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Blonde (2001)

de Joyce Carol Oates

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2,146637,468 (3.95)1 / 330
Fiction. Literature. Historical Fiction. HTML:

The National Book Award finalist and national bestseller exploring the life and legend of Marilyn Monroe

Now a Netflix Film starring Ana de Armas, Adrien Brody, Bobby Cannavale and Julianne Nicholson

In one of her most ambitious works, Joyce Carol Oates boldly reimagines the inner, poetic, and spiritual life of Norma Jeane Baker??the child, the woman, the fated celebrity, and idolized blonde the world came to know as Marilyn Monroe. In a voice startlingly intimate and rich, Norma Jeane tells her own story of an emblematic American artist??intensely conflicted and driven??who had lost her way. A powerful portrait of Hollywood's myth and an extraordinary woman's heartbreaking reality, Blonde is a sweeping epic that pays tribute to the elusive magic and devastation behind the creation of the great 20th-century American s… (més)

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Anglès (55)  Francès (5)  Suec (2)  Castellà (1)  Totes les llengües (63)
Es mostren 1-5 de 63 (següent | mostra-les totes)
I have struggled with writing a review of this book because, quite frankly, it was a brutal read. In fact, some would argue that this book defines the need for trigger warnings. But that fact did not alter my enjoyment in reading this book.

This is definitely a book about identity. Much of the book is about the Marilyn character struggling with what her identity is. Specifically, she does her best to actually become the characters in her movies. In addition, she finds it necessary to present herself as whatever the people she is around expect. This may work as an example of "the gaze" for those that are interested in those very literary criticism approaches.

When I first started reading this book, I wondered why it was necessary to invoke the name(s) of Marilyn Monroe as this story could have stood nearly as well without that invocation. However, the more I read the book I could see how it was necessary to use her name. If any other name had been used, it would have led to too much discussion about the similarity to Marilyn Monroe.

In the end, I felt like this book treated the story of Marilyn Monroe the same as the media and history has treated her for the last 70 years. Her identity as a person has been overshadowed so often by the events around her and by rumors and innuendo. So much speculation about the facts of her life have been bandied about as fact. The character in this book longs for the times where she can indulge in things like books. She struggles against the tide of others to use her mind and provide insight. She is often dismissed as the "dumb blond starlet" and this is a disservice to her as a person. ( )
  GrammaPollyReads | May 9, 2024 |
Such a cruel, tragic fictionalised story based upon Norma Jeane Baker’s life, imagining the creation, and destruction, of Marilyn Monroe.
I’m unsure that I emotionally engaged with Oates’ Monroe, but I was fascinated and impressed by the technical virtuosity of Oates’ style using multiple viewpoints as well as multiple versions of Norma Jeane and “Marilyn”. The emotional detachment may be intentional, even when the narrator is Norma Jeane or Marilyn (and yes, they feel different), it still feels as if you are being told the story from an external perspective; the “Friend-in-the-Mirror”, the “Magic Friend” in the mirror. This is a complex, fractured image, sort of “cubist” in that the portrait of Norma Jeane is built up of fragments.

In some ways the novel has dated, as Oates names actors and directors who were once widely known, but may be no longer. I’ve recently read Hollywood: An Oral History, so was familiar with references to the Studio system etc, but this aspect might require more explanation for those who haven’t read about the “Golden Age” of Hollywood.

Sometimes Oates is telling a larger story than that of a fictionalised “Marilyn Monroe”, aspects of mid-twentieth century America, but this is intermittent.

