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I actually got two Marilyn books by mail this morning! biggrin.gif One was Hometown Girl and the other was My Story. I got this book through an online auction. It's the Finnish translation, Nuoruuteni.
I borrowed this book a couple of years ago from the library and thought that if I get a chance to buy it, I will. The text isn't always 100% correct, but I like the way it's written, plus there are some nice pictures. So overall, I'm happy that I got it smile1.gif
What do you think about this book? coolio.gif
I have an older copy of 'My Story', from the seventies. I like it a lot. I think you have to bear in mind that the book was a joint effort between Marilyn, Ben Hecht and Sidney Skolsky. Some parts of it may be inaccurate. Still, it does give you a feeling that you're hearing Marilyn speak in her own voice. She seems like a lonely, shy young woman but determined to make something of her life. I liked the way she fought back against men who took advantage of her.

I think the newer editions include an intro by the feminist Andrea Dworkin. She was abused as a child so I guess she would have related to what Marilyn suffered. I haven't read that chapter though, so I wondered what it was like ...

Mine is also from the seventies. I'm not sure if there are newer Finnish editions.
Even though the book isn't fully written by Marilyn, you can definitely hear Marilyn's voice, just like you said Tara. That's exactly why I like the book so much smile1.gif
I love the book!! because you see marilyn as a real person and not as the wiggly dumb woman sometimes is represented on books, this is the real thing!!
If you read Spoto´s account of this book, chapter 13: jan-sept 1954, you will know not to believe the 'My Story' book to much... rolleyes1.gif

hug.gif Suus
QUOTE(suusmarie @ Jul 26 2005, 11:36 PM) [snapback]84746[/snapback]
If you read Spoto´s account of this book, chapter 13: jan-sept 1954, you will know not to believe the 'My Story' book to much... rolleyes1.gif

hug.gif Suus

I've just read an interesting article about how this book came to be published.


(From Florice Whyte Kovan's article in the Ben Hecht Story & News, ISBN 1629-0811 Volume 3, Number 1, 2001).

The recent reprint of Marilyn Monroe's memoir, My Story by Cooper Square Press correctly credits Ben Hecht as an author, ending a period of almost 50 years in which Hecht's role was denied. Oddly, his partisans can't complain too much. Hecht himself publicly denied writing it when he was writing it in 1954.

Over the years we had seen the letters Hecht wrote during his collaboration on the book with Monroe, but hadn't considered an article about the ill-fated literary venture until we received a letter from Anthony Slide. He suggested that readers of the Ben Hecht Story & News might enjoy the story behind My Story. Hecht scholar Florice Whyte Kovan doubled back over her copies of Hecht letters and found others to illuminate his contacts and understandings with publishers, with his literary agent and with Monroe's attorney as they dealt with the fate of the "as-told to"---Hecht's capture of Monroe's charmingly debunking perceptions of life and love.

In a letter to Ken McCormack of Doubleday in the early spring of 1954 Hecht thanks him for his careful review and comment, then updates the status of the fledgling enterprise. "This Monroe hitch has turned into an unexpected headache. It's only last week that I got the go-ahead from our ex-orphan." Not surprisingly Hecht was finding the recent Monroe/Joe DiMaggio marriage encroaching on her availability to fulfill her part of the contract. Hecht complained, "When I first saw her for five days she was 100% clinging and cooperative. She got married and the picture changed. . . . My next session with her may have to be in a ball park."

Hecht had no interest in credit for ghosting the memoir. His literary grapevine would know. His interest was in selling his writer's craft for profit. He called the agreement "The contract permitting me to write her copy under her name." But certainty about the outcome had already become blurred. Referring to his literary agent, Hecht called the venture "A contract that became a hallucination in (Jacques) Chambrun's mysterious noggin." Literary agent Jacques Chambrun's stable of writers had included Sherwood Anderson, Somerset Maugham and HG Wells. Representing the latter, his task was to deal with public hysteria over the too-realistic radio drama War of the Worlds. He had been Hecht's agent for some 20 years.

A month after writing his letter to Doubleday, Hecht sent 168 pages of typescript to Chambrun with a description of the 40 final pages to come: the smash movies that launched her stardom, How to Marry a Millionaire, Gentlemen Prefer Blonds, her purchase of a $12,000 mink coat, her own business enterprises, the death of her Aunt Grace and her desire to be a mother. He assured Chambrun, "Miss Monroe has approved of all the copy I've sent you Ebut as I told you, there will be 'minor revisions' --a phrase here, a small point there will be altered." He averred that she had approved his entire manuscript in his presence. "I read it aloud to her in front of several people and she wept and cried and declared herself overjoyed with the whole project."

