The Many Lives of Marilyn Monroe by Sarah Churchwell Granta, $150 Sifting the literary chaff, Sarah Churchwell delivers up the grains of truth about Marilyn Monroe who has, since her death in 1962 at the age of 36, metamorphosed into myth and metaphor. Churchwell, a professor of American literature at the University of East Anglia, PhD from Princeton, set out to critique the body of biography purporting to tell the story of the screen goddess. She says she was attracted to her subject by Truman Capote's A Beautiful Child, published in his collection Music for Chameleons. 'That's my Marilyn,' Churchwell writes in the final chapter of this illuminating book. 'Humorous but prickly, witty and with a sharp tongue, she took no grief and no prisoners.' As she sorts through what has been written about Monroe, including by Joyce Carol Oates, Norman Mailer and Monroe's former husband Arthur Miller, Churchwell exposes how little of the public story is true. The rewarding result is an account of Monroe - she took her twice-married mother's maiden name - that sticks to the facts, which are fascinating enough without recourse to sensationalism.