Regular price: $17.09

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free.
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price.
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love.
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel.
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month.
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

From New York Times best-selling author J. Randy Taraborrelli comes the definitive biography of the most enduring icon in popular American culture.

When Marilyn Monroe became famous in the 1950s, the world was told that her mother was either dead or simply not a part of her life. However, that was not true. In fact, her mentally ill mother was very much present in Marilyn's world, and the complex family dynamic that unfolded behind the scenes is a story that has never before been told...until now.

In this groundbreaking book, Taraborrelli draws complex and sympathetic portraits of the women so influential in the actress' life, including her mother, her foster mother, and her legal guardian. He also reveals, for the first time, the shocking scope of Marilyn's own mental illness, the identity of Marilyn's father and the half-brother she never knew, and new information about her relationship with the Kennedy's - Bobby, Jack, and Pat Kennedy Lawford.

Explosive, revelatory, and surprisingly moving, this is the final word on the life of one of the most fascinating and elusive icons of the 20th century.

©2009 J. Randy Taraborrelli (P)2009 Hachette

Critic Reviews

"As Taraborrelli brushes away cobwebs of myth and rumor, his remarkable research and fluid writing captures Marilyn's élan, sensitivity, desperation and despair with a haunting intimacy." ( Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    61
  • 4 Stars
    54
  • 3 Stars
    25
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    3

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    49
  • 4 Stars
    43
  • 3 Stars
    19
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    2

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    56
  • 4 Stars
    39
  • 3 Stars
    15
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    2
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Truly was a secret

Would you listen to The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe again? Why?

No , once was enough

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe?

How she lived with her husbands, she truly was abused.

What does Robert Petkoff bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He did a good job with his narration, but I think it would have been better if it was a female narrator.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Marilyn, she really was not a dumb blonde

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Linda
  • Yacolt, WA, United States
  • 05-21-12

Interesting but not earthshaking.

A well-performed, well-written biography of an icon. There is nothing startling in the book but it is a good all round account of the life of a Hollywood personality. Marilyn Monroe appears to be yet another personality used and abused by the system prevalent in Hollywood.

I cannot recall having heard the word "however" used more frequently by a writer. It became something of a distraction.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great!

I never knew how interesting biographies could be. This is a fascinating book about a fascinating woman. A great listen!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent story as well as narration!

This was a very fascinating story and the narrator did a great job in expressing emotions behind the words.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • LJM VO
  • United States
  • 11-17-16

A Fluff Piece

Nothing at all new . If you've read other bios about her life don't even bother with this one.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Deb
  • ARNOLD, MO, United States
  • 05-06-12

The ring of truth....

What about Robert Petkoff’s performance did you like?

I thoroughly enjoyed Mr Petkoff's performance, not many men would be able to give voice to Marilyn Monroe, but he certainly does. I will look for other titles which he narrates.

Any additional comments?

The life of Marilyn Monroe is surely one of the most popular biographies of modern times. Most, however, have the feeling of sensationalism. This book feels more realistic and down to earth. I feel like I have heard the 'real' story of the her life.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A good Marilyn tale

This is a good capture of Marilyn's life that leaves you thinking about many of her options and society at the time.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great listening

Excellent book, a lot I did know about MM. very informative. You'll enjoy it. Thanks

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Finally!!

In depth account of the legend Monroe void of the ever murder theory . Gave a good insight into her childhood without the usual so call molestation and abuse so many historians have embellished to the point of religion.. Good and clear account . Unfortunately the murder conspiracies will always overshadow the obvious.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Oliver
  • Burnaby, BC, Canada
  • 04-11-13

This book brings mm back to life!

What made the experience of listening to The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe the most enjoyable?

The narration and the books incredibly detailed story.

What did you like best about this story?

The details

What about Robert Petkoff’s performance did you like?

Clear and sexy voice

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

mm is brought back to life!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Petra
  • 03-10-10

The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe

Very good! Obviously a bit sad as the subject is Marilyn, but it was fluently written, well reasearched and interesting. I do like Taraborelli bios although he's not for everyone. I've read quite a few books about her and think this is one of the better ones. I think it was well read and, yes, the narrator does make a funny "marilyn" voice, but after a while you just go with the flow and get used to it. Overall I thought it was very well read.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Nadia
  • 08-31-09

secret life

The book came across as well researched, it was engaging and well presented.
The only two points i didn't enjoy were how the narrator spoke when speaking in Marilyn's voice mainly because he was a man. At times i felt the author had less empathy than necessary for Monroe's difficulties.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Gayle
  • 11-28-10

Recommended

I enjoyed this book, but I wish the narrator had refrained to imitate Marilyn and other voices when quoting them

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • francesca
  • 09-17-18

An interesting listen

It’s a shame this audio book is abridged, but it’s still worth a listen for any Monroe fan. I normally really like this narrator but he should stay clear of English accents. His Lawford was okay but his English housekeeper was terrible!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 01-10-18

Honest Telling

This is a book that tells an honest account of the life of a woman that has crossed for many into myth and legend. From Marilyn's humble origins to her meteoric rise. Her feet never strayed far from the ground mostly borne out of a preoccupation with her own mental health. The detailed description of her drug taking is an eye opener. This book is also swift to debunk and affirm certain myths and facts that surrounded Marilyn Monroe based on extensive research.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Frankimunk
  • 08-21-16

Very insighful,Taraborelli writes good biographies

I've read many books by Taraborelli and have never dislike on, he is very good at being objective, so the biography of Marylin is told from many viewpoints, juxtaposed opposed opinion and proven facts.
If like myself you are interested in how this iconic woman remains ever more interesting to generations in the 21st century, this insighful book tells how and why. she is as remembered and celebrated as Diana Princess of Wales, who also died before finding personal happiness whike being adored around the world. Highly recommended, good narrator

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Phil
  • 03-12-16

Compelling story compromised by the narrator

This is a tragic story - although I expect everyone knows that already. What is fascinating is the insight into Marilyn Monroe 's mental health. Her psychosis, her bipolar, her substance abuse is all quite vivid. Additionally her sense of isolation, her rootless existence, her inability to be perceived as anything but a sex symbol. This is a great account that works behind the facade of Hollywood glamour and shows the taudry loneliness of being someone who really you are not.

The quality of the writing is robust and enjoyable. It doesn't become too trashy to be credible, it isn't too dry or academic to become boring.

The personalities that float in and out the narrative - some very famous of course - are as colourful, warped and bizarre as the subject herself.

What is very off putting, however, is the narrator. He insists on exercising as many voices as he can. Crucially his voice for Marilyn Monroe is dreadful and sounds more like a Michael Jackson impersonation. I just about put up with it.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • leanne
  • 03-15-15

One of the best books on the life of Marilyn

loved it. such a sad story! honestly portrayed and good narration once you get use to Robert's female impersonations.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • darren
  • 02-12-15

Disappointing

I have read other biographies by this author and had found him heavy on detail and facts but this book was very light.
OK but nothing more.