the story.

Friedel does a fantastic job blending fact, fiction, conspiracy, speculation, and rumor together in this novel. This is a uniquely written book. It’s not quite fiction but also not entirely fact which is what intrigued me about it the most.

If portions of this diary were true….how much of what she wrote down was fact and how much was her writing with her own slant on everything that happened? This was something I questioned throughout the book.

I found myself wondering how much of what I was reading was true and how much was enhanced to serve the audience but because it was so well written, I didn’t really care what was fact and what was fiction. Marilyn’s story is so sad and moving not matter fact or fiction that you can’t help but be taken in by it all.

I was surprised by the amount of graphic sex in the novel. Again I think you can get away with that when writing as if in a diary. A diary is supposed to be your inner most thoughts and experiences that were never meant to be read by the public. So if you look at the book in that way then it isn’t shocking that there was so much sex but at the same time I guess it just took me by surprise.

This novel is one that stays with you long after reading it. Marilyn’s tale is one all to common in Hollywood….a beautiful woman who only wanted one thing, true love and happiness but those are things that fame and fortune cannot buy. This novel was almost too sad. I found myself wondering long after I finished it…did she really die of an overdose or was it something more?

I am a huge supporter of the Marilyn conspiracies so this novel has a special place in my heart. It was full of intriguing conspiracies that made me want to go back and revisit some of the more well known theories about her death.

If you are a Marilyn fan or want to look at her life from a unique perspective then this is a great read. I really enjoyed how everything was presented and laid out for readers.

The only thing I was not a fan of was the cover. For some reason it just didn’t grab my attention. It seemed a little over done and gaudy for my taste. I don’t think it captured ‘her’. It seemed like to obvious of a choice for the cover. I would have liked to see something a little more understated and simple. For me there was just too much going on and I don’t know that I would have picked it up off the shelf.

Overall the book was an engaging unique read. This isn’t your mother’s Marilyn Monroe biography….its a fresh and racy look at America’s sex icon.

Challenge/Book Summary:

Book: Marilyn’s Red Diary by E.Z. Friedel

  • Paperback, 330 pages
  • Published June 1st 2013 by Beach Hut Publishing (first published April 12th 2012)
  • ISBN 0988890704 (ISBN13: 9780988890701)
  • Review copy provided by: Publisher in exchange for an honest review

This book counts toward: 2013 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

  • Hosted by: NA
  • Books for Challenge Completed: NA

Recommendation: 3 out of 5

Genre: Biography, gen lit, contempo lit

Memorable lines/quotes: 

You are one of a kind, which makes you feel lonely right now

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