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My Sister Marilyn: A Memoir of Marilyn Monroe Paperback – December 29, 2012


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The Francis Miracle by John L. Allen
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse (December 29, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1475968086
  • ISBN-13: 978-1475968088
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #603,086 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

One can hardly blame the cynical reader for eying a new biography of Marilyn Monroe and thinking, "Right, I'm sure there are some things we don't know about her." In fact, this biography, written by Monroe's half-sister, Berniece Baker Miracle, and Miracle's daughter, isn't really a biography of Marilyn Monroe at all. No, it's a biography of Norma Jeane Baker, and there turns out to be plenty we don't know about her. Berniece and Norma Jeane were half-sisters, born seven years apart to their mother, Gladys, who eventually would be diagnosed as schizophrenic. At her father's insistence, Berniece lived with him from age four; Gladys' mental breakdown necessitated Norma Jeane's stay with several foster families. The girls did not learn of each other until Berniece was 19 and Norma Jeane 12. But once each did discover the existence of the other, they stayed in close contact--both before and after Norma Jeane became MM--writing letters (many of which are reproduced here), visiting, and just being family. Without disclosing a lot of dirty laundry, this is a deeply intimate book, one that makes Monroe come alive more fully than the earlier tell-alls that focused on her acting career. Both through her own letters, and in her sister's reminiscences, Monroe emerges not merely as a troubled star but as a woman concerned throughout her life with family, a warm and vulnerable woman eager to maintain a relationship with those who care about her. To be illustrated with photographs from the Miracles' personal collection. Ilene Cooper --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Berniece Miracle was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Kentucky. She has worked in manufacturing, costume design, real estate development, and accounting. Mona earned Masters degrees in English and Library Science. She studied acting with Lee Strasberg. Read about her newest projects at MonaRaeMiracle.com

Customer Reviews

Any real Marilyn fan should read this book.
Donald R McGovern
This is very much the biography of Norma Jean Baker as she came to be known by her sister.
saliero
It is an enjoyable read although it's a sad story.
Loves the View

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Andrea Egger, author of Grave Accusations on February 4, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is a very enjoyable book. I'm so glad Berniece Miracle finally came out with the book with help from daughter Mona. The photos are wonderful, as you watch the transition from Norma Jeane to Marilyn, get to see her wedding photo to Jim Dougherty and hear words of Joe DiMaggio and learn some of the insides of Hollywood as Marilyn shared them with her sister.
Sadly, the book also describes how Berniece was hounded by the press and had a hard time leading a "normal" life. No privacy. I was hoping the book would give more insight into Marilyn's death, but Berniece and Mona are as much in the dark as anyone. Interesting is the denial of any relationship with President John F. Kennedy or brother Bobby. That seems to be a given in most books about Marilyn. However, if you read between the lines here, Marilyn doesn't deny a relationship, she just smiles when Berniece asks and says "they're just boys." There could be a lot Marilyn doesn't share with her sister!
But what comes shining through in this book is how loving and lovable Marilyn was, and how much she was loved by her sister. The idea of a mentally ill mother explains a lot of things, like Marilyn's obvious depression. The sisters not even knowing about each other until Marilyn was 12 and Berniece 19 is sad, but at least they had each other through the rest of Marilyn's life.
This is a lovely book, beautifully written, tragic as it must have been. It shows Marilyn as more of the earthy woman her family knew, which is a refreshing perspective from other Marilyn Monroe biographies!
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By NyAnn on February 21, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Please buy this book instead of one written by someone who didn't know Marilyn...
Berneice Miracle was Marilyn's half-sister. They shared the same mother, a fitfully employed lab worker at a Hollywood studio during the silent film era. When Marilyn aka Norma Jeane was seven and didn't know Berneice existed, their mother bought a house in Los Angeles, a daring move for a divorced woman at the height of the Great Depression. But Mom became mentally ill a few months later and spent the next fifty years as a revolving door mental patient and old-folks-home resident.
Berneice's father seems to have been a stable man who abandoned the liberal lifestyle of California for the Kentucky of 1926, a different planet. Whoever Marilyn's father was never claimed her as his daughter unless you count a phone call that C. Stanley Gifford supposedly made to her out-of-the-blue a year before she died. Even if Gifford was a dishonest stalker, we still know Marilyn's real father kept quiet, likely out of guilt and sensitivity.
That point brings me to Berneice. While she adds little to her half-sister's previously documented fights with Twentieth Century Fox, Arthur Miller and Patricia Newcomb, she nonetheless shares her sisterly information with sensitivity. Possibly without meaning to, Berneice demonstrates that Marilyn's amazing sensitivity, a requirement for all the artists who share her degree of fame (Billie Holiday, Georgia O'Keeffe, Elvis, Andy Kaufman, etc), ran in the family. The reader experiences Berneice's thin skin in every sentence. The reader witnesses mother Gladys' fragility overpower her, shattering her dream of becoming the new Norma Talmadge (the silent film star after whom Gladys named Norma Jeane).
Read more ›
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Loves the View VINE VOICE on December 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
The picture on the cover is worth a thousand words. The two women could be fraternal twins. They look strikingly modern despite their 1950's bikinis and hair dos. Your eye goes right to Marilyn. Her head is up. She is striving to be taller, as she actually is, on a less than level beach. Marilyn looks up and right at you through the camera. Bernice tilts her head slightly down, shyly looking slightly off camera. Both are fresh and young. They appear open and naïve and represent the energy, innocence and can-do attitude of post-war America.

It took a long time for Bernice to emerge from the shadows and tell her sister's story. The Miracle family never made a secondary career or hobby off Marilyn's fame. It is true to form that Bernice chose her daughter to write this and not a highly stylized ghost writer. This seems to be the Miracle's first and only foray into that world.

Reading between the lines of this and other sources, you can see how Marilyn loved Bernice as her only living and reachable kin. Bernice has so successfully dodged the spotlight that in searching the internet, I could find no hint of whether she is still living or not. I did find Mona Rae, who seems to be enjoying her life as a school librarian.

There are no great revelations here, maybe there were in 1994 when it was written. Some of the family photos are great - I love the grandmother's hat! This is a simple telling of the Marilyn story from her sister and niece who loved her very deeply. It is an enjoyable read although it's a sad story.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By saliero on November 9, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I recommend this book to anyone vaguely interested in Marilyn Monroe, not merely the die-hard fan. I do not fall into that category, , but am aware of her enduring presence as an icon. This book lived up to its intriguing promise of providing ANOTHER viewpoint about Marilyn – other than the myriad biographies which have been about Marilyn by ‘outsiders’ and those enriching themselves on the proceeds.
This is very much the biography of Norma Jean Baker as she came to be known by her sister.
The picture of ‘private Marilyn’ depicted here does an enormous amount to restore Marilyn’s humanity, her connection with her family and peers, the person behind the impenetrable Goddess Icon that she has become in the decades since her death. This is the uncommodified, unexploited Marilyn, a person who loved and was loved. It’s a great corrective to the hagiographic or shallow tendencies of most Marilyn-abilia and I thoroughly recommend it.
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My Sister Marilyn: A Memoir of Marilyn Monroe
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