Marilyn's Daughter by John Rechy

"For me, Marilyn Monroe is a masterpiece of artifice elevated to art. Her creator was an unwanted young woman named Norma Jeane Baker. Norma Jeane moved from home to foster home, unhappy, unwanted. A superb artist, she created Marilyn Monroe, step by step, all contradictions, lies, variations. Even her origin is in ambiguity--where, from whom, when?...Does art justify a painful life? I don't know. But art does remain, and pain finally dies...."
John Rechy
Spring 1995

Marilyn's Daughter by John Rechy


Did Marilyn Monroe have a daughter? If so, is it possible that Robert Kennedy was her father?

This is the story of Normalyn, who at the age of 18, discovers a letter asserting her real mother is the great movie star. Enid, the woman Normalyn assumed to be her mother and who raised her in Texas, is now dead.

To unearth the truth, Normalyn travels to Los Angeles, leaving behind--for now--Ted Gonzales, the "gypsy-cowboy,' whose love for her is marred by a shared memory of violence. In "the city of lost angels," amid increasing intimations of danger, Normalyn moves deep into the maze of untold Hollywood history. Through the memories of others, she recreates the secret lives of Marilyn Monroe and Enid.

She encounters David Lange, a prize-winning writer obsessed with the legend of Marilyn Monroe; the deadly Mildred Meadows, who once ruled Hollywood--and Washington--with her gossip column; Troja, the fabulous nightclub entertainer, herself a star of sorts; Kirk, Troja's lover, an ex-Mr. America, who lived in the fringes of Hollywood; Dr. and Mrs. Crouch, once hired by the movie studios any lie and conceal any truth, no matter what the cost in destroyed lives; and Miss Bertha, a gentle old recluse, who may have been the confident of great stars.

When Normalyn becomes the target of a bizarre teenage cult group dedicated to restoring "glamour" to Hollywood by dredging up scandals, her journey narrows. Now there is only one person, an elusive witness, who can answer her question: "Am I really Marilyn's Daughter?"

This startling modern epic by one of our finest novelists brings to fictional life the beautiful, tragic figure of Marilyn Monroe and two other mythical presences crucial to the mystery of Normalyn's birth, John and Robert Kennedy. A suspenseful story, a romance, a unique literary creation that explores the origins of legends and their power over truth, this novel introduces in Normalyn Morgan, one of the most memorable heroines in modern American fiction. 

"A grand slam. This is a massive, magnetic story by a major American novelist writing at the peak of his powers."
--San Francisco Chronicle

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