I read just over half of this book (“The Scream. The Song.”), but found I wasn’t engaged enough to read further, hence the low rating. ( )
  CarltonC | Jul 19, 2023 |
Many many years ago Elton John wrote a beautiful song about Marilyn Monroe; those of us of the baby boom generation know all about it. But Joyce Carol Oates managed to write a novel that actually surpassed the comparative song about Marylyn/Norma Jean. Take some time to read and cherish this "factional" novel about Marilyn Monroe/ Norma JeaN Baker. ( )
  kevinkevbo | Jul 14, 2023 |
Tragic and fascinating approach to telling the life-story of a 20th century icon. ( )
  brakketh | Apr 1, 2023 |
(45) This wasn't one of my favorite's of Oates. This is a fictional first person more or less autobiography of Norma Jean Baker otherwise known as Marilyn Monroe. It is based on some known facts of her life, but certainly imagined ones as well. The narrative was somewhat fanciful; at times especially as she became more and more addled with substance abuse, it was hard to tell what was dream and what was really happening. It starts out with her a very young girl living with her maternal grandmother and ends with her death. I do not know much about the lore of Marilyn Monroe and did a lot of googling and watching clips of her movies - but I am perplexed by the ending. My loose understanding is that she died from an accidental overdose and/or poly pharmacy misadventure.

Anyway, I felt this was much too long. Marilyn was a pathetic if not quite sympathetic character and I just got really tired of her. I can see how she was objectified and used and that her self-loathing contributed to that; but I felt that she had opportunity to turn things around. Especially with her marriage to Arthur Miller. I dunno; 700+ pages of her schtick got a bit old. Though as usual JCO's writing was just phenomenal at certain points; startling. I was especially mesmerized by her description of 'baby,' Norma's sad first marriage, descriptions of her interactions with JFK. Yikes.

I do enjoy (almost) every JCO book I read and this wasn't really an exception; but I don't think her best work as I've seen claimed. I am however going to watch the Netflix series soon! ( )
  jhowell | Nov 1, 2022 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 63 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Gerade mit solchen fiktionalen Materialien, die in manchen Fällen nur hauchdünn neben den Originalen zu liegen scheinen, versteht es Oates, den inneren Raum der Monroe zu öffnen. Das Buch "Blond" behält also mit Sicherheit nicht nur bei der Haarfarbe recht, es ist als Ganzes gut recherchiert und es ist dort, wo es absichtsvoll von den verbürgten Fakten abweicht, fast noch besser erfunden. "Blond" ist aber vor allem gut geschrieben, und zwar deshalb, weil es über Strecken recht unkonventionell und frisch wirkt.
 
Dramatic, provocative and unsettlingly suggestive, Blonde is as much a bombshell as its protagonist, the legendary Marilyn Monroe. Writing in highly charged, impressionistic prose, Oates creates a striking and poignant portrait of the mythic star and the society that made and failed her....Oates sees Monroe as doomed from the beginning by heredity and fate, and hurried to her death by a combination of cynical Hollywood exploitation, dependence on drugs and flawed choices of lovers and mates: JFK's cruel manipulation and shadowy intervention is the final blow to her fragile ego and her very existence. It is no surprise when, at the end, Oates subscribes to a controversial theory about Monroe's demise....In an author's note, Oates declares that her novel ""is not intended as a historic document."" Yet she illuminates the source of her subject's long emotional torment as few factual biographies ever do.
afegit per Lemeritus | editaPublisher's Weekly (Apr 3, 2000)
 

» Afegeix-hi altres autors (27 possibles)

Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Oates, Joyce Carolautor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Drews, KristiinaTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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For Eleanor Bergstein, and for Michael Goldman
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There came Death hurtling along the Boulevard in waning sepia light. - Prologue
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Fiction. Literature. Historical Fiction. HTML:

The National Book Award finalist and national bestseller exploring the life and legend of Marilyn Monroe

Now a Netflix Film starring Ana de Armas, Adrien Brody, Bobby Cannavale and Julianne Nicholson

In one of her most ambitious works, Joyce Carol Oates boldly reimagines the inner, poetic, and spiritual life of Norma Jeane Baker??the child, the woman, the fated celebrity, and idolized blonde the world came to know as Marilyn Monroe. In a voice startlingly intimate and rich, Norma Jeane tells her own story of an emblematic American artist??intensely conflicted and driven??who had lost her way. A powerful portrait of Hollywood's myth and an extraordinary woman's heartbreaking reality, Blonde is a sweeping epic that pays tribute to the elusive magic and devastation behind the creation of the great 20th-century American s

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