Review: Beauty Mark by Carole Boston Weatherford

Beauty Mark: A Verse Novel of Marilyn Monroe
Beauty Mark: A Verse Novel of Marilyn Monroe
by Carole Boston Weatherford

Thank you Candlewick Press for this advances reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

No one knows

how it feels

inside my troubled mind.

No one wants to.

Beauty Mark

I’m the kind of person who goes down Wikipedia rabbit holes when searching up actors and writers. It’s amazing the surprising connections you’ll find and the new knowledge you gain.

I love reading other people’s biographies which was why when Candlewick press offered Beauty Mark as an ARC, I couldn’t resist! Although this book is geared towards teens, I think it’s also fitting for YA and adults. It’s a short read, and so worth the time.

Beauty Mark is a fictionalized biography of Marilyn Monroe, from her tumultuous childhood to her path to stardom. The book is written in verse, taking on Monroe’s inner voice and thoughts.

Prior to reading the book, I didn’t know much about Monroe and have never watched any of her movies. I’ve seen a few iconic pictures of her, but my knowledge of the 1950s bombshell was limited.

However, that didn’t stop me from picking up the book and finishing it in one sitting.

Growing up as Norma Jeane, Monroe was transported from foster home to foster home, and never had a stable family life. But she was a natural beauty, and after having a photo taken of her while at a factory, she was catapulted onto the road to Hollywood.

From dying her hair to blonde to changing her name, Marilyn’s time in Hollywood wasn’t through rose-tainted windows. Battling anxiety and spiraling into drug addiction, she struggled with accepting what the industry wanted her to be and what she wanted for herself.

While reading the book, I found myself googling images of the naive Norma Jeane, her love interests and marriages, and the other strong actresses who co-starred among her (from the androgynous Marlene Dietrich to the femme-fatale Barbara Stanwyck). I was immersed in the 1950s era, wanting more. As I watched Marilyn Monroe’s acting for the first time, I was drawn in by her airy performance and her ease with acting as the gullible dumb blonde, but also aware of the turmoil that had plagued her.

Beauty Mark is a book that I didn’t realize I needed. It’s such a poignant retelling of the star’s life, in a lens that the public often fails to see. Marilyn’s narrative is so heartbreaking and moving, and it beckons you to see her in a different light.

Rating: 4.5/5

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