Let me explain.
In Joe and Marilyn: A Memory of Love (1986), author Roger Kahn, who wrote the iconic best seller Boys of Summer, is obsessed about baseball and the heroes it produced, notably Joe DiMaggio. The way he described the New York Yankee Hall of Famer, I probably would have been too if I had grown up in that era.
Kahn gleefully recreates the legend for the reader and doesn’t hold back about his fascination with DiMaggio, both good and bad.
That’s the problem.
This book, penned more than twenty-five years ago, focused more on DiMaggio than its title would have suggested. I purposely selected this book because I had a vested interest in learning more about the movie star and the slugger’s nine-month long marriage.
In researching for my next story–the integration of Florida’s spring training –I was hoping to uncover additional information about Marilyn Monroe’s infamous visit to the city of St. Petersburg in January 1961. What made it a headline story was that her ex-husband of seven years accompanied her.
Surprisingly, there wasn’t a single mention of this visit. In fact, the details of the marriage were not discussed in full until the book’s final chapter!
Aside from a handful of anecdotes injected into the 270-page book, I was disappointed that Kahn spent so much time on DiMaggio’s baseball career and very little on Joe and Marilyn. Does the reader really need to hear a game-by-game analysis of DiMaggio’s historic 1941 season? Or, his performance in the 1936 World Series? This and so many other of Kahn’s baseball-related tales were simply not germane to the thesis.
Although the author had done his homework in retelling Marilyn’s life and the inner emptiness she suffered from throughout her youth and years as an actress and eventually, an international icon, this book was really about the Yankee Clipper.
It’s unfortunate too, given that there is no shortage of biographies on either figure, but not one solely devoted to their rocky, but unforgettable relationship.Powered by Sidelines