A lachrymose mood was apparently common in Monroe's sessions with Hecht. Hecht divulged, "It is easy to know when she is telling the truth. The moment a true thing comes out of her mouth, her eyes shed tears. She's like her own Lie Detector (sic)." This explains Hecht's sobriquet for her, "La Belle Bumps and Tears."

Hecht told Chambrun to try to sell the 200 page story to the Ladies' Home Journal with a 50% advance. Upon receipt, he promised to obtain all the pictures he could from "Marilyn's private Marilyn art gallery."

But Collier's Magazine was more interested. On May 19 Hecht wrote to Monroe's attorney, Lloyd Wright, Jr. of Wright, Wright, Green and Wright, The Marilyn Monroe story has been sold to Colliers Magazine with proviso that its copy is subject to Marilyn's approval and editing. Hecht admitted, "I did hear from you admonishing me not to let anybody see the script until it was edited. It would be rather impossible to sell it without showing it and since you agreed on my selling it and having it published after Marilyn's editing I had it submitted under those conditions." Hecht's circulation of the manuscript before Monroe's final editing was consistent with the customary work-flow in the publishing industry, where decisions about whether to publish a book are based on manuscripts well before they are completed, revised and proofed. Clearing of permission is necessarily the last task. Implicit in Hecht's agreement with Monroe to sell it, he had to let his agent show it around.

The letter asked two questions: Would Monroe edit as she agreed to and would she agree to the book's publication by Doubleday? Hecht argued that her continued participation would elevate her into a literary figure. "The book under her name would receive serious literary attention from the entire press and magazine world. It would bring her a high and wide-spread type of publicity superior to any she has received," he persuaded.

Correspondence files pick up the thread some weeks later, when Hecht finds himself in the position of denying to columnist Louella Parsons that he wrote the new Monroe biography she called him about: My Story just serialized in London's Empire News. Suspecting Chambrun's treachery, he wired him on June 1, "I denied that such a sale had been made because I couldn't imagine it being done without my knowledge and consent."

Hecht told Chambrun to withdraw the manuscript from all magazines that had it particularly Colliers,Ethe popular magazine that published his short stories. Stop the serialization in the London paper if you can and return them the money if you have it. I want no part of it." After a recital of Chambrun's offenses he ended, "I am making all these statements because your action has put me personally into the sort of hole I have never been in before. That of breaking my word. The only redress I can imagine in the matter is to destroy the entire Monroe copy, which I ask you to do on the receipt of this telegram."

The Hecht/Monroe manuscript rose like a phoenix from the ashes of its creators. In 1974 Stein and Day paid $25,000 for a manuscript strikingly like that published in the London Empire News. Its purveyor was Monroe's photographer, confidante and business partner, Milton Greene. He claimed ownership of the manuscript content as a gift from Monroe, who, he said, wanted him to have it and "do the right thing with it," he claimed.

Enter the New York Post. Long friendly to Hecht and learning that Stein and Day was publishing the book, they called his widow Rose Hecht to confirm that she gave the publishers a release. The release, however, was verbal. Upon being presented twice with a quit claim she refused to sign. Still feisty and articulate, Rose showed reporters Hecht's copies of the manuscript in the couple's apartment in Central Park West. Her interest in going public with who wrote what began when she finished reading Stein and Day's book. Hers was not the concern of an heir to the text. Hers was the concern of a widow about her husband's reputation. Knowing exactly what Hecht wrote, she abhorred a passage appearing in the Stein and Day book in which Marilyn predicted her own death by overdose; not in Hecht's text; she did not want that deathly foreboding attributed to her late spouse. Rose's assertion that Monroe never had a complete copy is consistent with a 1954 letter Hecht wrote to her attorney about progress in sending her the typescript in batches.

When questioned by the Post, Greene denied Hecht wrote it, a denial refuted by the attorney who drew up the Greene/Monroe partnership in 1955, when they considered publishing it. When confronted with Rose's information Greene declared he thought she was dead! Publisher Sol Stein, who by then had printed the run, proclaimed the text's authenticity as Monroe's own based on the "touching simplicity" of her voice, a paradoxical compliment to Hecht's ear and pen. Then the firm's legal department contacted Rose with the threat to sue for $2,000,000 anyone who claimed the obvious: that Marilyn Monroe did not write the book herself. Rose, accustomed to taking the high road and chronically ill-served by lawyers, calculated her slim chances in the tawdry mess, and backed down.

