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“Blonde”: What You Should Know About The Book The Netflix Movie Is Based On

The film "Blonde" is inspired by a homonymous book by one of the most important American writers. Find out what you need to know about this work in which Joyce Carol Oates reconstructs the life of Marilyn Monroe .

Frame from the movie 'Blonde'

Photo: YT-Netflix

LatinAmerican Post | Joshua Radesca

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Leer en español: “Blonde”: lo que debe saber sobre el libro en que se basa la película de Netflix

Marilyn Monroe is one of the most iconic actresses in Hollywood history. A model of beauty and sensuality, whose trail extends through time as an icon of pop culture. There are numerous books that, from various angles, have been dedicated to the life of this star. Among all of them, one that stands out is the biographical novel “Blonde”, published in 2000 by the renowned American writer Joyce Carol Oates.

"Blonde" is a book that for more than two decades has aroused interest and admiration in critics and readers for its theme and literary quality. An example of the scope of this text is the great expectation generated by the film adaptation of this work, carried out by Netflix. The film was directed by Andrew Dominik (“Killing Them Softly”) and starred Ana de Armas (“Knives Out”). The film is now available on the streaming platform.

In this article we will tell you everything you need to know about "Blonde", the book that inspired the film of the same name, which is shaping up to be one of the most important films of 2022.

The Marilyn Monroe Story Told by Joyce Carol Oates

Joyce Carol Oates is one of the most significant voices in modern American literature. Born on June 16, 1938, in New York, her literary career began in 1964 when she published her first novel at the age of 26. To date, she has written more than 50 books, published under her name, and another ten under pseudonyms. She is a regular candidate for the Nobel Prize in literature and has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize five times, one of them with the novel “Blonde”, one of her fundamental works.

In this book, the writer introduces us to Norma Jeane, a girl who has always had a difficult life. Her father abandoned her and her mother was also absent due to psychiatric problems. She had to spend her childhood between orphanages and foster homes, from which she left when she married an older man at the age of 16. All this had a decisive impact on the young woman. Over time, this girl would transform into Marilyn Monroe and plot a path to success, in which, with talent and sensuality, she would make Hollywood and the world fall in love, but in which misfortunes would be present. 

The duality between Norma Jeane and Marilyn Monroe is an important axis in Carol Oates' narrative. The book is a monumental and addictive work of more than 700 pages, which accounts for the exhaustive research work that the American writer plunged into in order to shape and narrate Monroe's life. However, the author has indicated that this novel should not be considered a rigorous biography, since she takes numerous creative licenses when expressing her approach to this Hollywood icon.

One of the reasons that led Carol Oates to write about Marilyn Monroe is her interest in common characters who manage to chart a path to fame. “My fascination is how they come from the dark, very poor and in some cases broken families. Then they get up, ” explained the writer in an interview.

Monroe's childhood, her family, fateful love relationships, her career, drug problems, are some of the topics that the American writer touches on in "Blonde." The author seeks to give a glimpse of the most intimate side of Monroe. After beauty and sensuality (two aspects to which many have limited the figure of the actress), Joyce Carol Oates draws a woman rich in nuances, complex and contradictory.

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The Long-awaited Adaptation of “Blonde”

“Blonde”, the Netflix film, is the second adaptation of the book by Joyce Carol Oates. The first was in 2001, in serial format. This new version is one whose creators gestated for more than ten years. The film had its world premiere on September 8 at the Venice Film Festival, where it received numerous positive reviews. The film lasts almost three hours. Some of the most praised aspects of “Blonde” are the visual construction of the film and the interpretive work of Ana de Armas.

In short, after its premiere, everything seems to indicate that “Blonde” is a film with a remarkable artistic bill, which does justice to both the work on which it is inspired and the figure of Marilyn Monroe.