In her most ambitious work to date, Joyce Carol Oates, one of America's most distinguished writers, reimagines the inner, poetic, and spiritual life of Norma Jeane Baker, the child, the woman, the fated celebrity, and tells the story in Norma Jeane's own voice: startling, rich, and shattering.
Drawing on biographical and historical sources, Joyce Carol Oates evokes the distinct consciousness of the woman and the unsparing reflection of the myth, writing as she has never written before, ecstatic, completely absorbed, inhabited as if by the spirit of her extraordinary subject. Rich with psychological insight and disturbing irony, this mesmerizing narrative illumines Norma Jeane's lonely childhood, wrenching adolescence, and the creation of Marilyn Monroe.
With fresh insights into the heart of a celebrity culture hypnotized by its own myths, Blonde is a sweeping novel about the elusive magic of a woman, the lasting legacy of a star, and the heartbreak behind the creation of the most evocative icon of the 20th century.
©2001 Joyce Carol Oates; (P)2001 HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
"Atkinson narrates Oates's fictional biography of Marilyn Monroe in an intense, slightly husky voice that immediately grabs and holds the listener's attention." (Publishers Weekly)
If I could have listened to the entire darned thing, instead of quitting 1/10 of the way through to read the REAL book. The narration was fantastic, and this is an incredible work of literature. WHY it had to be ruined...I have no idea.
I loved everything about it...too bad I was missing a HUGE part of the point.
The one that I read afterwards when I had to RE READ THE BOOK to get the whole story. Possibly the one with Norma in the car, since THAT WAS COMPLETELY LEFT OUT AND CHANGED THE MEANING OF EVERYTHING.
I absolutely adore this book. It's just too bad that it has been decided for us that we aren't intelligent or patient or deep enough to listen to the entire thing. JCO, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING????
I am so disappointed. I'd love a refund since I had to stop listening and buy the book anyway, once I realized all that I was missing out on.
Absolutely! the author of this book and narrator really brought you close to Marilyn. It was a pleasure to listen to. I couldn't put it down.
The intimacy you got to share with marilyn from her fist moments to her last.
i Wouldn't i think this title was perfectly chosen. it really is a metaphor for the story.
Rarely write a review, but the melding of prose and reader was so perfect. I don't care about the historical accuracy ... it was psychologically convincing and mesmerizing.
I hate when publishers only support a summary of the book or an "abridged" version. It's offensive to people with reading disorders who will not receive the full benefit of the book.
Overall, this book was a good listen. It was for my book club and was my first time to listen instead of read a fiction book. I definitely had a different take on the story compared to the ladies who read the book. I liked it a lot more than they did, but I think it's because the audio version is abridged. The narrator's imitation of Marilyn was annoying at times, but the story was great to listen to and kept me interested.
I loved the narrator's voice and her performance. Would be interested to listening another book she narrated.
While lending credibility to the possibility that Marilyn Monroe was misused and misunderstood, reports of her talent are over stated by the author. The voice of the narrator tells us of her lovers, while secondary reports tell us of her depravity. If you accept only the narrator's perspective, then you will be sympathetic to Marilyn's plight. If you believe the narrator's voice telling you how brilliantly she did in "Misfits," then you'll wonder why her name isn't mentioned today with the same reverence as, say, Katherine Hepburn.
What you do gain is insight into the early Hollywood heydays where the studio controlled all and starlets were merely chattel. If this interests you, you will enjoy "Blonde." As a fictionalized biography, Blonde covers most aspects of Marilyn's life yet she still comes off as vacuous in the book as she did in the movies. As with any novel, the key is in having a charater you care about. It's hard to care for Marilyn. I even listened to the interview with the author regarding her character development, but while I could see Oates' craft in the novel, "Blonde" was only fair.
I didn't read the print version but the audio version was great!
Marilyn is always my favorite character in a book about Marilyn
Marilyn, because there is no one like her, I believe she was very special
I found her childhood to be somewhat different from her biography
Everything about this book was good. I am glad I listened to it because the narration was perfect. You cannot go wrong with JCO.
When its bad its only mediocre.
The recreation of her first date with Arthur Miller, for example, is a high point. Her attempts to create great literature don't always work, for example, the opening scene with the messenger boy delivering death.
"Brilliant performance of an astonishing narrative."
Truly gripping performance of a great work of imaginative literature. Brings alive the period and the extraordinary unsung genius of Marilyn Monroe. If an audio book can be unputdownable this was it. Bravo Jayne Atkinson!
Extremely well told, the husky voice of the narrator really added character and back bone to the book and opened my eyes. Wasn't sure at first about the book in the first 30 minutes but glad i stuck with it.
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