4 out of 5
Marilyn & Me
A Photographer’s Memories
by Lawrence Schiller
published by Nan A. Talese/Doubleday
released on May 29, 2012
borrowed from the local library
Marilyn & Me by Lawrence Schiller is a different type of book about Marilyn Monroe. I have read many books about her. Though this book is by a photographer it’s not one of those big glossy coffee table books full of photos. It’s not a typical biography of the starlet. It’s also not a fictionalized version of her life. Yes, you can find all of those types of books out there. This one is unique because it’s told from the perspective of an up and coming photographer who shot photos of Marilyn in the 60s.
Schiller first meets Marilyn on the set of Let’s Make Love and then later during the filming of the halted Something’s Got to Give. Footage from this film has been in shown in many specials about Marilyn due to her deciding to show off her body dripping wet coming out of a pool. This was a huge get and makes up a large portion of the book.
If you enjoy those magazine articles that strongly showcase both the writer’s voice as well as their subject then you will most likely enjoy the tone of this book. I’m also an amateur photographer and found the information on what it was like for Schiller starting out in that field so long ago. Because he was not only a photographer but also a bit of business man (as noted by Monroe to him in the text) much of the story talks about his interest in the photos being exclusive and how he sold them. I assume that this is why there are only a few photos in this book. Many are probably only able to be used in certain ways that he originally stipulated many years ago.
I don’t really feel that I’ve learned much new info on Marilyn from this book but I am a big fan and already know a ton about her. The snippets of conversation between the author and Marilyn throughout the book are both intimate and paint a vivid picture that makes you feel like you are watching the encounter play out.
Most of the book is about the author’s encounters with Marilyn and the brokering of the photos. However he also mentions his own thoughts on her death at the end. I won’t tell you what they are but I agree with them.
As with most media to do with Marilyn Monroe there are a few blue moments here and there. At one point Marilyn basically accuses the author of also using her body for him to turn a profit (as so many did) in such a sad manner.
This book is slightly over 100 pages. That makes it a short, easy read. I highly recommend it to other Marilyn fanatics.
You may also enjoy:
Just Because: More Marilyn Monroe
Just Because: Marilyn Monroe
The Marilyn Monroe Online Movie Resource
Super Links Plus: 1/24/12-includes a link to ANATOMY OF A SEX SYMBOL by Sheila O’Malley