I’ve always wanted to get inside one of my favourite actresses Marilyn Monroe’s head. I knew she had a bad childhood and struggled to be a star, but I read that from secondary, objective accounts and movies that show both positive and negative sides of her. So I read My Story which is her unfinished autobiography, co-written by Ben Hecht.
Monroe gives the reader a taste of certain moments of her life (approx. 10 pages for each chapter) but they’re enough to create pity and my admiration for her grew as I read her thoughts on her ups and downs, her persistence after rejections (not just from employment but personal-related rejections too), her pessimistic view on Hollywood and its “fake” people, and feminist thoughts (though she confesses that she’s more comfortable with men than women since most of the women around her despise/avoid her).
My Story shows that Monroe was intelligent, not a dumb blonde, and didn’t exactly let fame get into her head. She was aware of her audience and people kept projecting her as a sex symbol rather than a serious actress. There were several times that she unintentionally gave off “sexual vibes”, leading her to say:
“People have a habit of looking at me as if I were some kind of mirror instead of a person. They didn’t see me, they see their lewd thoughts. They then white-masked themselves by calling me the lewd one.”
I admire her for never giving up on proving them wrong – she just wanted to do her work. In this way, My Story is also an assessment on people perceive others without actually knowing them. Because it’s unfinished, the autobiography doesn’t give you the whole picture and I wish it was complete. The book makes her death more heart-wrenching and it left me sobbing. Excuse me…