BOOK REVIEW BY DAVID MARSHALL
If Iím going to give an honest review,
I have to tell you right up front that Douglas Kirklandís book, ìAn Evening
With Marilynî is a SMALL book. 127 pages. About 30 pages of text. And the
print is BIG. So if you are looking to find an in-depth coverage of Kirklandís
Monroe experience, you might find yourself wishing there were more. But I doubt
that. Seriously doubt that.
The fact is you can sit down just
after lunch, pick the book up and by the time youíre ready for your pre-dinner
cocktail, youíve finished the book. And thatís if you are a very slow
reader. But for at least 20 of those 30 pages of text, you will feel something
weird going on with your face. Thatís when you realize that you have been
sitting there quietly smiling for the last half hour. And I tell you, any book
that can make me sit with a big old grin and not even realize it-- thatís
worth the $16.95.
Douglas Kirklandís one time only
session with Marilyn has always been one of my absolute favorites. At least five
of the photos he snapped that lucky day have gone on to be quickly recognizable
classics-- the pillow squeeze; the diagonal stretch across those wonderful white
sheets; the coy raising of the sheet while her head is pillowed on the sheets
that nearly match the color of her hairÖ What is it that makes this one
session so superior to so many others? It is the sheer joy that comes across in
Marilynís expressions. It always seemed that just about everything went
absolutely right that one evening when the accomplished model/actress met up
with the oh-so-young neophyte photographer. What was it that made this one day
THE day that everything these two did worked so well? What I wanted was an
accounting of just what went on when Monroe sat for Kirkland-- and now in this
small book, is the whole story.
Marilyn Monroe was a woman of
mercurial mood changes, especially in her later years. A sunny face and smile
could be instantly replaced with either the full heat of anger or the sallow
depths of depression. And Kirkland sees both. The incredibly upbeat Monroe who
he happened to capture on film and then the
decidedly different Marilyn who met with him later to go over the proofs.
Which was the ìrealî Marilyn? The answer would be both-- and more-- just
like every human being. That Kirkland is able to present both and show us the
short ìinsideî glances he had of this phenomenal woman, is yet another
quality the book has that makes it money well spent. To be able to read about
the young photographerís nervousness, the anticipation, the shoot itself, to
read not only his surprise at meeting yet ìanotherî Marilyn when he goes
over the proofs with her as well as his reaction upon learning of her death--
this is the stuff I yearn for when it comes to a Monroe book.
And really, regardless if a book is 130
or 350 pages long, if it gets to the core of the Monroe legend, provides enough
information that I feel like I was actually there, AND gives you some incredible
photos to boot-- whatís not to like?
Every once in a while I can say ìFind
it, get it, buy itî without any hesitation. Douglas Kirklandís ìAn Evening
With Marilynî is one of the few. Iím still grinning.