Christopher Hitchens

Girlish and Glutinous

The Joan Kennedy Story

By Marcia Chellis

Sidgwick and Jackson 240pp £8.95 order from our bookshop

Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe

By Anthony Summers

Gollancz 432pp £12.95 order from our bookshop

According to Amy Greene, who was Marilyn Monroe’s bosom chum in the mid-Fifties, poor little Norma Jean did give her ‘the impression she slept her way to her start’. Using what Anthony Summers describes as ‘an obvious allusion’, Amy remembers Marilyn saying, ‘I spent a great deal of time on my knees.’ It took me some time to puzzle out this cryptic remark, but when I had done so I realized that there are two crucial points of similarity between Joan Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe. Both spent a lot of time grovelling, and both were screwed up by members of the Kennedy clan. Other similarities, such as their shared fondness for the bottle, are mere aspects and consequences of these twin essentials.

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