MONDO MARILYN by Richard Peabody

MONDO MARILYN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Ebersole and Peabody (Mondo Barbie, 1993, etc.) continue their exploration of national icons with this collection of stories and poems. As the introduction points out, three decades after her death, there have been 17 plays, 14 TV movies, seven films, one ballet, a song or two, and even one opera about America's favorite blond bombshell. In these sometimes inventive, but sometimes ludicrous and often boring tales, the glorification of the enigmatic Norma Jean continues as the authors use her eternally elusive personality as an opportunity to make her up to suit their own means and play out their own abundant, and too frequently immature, fantasies. Marilyn is emulated, incorporated, molested, recalled, and forgotten. In Julia P. Dubner's ``Saturday Afternoon, June, Long Island, New York,'' she reads Ulysses, despite Arthur Miller's teasing. The strongest contributions are those in which Marilyn makes the most obvious appearance, as a starlet or icon: L.A. Lantz's ``Waiting to See,'' in which a 14-year-old's heretofore complacent mother, compelled by the infamously sultry rendition of ``Happy Birthday'' delivered to JFK, takes it upon herself to rid her community of all traces of the woman who will destroy the moral fiber of the country; and Gregg Shapiro's ``Marilyn, My Mother, Myself,'' in which a son, after coming out of the closet, becomes the recipient of every bit of Marilyn memorabilia his mother can dig up, from ashtrays to Franklin Mint dolls, and finds himself unable to break the news to her that he's never been a fan. In weak pieces, Clive Barker turns Marilyn into a blood-sucking alien, and Michael Hemmingson, in ``Twenty-six Marilyns or An Alphabet Soup Full of Marilyns or Marilyn X 26 = or A Vignette Collage of Marilyns or Just Too Damn Many Marilyns,'' makes her a literary critic. Other contributors include Doris Grumbach, J.G. Ballard, and Charles Bukowski. A couple of worthwhile efforts separated by many an oops.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-312-11853-8
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 1994




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