No thanks to Chambrun, the two authors never made a dime on the book. Hecht returned his $5,000 advance to Doubleday. Monroe retreated from new talks with Doubleday on the part of the Monroe/ Greene partnership, likely because of DiMaggio's embarrassment at the text. Why didn't Hecht break with Chambrun after his apparently lucrative theft --if the Post was right, to the tune of $50,000 (BH said only 1,000 pounds in 1954). Why didn't Hecht give Chambrun the axe. He would have had the publication of other works pending through Chambrun's representation; however a poignant reason for not giving him the axe, borne out by correspondence, is Hecht's profound gratitude to Chambrun for landing publication of his chilling narrative Remember Us, about Hitler's genocide, in Reader's Digest early in the war. It wasn't until ten years after the Monroe manuscript piracy and shortly before Hecht's death in 1964 that he finally broke with his agent--- but only after setting a trap that convinced him that Chambrun had been selling other manuscripts behind his back.

The Cooper Square Press reprinted My Story in 2000, finally crediting Hecht as a contributor. Forty years after his death, Hecht has the quirky legitimacy of being a ghost materialized.

Thanks to Anthony Slide for the idea for this article and for informative clippings. Thanks also to Diana Haskell of the Newberry Library and for the Library's permission to quote. Copyright 2001 by Snickersnee Press. All rights reserved. To paraphrase or quote, cite FW Kovan, the Ben Hecht Story & News, Snickersnee Press
I really want to buy this book, and read it!
I've been looking everywhere, but I can't find the new edition.
I want to buy the newer one, so I guess I'll just keep on looking on
I finally found a copy of the French edition some days ago, I've just read a few pages but I was wondering if in the original version her real name is also written "Norma Jean" ? It got me confused, it's supposed to be Norma Jeane so why Marilyn would let it written another way ?
QUOTE(Lacrymosa @ Apr 20 2009, 04:48 PM) *
I finally found a copy of the French edition some days ago, I've just read a few pages but I was wondering if in the original version her real name is also written "Norma Jean" ? It got me confused, it's supposed to be Norma Jeane so why Marilyn would let it written another way ?

Good point - perhaps because she never actually approved it, is my guess. They should really change it now though IMO. Probably Hecht or the publisher chose a standard spelling.
JC 96816
marilynbybrandon_190.gif MM My Story...
I just finished reading the Kindle edition yesterday...
I liked it a lot -- it was like being in MM's living room listening to her tell stories...
Some of it was exaggerated of course but I liked it...I thought it ended too soon though...
I don't want to give away details because some here probably haven't read it yet.

What are the interesting details of this book besides that it is compiled from interviews???
I've also heard that MM made tapes and they were transcribed for this book --
And that no one knows where the $$$ from this book goes because there was an agreement that the contents of these interviews would not be put in book form.

I don't know what book I will get next -- I want the ones with lots of pix in them.
I love what they call 'coffee table books'...
Does anyone know who the man is she's talking about in chapter 16?
*possible spoilers*

Well i've finished the book... i'm actualy pretty positive about it. I'm only a little depressed it ended so soon i would have loved to hear her say some little more things about joe, or arthur or even Hugo their dog. Or about SLIH But i wonder why didn't she mentioned her sister bernice?

I don't know if i'm allowed to do this but if anyone is interested i have an online epub version i can send by email. Maybe a little childish but i'm not going to send it to new members who just registerd to ask for the book. If i'm not allowed to offer this here, please edit my message and delete this part smile1.gif. But i thought there might be more people who would like to read it but don't have much money at the moment (like me haha) smile1.gif
Yes, does anyone know? I was reading that too and came across that question myself.

I can post the chapter if anyone is willing to find out who he is.
Can you post an excerpt of the chapter, because I don't have the book with me right now (and I even have two versions, in English and in Finnish!)? I'd be happy to help if I can smile1.gif
Okay, I will do it tomorrow! It's pretty late right now, but it will be the first thing I do in the morning. smile1.gif
sorry for my slow reaction, but here is chapter 16
You can read the entire book on Google Books. throb.gif

I agree, definitely Fred Karger. I think she fell hard for him, but he didn't really love her back.
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