Saturday, January 29, 2011

Review: Fragments

Title: Fragments
Author: Marilyn Monroe (edited by Stanley Buchthal & Bernard Comment)
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Category: adult non-fiction
Page Count: 256 
Release Date: October 2010
Source: Library
Challenge: none
Quick Rating: n/a

Fragments is an event - an unforgettable book that will redefine one of the greatest icons of the twentieth century and that, nearly fifty years after her death, will definitively reveal Marilyn Monroe’s humanity.

I want to start off by saying that I’m not giving this book any kind of rating. There are hardly words to describe this book, much less a handful of stars.

It’s a rare thing when I pick up a non-fiction title, but when it contains Marilyn Monroe, I have to make an exception. Fragments is a beautiful book, full of her original thoughts, poems, and letters. It’s unlike any Marilyn biography out there, because it is her. From the minute you see the first letter, you can just feel her coming off the page. She’s there in every misspelled word and scratched out sentence.

If you like your Marilyn as the picture of blonde perfection, this is definitely not for you. There’s a real pain and humanity in her words, the overwhelming need to be loved and accepted. She was witty, shy, vulnerable, innocent, and remarkable. This is essential for any fan of the true Marilyn Monroe.

In lieu of an analysis of the book (since there really are no words), here are a few of my favorite passages:

I am both of your directions
somehow remaining hanging downward
the most
but strong as a cobweb in the
wind - I exist more with the gold glistening frost.
But my beaded rays have the colors I’ve
seen in a painting - an life they
have cheated you
(pg. 17)
 Oh damn I wish that I were
dead - absolutely nonexistent -
gone away from here - from
(pg. 19)
 Stones on the walk
every color there is
I stare down at you
like a horizon -
the space/ the air is between us beckoning
and I am many stories up
my feet frightened
as I grasp towards you
(pg. 21)
Why do I feel
this torture?
or why do I feel less
of a human being than others
(always so of felt in
a way that I’m sub-human
in other words
I’m the worst
(pg. 96, 97)
Oh silence
you stillness hurt me head - and
pierce ears
jars my head with the stillness of
sounds unbearable/durable -
on the screen of pitch blackness
comes/reappears the shapes of monsters
my most steadfast companions
my blood throbbing with unrest
turns it route in another direction
and the world is sleeping
ah peace I need you - even a
peaceful monster
(pg. 111)
I guess I have always been
deeply terrified to really be someone’s
since I know from life
one cannot love another
ever, really
(pg. 115)
Where his eyes rest with pleasure - I
want to still be - but time has changed
the hold of that glance.
Alas how will I cope when I am
even less youthful -
(pg. 119)
Help Help
I feel life coming closer
when all I want
is to die.
(pg. 139)


  1. Wow, this sounds like powerful stuff. Who knew Marilyn Monroe was such a poet?

  2. I never pick up non-fiction, but this looks like a wonderful book. I love that it's from her, not someone's interpretation of her, and from those passages it seems like there was a lot more to her as a person, certainly a lot more darkness, than most people think. Thanks for sharing:)

  3. @Madigan: Definitely. It's a very powerful book.

    @Jenny: I pick up non-fiction so rarely too, but I just could no resist. XD There definitely seems like there was a lot to me that she never let the world see. They're also saying now that she might have had some form of dyslexia, based on all the spelling mistakes she would make.