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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Review: The Blonde by Anna Godbersen

Title: The Blonde
Author: Anna Godbersen
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Weinstein Books
Publish Date: May 13, 2014
Source: I received a copy from the PR; however, this did not affect my review.

What's the Story?:

From "Marilyn Monroe is at the height of her fame, the object of the world’s desire. Attention is her drug, the very definition of who she is. Her own wants and needs have become fleeting at best, as if she sees herself only through others’ eyes. But there is one thing Marilyn still wishes for beyond all else—to meet her real father. That’s the part you already know, the legend—but here’s the part that’s never been told.

In Anna Godbersen’s imaginative novel, set at the height of the Cold War, a young, unknown Norma Jean meets a man in Los Angeles—a Soviet agent? A Russian spy?—who transforms her into Marilyn the star. And when she reaches the pinnacle of success, he comes back for his repayment. He shows her a photo of her estranged father and promises to reunite them in exchange for information: Find out something about presidential candidate John F. Kennedy that no one else knows. At first, Marilyn is bored by the prospect of, once again, using a man’s attraction to get what she needs. But when she meets the magnetic Jack Kennedy, she realizes that this isn’t going to be a simple game. What started with the earnest desire to meet her father has grave consequences for her, for the bright young Kennedy, and for the entire nation. The Blonde is a vivid tableau of American celebrity, sex, love, violence, power, and paranoia."

My Two Cents:

"The Blonde" imagines if instead of just being a sexy starlet, Marilyn Monroe was actually a Soviet agent charged with carrying out one of the most confounding crimes ever. This is a departure for Godberson whose other books include YA historical fiction such as "The Luxe" and "Bright, Young Things." This book is most decidedly not young adult fiction but it makes for a nice entry into the world of adult fiction and thrillers. She definitely gave me a lot of things to think about in this one. This book will appeal to mystery lovers who like being at the edge of their seats.

The genre of this book is not my usual fare but oh how I love Marilyn Monroe. I still absolutely love reading about her and find her fascinating. What I liked about this book is that it plays into the idea that Marilyn was merely feigning her sort of ditzy-ness and damsel in distress persona in order to cover for what her true position as spy/agent was. From many of the things that I have read, I do think that much of the damsel persona was an act that Monroe used to get what she wanted so it was interesting to see how Godberson turned her acting that way into a cover, very sneaky indeed.

The pacing of the book was pretty good most of the way through. I wish that there had been a little bit more information about a couple things that were loosely tied for me. I wanted to know more about Marilyn's motivation for doing what she did. Did she want a way to show that she wasn't just another pretty face? What did she think she was going to get out of it? Overall, I think this was a good thriller that had me turning the pages!



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