‘My Week with Marilyn’ Book Review

When I first saw the preview for the movie, “My Week with Marilyn”, I was immediately hooked. As a huge Marilyn Monroe fan, I knew I just had to see it.

Then I discovered it was taken from a book, as most amazing movies are. At least in my opinion they are. Then I knew I had to read the book and the book became much more important to me than the movie. I am writing this having just finished the book and still have not seen the movie. I do have the movie sitting on my dresser, right next to me, but I am the kind of woman that believes books are so much better, and I must read them before even beginning to watch the movie.

Now with that being said, “My Week with Marilyn” is a book showcasing Colin Clark’s story of his week with Marilyn, which he titled, “My Week with Marilyn”. In its other incarnations, including his own personal diary entries, it was titled, “The Prince and the Showgirl.” Those were written while he worked as a 3rd Assistant Director on the film, starring Marilyn Monroe and Sir Laurence Oliver. This was the first time both forms had been put together as a book; they had both previously been released separately.

I was very excited to start this book; I couldn’t even begin to imagine what it would hold in it, – I mean, imagine actually getting to spend a week with Marilyn Monroe! This book had to be good! The first part of the book, which is “My Week with Marilyn,” is extremely intriguing.

You get to see everyone who was a part of that movie and what their role is. You see from Colin’s point of view what his take is on people, including everyone in Marilyn’s party, which includes herself. At this point in time she was married to playwright Arthur Miller. This book did not portray Arthur as a very kind fellow, more of an egotistical self-centered jerk.

Colin felt sorry for Marilyn in most of the book; he stated numerous times that the people surrounding her were so terrible for her. I completely agree with him, and I believe they were a great contribution to her demise.

The Strasbergs, Milton Greene, and Hedda were the people that were her team. Lee and Paula Strasberg were her acting coaches on this film although Paula was the only one present; Lee was always contacted by phone when big problems arose. Milton Greene was her partner in Marilyn Monroe Productions and the man who got her out of her wretched contract with 20th Century Fox; he was in charge of getting her to the studio each day, which proved to be a great burden considering she was always late. Hedda was a secretary and really no help at all, considering she was drunk most of the time.

Colin worked for Sir Laurence Oliver but somehow got twisted up into Marilyn’s life. He said she was just so hypnotizing no one could stay away from her. He feared for her well-being during the filming, because Milton’s way of helping her cope was to continuously feed her pills she did not need.

In the end, the film turned out to be torture for everyone.

I really enjoyed reading the first half of this book, the way he told his story of his week with her was wonderful, even though I do believe it was only a few days that they interacted and not a full week. However, once I got halfway through the diary entries, I lost a lot of interest. It seemed he was writing the same thing over and over again. Marilyn was late and seemed confused, Sir Laurence Oliver was getting more and more upset and didn’t know what to do about it. That was the general idea of every diary entry. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy a lot of the diary entries but it was hard to read through all of them, with the same repetition it had.

It also doesn’t tell you much about Marilyn that you probably don’t already know, so if you are looking for a story of her life, this isn’t it, this is a story of the filming of “The Prince and the Showgirl.”

Overall, I think it is a wonderful book and a wonderful insight into the filming of “The Prince and the Showgirl,” which was intriguing. It is a nice piece to read and have, if you are a Marilyn fan, I must say.

I give it four stars.

My Week with Marilyn

Colin Clark

Weinstein Books

De Capo Press