by Anna Godbersen
Read: May 5 – May 11, 2014
Challenge: Eclectic Reader Challenge
Yearly count: 21
Source: Publicist for review
Blurb: In 1947, a young, unknown Norma Jean meets a mysterious man in Los Angeles who transforms her into Marilyn the worldwide star. Twelve years later, he comes back for his repayment, and Marilyn is given her first assignment from the KGB: Uncover something about JFK that no one else knows.
But what begins as a simple job turns complicated when Marilyn falls in love with the bright young President, and learns of plans to assassinate Kennedy. Now the most famous woman on the planet will do anything to save her man, the leader of the free world. Part biography, part love story and part thriller, The Blonde is a vivid tableau of American celebrity, sex, love, violence, power, and paranoia.
Review: I received a copy of this book for free from a publicist for review purposes, all opinions expressed below are my own.
Faithful readers, you know I’m obsessed with JFK. Add Marilyn Monroe and I’m even more intrigued. So you can imagine that I never even hesitated when I was pitched this book for review! I couldn’t wait to dig into this one and figure out how Ms. Godbersen was going to present Marilyn Monroe as a spy!
And I must tell you, the gloves are off in the way the characters were portrayed. It’s obviously well known that JFK was quite the ladies man, which is quite evident in this portrayal. But I will admit that I didn’t like who Marilyn became in this story. Without giving away too much of the storyline, Marilyn is promised something very important to her in return for whatever information she can get out of JFK. Seducing him is the obvious way to get what she needs. I have typed out a sentence four times trying to word it the way I need to for you to understand my dilemma with Marilyn in this book. Maybe I should just keep it to the fact that I wanted to like Marilyn but I just didn’t. I couldn’t like her.
Can I just state the obvious here? The whole idea of Marilyn Monroe as a spy?! Oh. My. Gosh. I simply cannot get over that concept! It might seem like a total stretch, but the way it plays out in this novel… well, it really works! There’s a lot of twists and turns that you don’t really expect. There are characters who might seem out of character from what you know of history. There are revelations that make you wonder… and that, in my opinion, is the heart and soul of this book. Could it be true? You really never know anyone else, do you? Like I said, it’s a concept that is a lot of fun to see how it unfolds in this book!
Overall though it’s definitely a good read in my opinion. I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next while reading it. The writing was very well done. The characters were well-developed. The only thing to be aware of is the fact that there is a lot of sex in this book (but it is Marilyn Monroe and JFK after all…)
I would definitely recommend this book! Another great read in my opinion!
So now that you’ve patiently read through all my ramblings about this book, let’s get down to the nitty gritty here. I have a giveaway opportunity! Somehow I ended up with a hardcover, finished copy of this book (it arrived mysteriously a couple of weeks after I received the ARC). So I would like to extend the offer of a giveaway to my readers.
Fine print: If you want to win and you live in the United States (sorry, international friends :() just leave me a comment here with your email address to be entered. You have until 7pm central standard time on Sunday, May 18th to enter. At that point I will take the number of comments I have and use random.org to decide a winner. Your comment will decide your entry number. At that point I will make an announcement and contact the winner by email. You will have 24 hours to respond, or I will have to choose another winner. Good luck!!
About the author: Anna Godbersen was born in Berkeley, California and moved to New York to attend Barnard College. After graduating she worked in the literary department of Esquire magazine, where she also wrote book reviews. Her debut novel was the first installment of the bestselling LUXE series for young adults, which she followed with the BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS series. THE BLONDE, to be published by Weinstein in May 2014, is her first book for grownups. She lives in Brooklyn.