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=== What is the book about? ===
This book centres around a time, in 1956, when Colin Clark (A Third Executive Producer on The Prince, the Showgirl & me) accompanied Marilyn Monroe for a week when she was having problems during her third marriage to Arthur Miller. This is a true account of the events that occurred that week and this book has been a remarkably highly recommended book thanks to recommendations from Jilly Cooper, Joan Collins and numerous other authors and celebrities.
This story centres around Colin Clark and his experiences when spending time with Marilyn Monroe. Colin Clark was working for Sir Laurence Olivier and was supposed to be his gopher, however, Marilyn Monroe soon came along and swayed this 24 year old man in to becoming almost like her servant for a week and before he knew what was happening he was in quite deep and starting to develop feelings for her.
Colin Clark learnt about problems that Marilyn Monroe was having in her life and because he was kind hearted he wanted to do something for her, become her knight in shining armour almost, and this was a feeling that was to allow him to get a real look at who Marilyn was rather than the huge star that everyone perceived her to be.
=== Where can this be purchased & for how much? ===
This can be purchased from numerous book stockists and I purchased mine from Amazon.co.uk, in paperback form, for around £5.30.
=== Overall opinion ===
As I knew that we would be going to see 'My Week With Marilyn' at the cinema soon I decided to purchase this book around 8 weeks ago so I would be a little more clued up on the events of the film, however, I do not feel that you would need to read this to understand the film at all. The film was absolutely fantastic but that is a review for another day!
What I liked about this book, probably the most, was that Colin did not appear to be exaggerating his claims and it made me feel like everything that he was saying was really believable. The words seemed to flow so naturally and I really could feel like a memory was being recalled rather than a story being told and this made the book gripping for me, almost difficult to put down.
I felt like once I had finished reading this book that I had learnt a great deal about Marilyn that I would probably never have known otherwise. Many different sides to Marilyn are spoken of in this book, her pretty, her elegance, her grace, her love, her passion and the darker side to her also, her medication she was taking, and much more, and her drinking, but this is dealt with in a sensitive manner.
There is so much in this book yet it is just over 150 pages. The size of this book means that it is quite short for the money I paid BUT that does not mean that the book felt unfinished. I felt like there was so much told in such a short space of time yet it was laid out in a beautiful way. There is love, wonderment, amazement and beauty that just shines from these pages and so much stuck in my mind about Marilyn. I felt like this book had a real difference compared to the usual 'true' stories that I have read on occasion.
I felt like I learned so much about Marilyn and this book was portrayed beautifully in the film that I saw just this week at the cinema.
If you are a fan of Marilyn or even just someone looking to learn some more about her then I would firmly recommend this.
Colin Clark is brother of famous MP Alan Clark. In the summer of 1956, aged 23 he worked as gofer on "The Prince and the Showgirl" starring Marlin Monroe. This was Marlins first film in England. Colin arranged for Marlin and her entourage to stay in a lovely house in tiny village of Englefield Green.
Monroe was the most famous actress in the world. Colin writes about the nine days he spent with her. He writes about the friendship that grew between Clark and Monroe, it is a very personal account of him writing about the very personal things about Monroe her fears, insecurity and happiness. The emotional side of Monroe is rarely covered in other books.
The book recounts those nine days in great deal. When I was reading it I thought I was there watching everything happening in front of me.
This August Marilyn will be dead for 45 years. My Week with Marilyn is a very interesting thing. Clark is besotted by Marilyn, this is clearly in evidence. This book is a fascinating read.
I have recently been rebuilding my Marilyn Monroe collection and have bought several books, so that I now have around thirty on her. Most are the standard biographies, full of facts we all know already and rumours we dont believe. But this book is something different.
My Week With Marilyn is a memoir of Colin Clark, Alan Clarks brother. Colin was third assistant director on the 1956 film The Prince and the Showgirl, starring Marilyn Monroe and Laurence Olivier. He got the job mainly through being a family friend of the Oliviers and was expected to be loyal to Sir Larry on the film set. However, that was without factoring the allure of Miss Marilyn Monroe.
The movie was shot in London with a mainly British cast (including such stalwarts as Richard Wattis and Sybil Thorndike) and crew. Marilyn had come to London with her own little entourage her new husband Arthur Miller, her drama coach Paula Strasberg and photographer Milton Greene amongst them. Milton and Marilyn had recently set up a production company together, so Milton was there to protect his business interests as much as anything.
