What, one might ask, does it take to distinguish one celebrity bio from another? Fame, fast-living, drugs, downfall: we're familiar with the story. It helps if the book dissects an entertainer who has fascinated popular imagination for decades and emerged as pop-myth. What, then, is necessary to recommend any Marilyn Monroe biography over another? Barbara Leaming has found an answer. While other works portray Monroe's tale with equal or greater amounts of factual information, Leaming gives the starlet something that precious few others have. She credits Monroe with engineering her meteoric rise, thereby restoring Marilyn with an agency that other biographies overlook. By rounding out her figure in all its brilliant ambition and consuming instability, Leaming adds a much-needed layer of complexity to our portrait of the icon.