Title: Marilyn’s Red Diary by E.Z. Friedel
Publisher: Sand Shack Publishing
Genre: Fiction, Historical (60s)
Length: 316 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publicist
Marilyn’s Red Diary is shocking, funny, scandalous and sad but always brutally honest. Marilyn Monroe is caught between intellectual giants – her award-winning playwright husband Arthur Miller and her dashing politician boyfriend Jack. Then along comes Jack’s fiery brother Bobby. The world’s dream girl relates her intimate adventures with many of the era’s who’s who. Marilyn’s Red Diary is a touching portrait of a hard-working, extremely bright woman, trapped in her own sensuality and, tragically, born far ahead of her time.
In Marilyn’s Red Diary, author E.Z. Friedel blends fact, fiction, rumor and speculation into a riveting fictionalized account of the last two years of Marilyn Monroe’s life. Presented as Marilyn Monroe’s diary, this fascinating and heartbreaking story provides incredible insight into the iconic actress’s various relationships with Jack and Bobby Kennedy, Frank Sinatra and mobster Sam Giancana. It also details her longstanding drug use and offers a credible theory about her cause of death.
The first few diary entries are a little rough, rambling and disjointed which is most likely intentional. The purpose of the diary is to help Marilyn get to know herself as she undergoes treatment with her psychiatrist Ralph Greenson. In the beginning, she is clearly uncomfortable examining her relationships and her behavior, but over time, she recognizes the therapeutic benefits from journaling and the entries begin to make more sense.
Through Marilyn’s eyes, readers are privy to her thoughts about her acting career, her marriages to Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller and their subsequent divorces, her numerous miscarriages and abortions, her affairs with Jack and Bobby and her various friendships. Some of the accounts of her sexual exploits are quite graphic and she is rather blasé about using her sexuality at various times throughout her career.
Marilyn’s accounts of her relationships with the Kennedys and their involvement with the mob are very intriguing. Her relationship with John (Jack) Kennedy is longstanding and continues after he becomes President. Marilyn goes into detailed descriptions of how Jack deliberately sought assistance from the mob to secure enough votes to win the election and how this association continued well after his inauguration.
By all accounts, Marilyn was in love with Jack and he with her, but when she eventually becomes a liability, Jack introduces her to his brother Bobby. Once again, Marilyn embarks on a secret relationship with a married man fully believing his promise to divorce his wife and marry her. This relationship is just as doomed as the one with Jack, and Marilyn is devastated when Bobby ends their romance.
To say Marilyn’s relationship with Frank Sinatra is complicated would be a vast understatement. Their friendship is often volatile and varies between friends and lovers. He supplies her with drugs and his “well meaning” disclosures of Jack’s infidelities infuriate her and sometimes send her into depression. One of her last visits with him is quite horrifying, humiliating and demoralizing and clearly marks the beginning of the end of Marilyn’s involvement with the Kennedys.
Purely speculative, Marilyn’s Red Diary by E.Z. Friedel is an entertaining and captivating story that gives a haunting look into the troubled life of Marilyn Monroe. Impossible to put down, this poignant novel reveals the vulnerable woman whose fame could not erase the desperate longing for love and family that lead her down a self-destructive path that ultimately lead to her death.
About the Author
After a long career as an orthopedic surgeon, E.Z. Friedel has written a novel about his lifelong obsession: the life and death of the late, great mega-movie star and American sex symbol, Marilyn Monroe. Years of research and biographical sleuthing have paid off. Marilyn’s Red Diary — deliciously voyeuristic and eminently plausible — is a fictionalized account of Marilyn Monroe’s final two years, and a medical mystery that puzzles out the truth of how she died.
Friedel’s first book, The Cutting Room, was based on his medical experiences in Spanish Harlem. Published by Bantam, it sold out its first printing of 50,000 and was optioned three times to NBC. A 1968 graduate of SUNY Upstate Medical University, and a 1961 graduate of Valley Stream Central High School, Long Island, N.Y., Friedel currently lives in Atlantic Beach, N.Y. with his wife and two dogs.