Review: A Dream Called Marilyn

Not anything surprising or different than what has already been written. I was a bit disappointed with this book. I am a big Marilyn Monroe fan; I’ve read various books both Biographies as well as the non-fiction ones. All of the non-fiction ones typically play off of her mental state as well as the rumors that surrounded her and her relationships with certain celebrities. This book is told by a psychiatrist, Dr. Charles Campbell, who was hired to treat Marilyn or as they stated “get her under control.”

The book starts off in the future when Charles is now an old man, a grandfather, who is out with his grandson. He spots a billboard ad that has Marilyn Monroe impersonator at a casino, and gets reminiscent of the past. He tells his grandson he knew Marilyn once and tells him how she almost ran away with him.

The story then back tracks into his memories about the day he met Marilyn, where he was hired by “a studio contact” to treat Marilyn. He is anxiously waiting for her arrival at their first appointment and when she arrives he is immediately captivated by her beauty. He acts a bit out of character and tries to dominate the conversation to get better insight of her but fails. After she abruptly leave he can’t seem to shake her off and it’s hinted he has fallen for the lovely Ms. Monroe.

The book plays off of the rumored conspiracies or Marilyn Monroe and the Kennedy. Charles tries to save Marilyn by trying to make her “see” how the dangerous the Kennedy’s can be if she continues to pursue JFK. All the while Charles has his own household turmoil that is constantly brewing.

Charles’s wife, Helen is aspiring to make it big in the acting world and wants to leave the boring suburban housewife scene behind her. Her behavior is very radical and at times reminded me of Marilyn (interesting…). Yet the behavior was a negative factor for Charles when it came from his wife but something that attracted him to Marilyn. His two daughters are caught in the middle and suffer the brunt of having a halfhearted mother.

In the end, Charles lets Marilyn go as he sees that he can’t save her and that she didn’t want to run away from him. He also discovers his best friend was not only having an affair with his wife but also set him up and tried to kill him. Helen saves Charles and they part ways that point on. Time is then brought back to the present where he tells his grandson the location of the money that he got paid to treat Marilyn and a tape recording of their sessions that he makes him promise not to sell.

I had some hard time keeping up with this story as it was trying to be pulled in various directions and then felt rushed to a close at the end. It is though, one of the first books where they really play off of the Kennedy and Monroe rumors.

Happy Reading!

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