Of the millions of words that have been devoted to Marilyn Monroe, few of them were written or said by the woman herself. Only a few interviews with Marilyn herself are still in print, and most of the people who knew her well are now gone.
A small handful of books can claim a direct connection to the star (My Story, an incomplete memoir from 1954; and a long interview, Marilyn: Her Life in Her Own Words, unpublished until 1995.) Now, Fragments: Poems, Intimate Notes, Letters can be added to the body of literature by Monroe.
The source material was provided by Anna Strasberg, widow of Lee Strasberg, who was Monroe’s acting coach and the main beneficiary of her will. Anna Strasberg is a shadowy figure among Monroe fans, who never knew the actress personally, and sold most of Marilyn’s possessions at auction in 1999.
Some may argue that Monroe’s legacy has been pillaged by bringing her most personal writings into the public domain. On the other hand, Marilyn’s life has been tabloid fodder for decades, long before Mrs Strasberg made her debut at Christie’s.
‘This book does not attempt to show her stripped bare,’ state editors Stanley Buchtal and Bernard Comment in their preface to Fragments, ‘but rather simply as she was.’ Apart from providing transcriptions of Marilyn’s handwriting, their presence is fairly unobtrusive. Continue reading