Thursday, April 19, 2012

My Week with Marilyn by Colin Clark


Imagine sneaking away to spend seven days with the most famous woman in the world…
In 1956, fresh from Oxford University, twenty-three-year-old Colin Clark began work as a lowly assistant on the set of The Prince and the Showgirl, the film that united Sir Laurence Olivier with Marilyn Monroe. The blonde bombshell and the legendary actor were ill suited from the start. Monroe, on honeymoon with her new husband, the celebrated playwright Arthur Miller, was insecure, often late, and heavily medicated on pills. Olivier, obsessively punctual, had no patience for Monroe and the production became chaotic. Clark recorded it all in two unforgettable diaries—the first a charming fly-on-the- wall account of life as a gofer on the set; the other a heartfelt, intimate, and astonishing remembrance of the week Clark spent escorting Monroe around England, earning the trust and affection of one of the most desirable women in the world. Published together here for the first time, the books are the basis for the upcoming major motion picture My Week with Marilyn starring Michelle Williams, Judi Dench, and Kenneth Branagh.
England was abuzz when Monroe arrived to shoot The Prince and the Showgirl. She hoped working with the legendary Olivier would give her acting further credibility, while he hoped the film would give his career a boost at the box office and some Hollywood glamour. But Monroe, feeling abandoned when Miller left the country for Paris, became difficult on the set. Clark was perceptive in his assessment of what seemed to be going wrong in Monroe’s life: too many hangers-on, intense insecurity, and too many pills. Olivier, meanwhile, was impatient and condescending toward her. At a certain point, feeling isolated and overwhelmed, Monroe turned her attention to Clark, who gave her comfort and solace. Before long, she escaped the set and a remarkable true adventure took place. Monroe and Clark spent an innocent week together in the English countryside and Clark became her confidant and ally. And, like any man would be expected to, he fell a bit in love. Clark understood how best to handle Monroe and became Olivier’s only hope of getting the film finished. Before long, young Colin was in over his head, and his heart may well have been broken by the world’s biggest movie star.
A beguiling memoir that reads like a fable, My Week with Marilyn is above all a love letter to one of our most enduring icons.

My thoughts:
I listened to this on audio from a library download.  I was worried that I listened to it in the wrong order as it started with Colin's week with Marilyn, had an epilogue and a letter he wrote to a friend, and then started back way before Marilyn arrived with how he managed to secure his job on the movie set to begin with.  I enjoyed the beginning portion of the book about Marilyn and Colin's friendship with her.  The story lost something for me when it backtracked to his regular journal about his day to day things and used initials for Marilyn (MM), Sir Lawrence Olivier (SLO) and so forth.  It felt like I was listening to text messages.

In my opinion the book would have been better if it had stuck to the one week and skipped the rest of the journal.  I honestly started fast forwarding to see if something interesting was going to happen and it never really did.  Colin dated a woman from wardrobe, Colin lived in a room in a friend of his parents home, Colin had a nice visit with Vivian Leigh.  It was just a bit too ordinary and dry to make a good read.  I doubt someone, even myself, would want to go back and read six months worth of old journal entries.  The one dealing with Marilyn were a glimpse into the details of someone famous and they were friends who spent time together, so they had meaning and a lot more details than the ones about finding a house to rent and getting up early to be at work.

So, I enjoyed the first part and allowed myself the luxury of skipping some of the mundane details.  I think this would be an interesting movie to see at some point.

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781602861497
  • Publisher: Weinstein Publishing
  • Publication date: 10/4/2011
  • Pages: 336


  1. Hmmmm... thanks for the review... I was curious about this one too. Too bad it doesnt deliver.

  2. I know you mentioned seein a movie, but is this the book the movie was based off of.

  3. This is the book the movie is based off of, I am thinking that they skipped the part or a lot of the part leading up to Marilyn actually being there for filming. I still want to see the move, although I am having a hard time convincing my husband that we should rent it!