As a child Norma Jeane loved going to the movies and dreamed of becoming a star like the ones she saw on the big screen and the covers of magazines. After marrying young and working in a factory, she knew she wanted more from life. With a dazzling new look and a change of name, a new star was born and she was ready to take Hollywood by storm. For a while it was hard to get work but it wouldn’t be long before everyone knew the name Marilyn Monroe…
Marilyn Monroe, one of Hollywood’s most famous, gets another turn in the limelight thanks to the fabulous Little People, Big Dreams series of biographies. Monroe has such an interesting and unique story to tell and I am thrilled that a young audience can now read about one of the most lauded stars of the 20th century.
Like many of these biographies, this journey to stardom is not without its struggles. It would be easy to think that Marilyn Monroe always had a glamorous lifestyle but before the fame and fortune was the story of a young girl who spent much of her childhood in orphanages and was raised by foster families, a result of her mother being in hospital.
Whilst many will be familiar with Marilyn’s career as an actress, there are lots of references to her other achievements that I knew little or nothing about. Not just a pretty face, Marilyn had a larger than life bubbly personality, was the first women to own a production company, fought for equal rights within the acting industry, thought nothing of heading overseas to entertain the military troops and when asked to cover up the truth about some modelling work that at the time was seen as scandalous she flat out refused and remained proud of what she had done.
For obvious reasons, the darker parts of Monroe’s life are not included but to tell a whole life story is not the purpose of these books. What they set out to do is to inspire and to encourage children to achieve their dreams. Little Norma would go from difficult childhood to factory worker to Hollywood superstar and that is the message that children should take away. Yes, life can be difficult but dreams can definitely come true as long as you have the drive to succeed, particularly when the odds are stacked against you. Monroe’s journey to fame is possibly the ultimate American rags-to-riches story.
The story is told in short and simple sentences and is delightfully illustrated with bright and bold artwork. At the back of the book there is a short overview of her life which includes key facts and dates and a historical timeline featuring photographs.
With thanks to Maria Isabel Sánchez Vegara and Frances Lincoln Children’s Books for the copy that was received through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Recommended for 5+.