It soon became apparent to Colin Clark that Marilyn was having many problems at this time. He deduced that a lot of these problems could be attributed to the amount of people who wanted Marilyn to do things their way. Everyone wanted a piece of the Monroe pie.
Marilyn and Arthur were staying in Parkside House for the duration of the film. Colin had been instrumental in organizing their stay in this lovely place and their staff there. So as soon as there was a problem, Colin was called over to the help. After an initial unexpected encounter with Marilyn, she begins talking to him and even confiding in him. Over the following week, they have an interesting time and Colin recounts this in the book.
He previously wrote The Prince, the Showgirl and Me, which details his work on the film over a longer period of time. My Week With Marilyn concentrates solely on the period of September 11th to the 19th, 1956, which was not written about in the first book.
Unlike other authors who may claim to have slept with Marilyn or even married her, Colin Clark does not come across as exaggerating his contact with the film star. He didnt have sex with her and certainly has never claimed to have married her.
Clarks account of his time spent with Marilyn is a beautiful tribute. He does not paint Marilyn as perfect; he is as honest about her faults as he is about her wonderful qualities. This means that the Marilyn Monroe portrayed in this book is a three-dimensional woman, not simply a pin up or a blonde bombshell; not only a troubled woman, but much more.
He describes her childishness, her ambitions to be a truly great actress, her dreams of being a good wife and mother. He explains how she invokes in him an urge to protect and save her as so many people have mentioned over the years but how, ultimately, he is unable to help as much as he would like.
He writes with tenderness and affection, with empathy and understanding and in this way, I believe the Marilyn that comes out of these pages to be a realistic and genuine one. The book is short only 156 pages but it brings out the real Marilyn so much better than those generic 600-page photo biographies that get churned out every year.
If, like me, you are cynical that someone remembers events so well, some forty-five years after they happened, he explains this in the introduction. Colin kept journals throughout the filming and also wrote a long letter to a friend, describing the events of this particular week.
I really enjoyed this book. It was easy to get into and I finished it in a couple of days, devouring the last third in one sitting. It really is a frank view of the movie industry of the time and reveals not only a fascinating portrayal of Marilyn, but also of the others present in and around the film. Arthur Miller, Milton Greene, Paula Strasberg, Richard Wattis, Vivien Leigh and especially Laurence Olivier all come across as real people with their own agendas. I certainly know much more about them now, than before reading the book.
Colin has a lovely way of writing. Everything is described as much as it needs to be, in order for the reader to get the feel of the event. But there is no pointless waffle or endless poetic descriptions which can make a book boring for me. This one held my interest all the way through.
I would definitely recommend this book and not only for Marilyn fans either. The only disadvantage is actually finding the book. The hardback edition was published in 2000, with the paperback version (which I have) coming out the following year. Amazon only has copies available from their marketplace, though very cheap. I got my copy from Ebay, where it was sold along with another Marilyn book for a bargain price of £1.99. The cover price is £6.99.
Its rare for me to read a biography on Marilyn Monroe and feel Ive glimpsed the real Marilyn, but I have done so twice this year. Besides My Week With Marilyn by Colin Clark, I also read an excellent book called Inside Marilyn Monroe by John Gilmore, which I would also recommend for anyone who wants to see underneath the blonde hair and sexy pout of an icon.
Later this year, British author Michelle Morgan releases her take on Marilyn and this also looks to be in depth and revealing the true person behind the image. Marilyn Monroe Private and Undisclosed is due out in September.
Hopefully this will signal a new direction for the written word, so we can finally appreciate Marilyn for her talents, her personality and her charm, instead of merely a pretty accessory to admire on a poster.
In 1956, fresh from Eton and Oxford, the 23-year-old Colin Clark (younger son of Lord Clark of Civilisation, younger brother of notorious maverick Tory MP and diarist Alan) worked as a humble gofer on the set of The Prince and the Showgirl, the film that united Sir Laurence Olivier (directing) with Marilyn Monroe, on honeymoon with her new husband, the playwright Arthur Miller. Nearly 40 years on, his diary account, was chosen as a book of the year, but one week was missing, and this is the story of that week: an idyll in which he escorted a Monroe desperate to get away from the pressures of working with Olivier and all the people with a vested interest in her. Her new husband Arthur Miller had gone to Paris, and the coast was clear for Colin to introduce her to some of the pleasures of British life.