[477]: The Blonde by Anna Godbersen

the blonde

GOODREADS SUMMARY | Weinstein Books | Hardcover, pp. 390
Publication Date: May 13th, 32014 | Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars


I’ve always held a fascination with Marilyn Monroe’s bright and short-lived life. When I saw this book at the bookstore, I just know that I had to get it. I must admit that I was equal parts skeptical and thrilled. Skeptical on how convincing of a spy she’d be, and thrilled with the prospect of whatever conspiracy theories I would be taking away from this novel.

Little Girl Lost.

When she was a girl on the cusp of adulthood, her father, a travelling salesman,  left one morning and didn’t come back. She’d been looking for him ever since. With every man that comes into her life, she creates a perception of what her father might be like.

A Woman Made-up.

When she was a struggling actress trying to make it in Hollywood, a Soviet agent decided she’d make the perfect spy: with her blond tresses, a voice of childlike innocence, and the hourglass figure, no one would know the better. They created this sexual persona that very few men could dare resist. Norma Jean shed her skin, and Marilyn Monroe was born.

A Man on the Scope.

John F. Kennedy was a senator whose star was on the rise. When the KGB set their sights on him, Marilyn was tasked to infiltrate the life of a notoriously known womanizer with a brilliant political future.  Jack, because of despite his staunch Catholic upbringing, was unable to resist the sensational actress. An affair ensued.

This is not Marilyn Monroe.

We only know of Marilyn’s legendary life through what we’ve been told, heard, seen, and read in the years following her death. We know of the failed marriages, the alleged affairs, and her apparent suicide. Among the number of males linked with her name is one John Fitzgerald Kennedy. A man whose family name is synanymous  to royalty in America. This is a fictional account of a different Marilyn Monroe, her illicit love affair with the president, and her role – directly and indirectly – in his assassination.

It is everything you’ve come to expect from a novel whose main character exudes her legendary sexual allure: erotic, exciting, and a visceral depiction of a life lived in the grasp of a powerful organization.

Godbersen perfectly captured the voice of a vulnerable woman in desperate search of a familial love. She was an easy prey to a man who knew her weakness, and knew how to manipulate it to work in his advantage. However, he grievously miscalculated the passion and loyalty of a person in love.

We see an intelligent, cunning, and a strong woman  who hid behind the quivering lips, the cloud of silken white hair, and the soft voice meant to enrapture the male audience. Marilyn Monroe behind the public eye, was a different creature altogether.  It was difficult to see the demarkation line between fact and the myth; the fiction and the legend; the truth and the imagined.

We also see a different JFK. He is portrayed as a man weak with desire, but whose drive is powered by his political aspirations.  I’ve always been curious about the iconic, Happy Birthday songso I was ecstatic to read the bathroom romp that followed thereafter.

This book perfectly exemplifies Marilyn’s relevance after all these years. Our never-ending curiosity about her fabled life will always spark someone’s creativity to satiate an itch more than seven years in the making. Anna Godbersen allowed her readers to see Marilyn in a different light, while remaining true to the icon that we’ve all come to know.