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'Marilyn's Last Sessions' by Michel Schneider
Olivier Barrot tells us more about "Marilyn's Last Sessions" by Michel Schneider.
Bear in mind: this book is but a novel. It's not an investigation, enquiry, essay or interpretation. A pure novel, full stop. The author, a high-ranking civil servant, musician, novelist and psychoanalyst, knows exactly what Marilyn Monroe's tragic story is about. On his first page, he writes: "Locations are accurate, dates verified, and quotations from accounts, notes, letters, articles, conversations, books and films are the protagonists' own. But it is a work of fiction. The forger in me hasn't hesitated to impute to one person what another has said, seen or experienced. In telling this loveless love story between Marilyn and her last analyst Ralph Greenson, my aim was to observe a couple in the act of being themselves".
You have to admit the author's audacity: it is not easy for a Frenchman, even if he were Yves Montand, to get into Marilyn's troubled mind. You must be prepared and able to conjure up a whole mental landscape, make it stand and sound acceptable for the average reader who knows nothing of the subject. Which is exactly what Michel Schneider has tried to do and achieved. The story begins in January 1960, when Dr Ralph Greenson was summoned by Marilyn Monroe for the first time, and ends on August 6, 1962, Marilyn Monroe's last day on earth. In between are imagined conversations between the two and would-be taped memories by the physician.
Marilyn Monroe's lifetime stretches across those beautifully written, sensitive and plausible pages, from the star's first years of abuse to her innumerable failed affairs, including one with Dr Greenson himself, who was one of those who actually provided her with a measure of tenderness and understanding. Once, Marilyn, who was a constant reader, also wrote a poem for him: "I left my home of green rough wood, A blue velvet couch. I dream till now, A shiny dark bush, just left of the door. Don't cry my doll, don't cry, I hold you and rock you to sleep, Hush, hush, I'm pretending now, I'm not your mother who died".
"Marilyn's Last Sessions" is certainly not the most accurate book ever written about her. But my feeling is that it's the closest to Marilyn Monroe's intimate self.
"Marilyn's Last Sessions"