Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My Babies When They Were Babies

I found some old pictures on my computer of my tigers when they were little. I'm such a proud Mama and I can't resist sharing them with you all!!!

Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend…unfortunately so is Benzedrine

Joyce Carol Oates’s fictional biography of Marilyn Monroe entitled “Blonde” was a bit of a trial for me to get through. I generally read about 100 pages per day but with this one I was more around about 50 pages per day. I’m not sure if it was the type set of the novel or the subject matter but my pace definitely slackened here. This Chunkster took a while to read.

I didn’t know much about Marilyn Monroe before this book. I’ve never seen any of her movies and my only exposure to her is through the remake avenue of things like Madonna’s video where she reenacts “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” or through Anna Nicole Smith’s entire life! I came away from this book with an overwhelming sense of pity for this poor woman. Perhaps that’s why I found the book difficult…her life is so depressing that it’s draining on the voyeur.

“Blonde” gives detailed snippets of her life. Basically her mother was nuts and before she was certifiable and committed, she was still nuts enough to screw up a little girl quite irrevocably. Her father was nowhere to be found and her entire life is spent searching for this man and trying to fill that masculine paternal void through a plethora of lovers. After her mother goes into the loony bin she is put in an orphanage and bounces around through the system of foster care. It seems like all she ever wanted was love and attention. She knew from a young age that she was different because men and women alike would stare at her beauty but she was nonetheless uncomfortable in her own skin.

She was made into Marilyn Monroe (because her agent liked the “mmmmm” sound the name made!) but she was always just Norma Jean Baker and terrified in the limelight. She abused alcohol and drugs in order to deal with her anxiety. She was Norma Jean playing the role of Marilyn and people never wanted her to be herself.

Some men truly loved her but for most she was a doll. Joe DiMaggio wanted her to be a stereotypical Italian housewife; he wanted her to be more like his mother than herself. It was a constant dominance struggle. She left him after he beat her up because of the infamous subway grate scene; he didn’t like his little wife to show the world her knickers!

Her infamous relationship with the President is put under such a negative light that it’s hard to look at him the same way after. He would drug her and pass her around to his friends for their own pleasure; he had her abducted in the middle of the night to perform an abortion; he treated her like meat and yet she was so desperate for a man to love her that she believed he respected and adored her.

Marilyn Monroe’s life was truly tragic. This novel shows the little girl who grew up but was always lost, always a perfectionist because through her acting she felt people would love her. She worked hard because she was terrified of being laughed at.

If you want to read a rawer version of her biography pick up this book but if you just want the glossy highlights where she is a glowing starlet then pick up a different biography because this one is not for you!

Attempts at Sophistication...

Check out the new look of my blog!!!! I LOVE IT!!! It looks so sophisticated! LOL! Better late then never!

I have so many posts to catch up on with you all but that will unfortunately have to wait until tomorrow because it's snowing today and I want to go PLAY!!!

Have a happy day and remember to giggle at least once today!!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

“SSSHHH!!!” says the librarian with a scowl…

Scott Douglas’s memoir Quiet, Please: Dispatches from a Public Librarian was HILARIOUS!!! I was honestly laughing out loud as I was reading before bed and my husband kept on looking at me like I was a nutcase!!!

Scott Douglas is a librarian in his late 20s and this book is his journey through the public library system. The anecdotes that he tells are truly side-splitting and I would love to hear from a librarian whether half of these things actually happen! (Douglas assures the reader that all events are true in his Epilogue.)

It starts with him as a library page whose only duty is to shelve books while he is desperately trying to prove he is not a moron. Unfortunately, he learns that the librarians that he works with don’t even read and think that Pynchon is actually Julia Roberts’s new boyfriend! The book goes on to tell funny stories about computers coming to the library, obnoxious teenagers, story time for the school classes, elderly people that come in drunk on electronic wheelchairs, ESL issues, what he actually thought about library school, and library politics with the archetypal librarian characters.

Here’s an excerpt that I found particularly funny:

[…] Hon, an aging Asian woman. She knew little English, despite having lived in the United States for over thirty years and working in a job where English is the only language spoken.
Despite the language barrier, I like talking to Hon – mainly because of our language barrier; not even a week had passed and we already had a morning greeting. Each morning Hon would come in and ask, “How you do day?” I would reply, “Fine. How are you today?” And Hon would say, “Yes.”
About a month into my stay at the new library, Hon got mad at me. I’m not sure why exactly, but she came to me and said, “I mix peanuts in your shoe.”
I didn’t know what she meant, but I could tell by her tone that she was angry. “What’s wrong?”
“Cements in the paper, plus I need a bag.”
I looked at her, confused. She got angrier. “Cements in the paper!” she said.
She walked away from me, and we didn’t speak for two days.

This book is HILARIOUS and everyone should pick this one up if they need a giggle!!!