• by Joyce Carol Oates
  • Narrated by Jayne Atkinson
  • 8 hrs and 24 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

She was an all-American girl who became a legend of unparalleled stature. She inspired the adoration of millions, and her life has beguiled generations of fans and fellow artists. The story of Norma Jeane Baker, better known by her studio name, Marilyn Monroe, has been dissected for more than three decades, but never has it been captured in a narrative as breathtaking and transforming as Blonde.In her most ambitious work to date, Joyce Carol Oates, one of America's most distinguished writers, reimagines the inner, poetic, and spiritual life of Norma Jeane Baker, the child, the woman, the fated celebrity, and tells the story in Norma Jeane's own voice: startling, rich, and shattering.Drawing on biographical and historical sources, Joyce Carol Oates evokes the distinct consciousness of the woman and the unsparing reflection of the myth, writing as she has never written before, ecstatic, completely absorbed, inhabited as if by the spirit of her extraordinary subject. Rich with psychological insight and disturbing irony, this mesmerizing narrative illumines Norma Jeane's lonely childhood, wrenching adolescence, and the creation of Marilyn Monroe. With fresh insights into the heart of a celebrity culture hypnotized by its own myths, Blonde is a sweeping novel about the elusive magic of a woman, the lasting legacy of a star, and the heartbreak behind the creation of the most evocative icon of the 20th century.


What the Critics Say

"Atkinson narrates Oates's fictional biography of Marilyn Monroe in an intense, slightly husky voice that immediately grabs and holds the listener's attention." (Publishers Weekly)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


What would have made Blonde better?

If I could have listened to the entire darned thing, instead of quitting 1/10 of the way through to read the REAL book. The narration was fantastic, and this is an incredible work of literature. WHY it had to be ruined...I have no idea.

What did you like best about this story?

I loved everything about it...too bad I was missing a HUGE part of the point.

Which scene was your favorite?

The one that I read afterwards when I had to RE READ THE BOOK to get the whole story. Possibly the one with Norma in the car, since THAT WAS COMPLETELY LEFT OUT AND CHANGED THE MEANING OF EVERYTHING.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

I absolutely adore this book. It's just too bad that it has been decided for us that we aren't intelligent or patient or deep enough to listen to the entire thing. JCO, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING????

Any additional comments?

I am so disappointed. I'd love a refund since I had to stop listening and buy the book anyway, once I realized all that I was missing out on.

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- C. Boatenreiter "Crystalline888"

Why not "unabridged"

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

I hate when publishers only support a summary of the book or an "abridged" version. It's offensive to people with reading disorders who will not receive the full benefit of the book.

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- Tia

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-30-2004
  • Publisher: HarperAudio