Please buy this book instead of one written by someone who didn't know Marilyn...
Berneice Miracle was Marilyn's half-sister. They shared the same mother, a fitfully employed lab worker at a Hollywood studio during the silent film era. When Marilyn aka Norma Jeane was seven and didn't know Berneice existed, their mother bought a house in Los Angeles, a daring move for a divorced woman at the height of the Great Depression. But Mom became mentally ill a few months later and spent the next fifty years as a revolving door mental patient and old-folks-home resident.
Berneice's father seems to have been a stable man who abandoned the liberal lifestyle of California for the Kentucky of 1926, a different planet. Whoever Marilyn's father was never claimed her as his daughter unless you count a phone call that C. Stanley Gifford supposedly made to her out-of-the-blue a year before she died. Even if Gifford was a dishonest stalker, we still know Marilyn's real father kept quiet, likely out of guilt and sensitivity.
That point brings me to Berneice. While she adds little to her half-sister's previously documented fights with Twentieth Century Fox, Arthur Miller and Patricia Newcomb, she nonetheless shares her sisterly information with sensitivity. Possibly without meaning to, Berneice demonstrates that Marilyn's amazing sensitivity, a requirement for all the artists who share her degree of fame (Billie Holiday, Georgia O'Keeffe, Elvis, Andy Kaufman, etc), ran in the family. The reader experiences Berneice's thin skin in every sentence. The reader witnesses mother Gladys' fragility overpower her, shattering her dream of becoming the new Norma Talmadge (the silent film star after whom Gladys named Norma Jeane). The silence of Marilyn's father echoes with meaning throughout this and other books.
I will close by segueing to the money issue. If you assume Berneice inherited big bucks and she hates everyone who profited from her half-sister's death, then remember the old saying about what you do when you [assume]. The abundant love in Marilyn came through when she made major provisions for Berneice in her will, but the suddenness of her death and the huge debts of her Estate blocked Berneice from getting a penny for fifteen years.
During that time Norman Mailer famously made money from a sloppy investigation into the Kennedy brothers sleeping with and killing Marilyn mixed with a pseudointellectual portrait of his beloved stranger as "the Stradivarius of sex." Mailer's attitude didn't exactly thrill Berneice, but she still wanted very much to know how her sister had died. She had no money to hire a private investigator. To this day Berneice harbors suspicions of foul play. If she, with her genetic sensitivity in the same league as Marilyn's, entertains these thoughts, then a lot more people should. Not just nerdy JFK researchers.
Please buy this book. Berneice, born in 1919 and alive as of this writing, deserves a little money and empathy. As Arthur Miller wrote in "Death Of A Salesman," "attention must be paid to such a [person]." If Berneice's grandchildren are out there reading this, please give her my love. If things sometimes stretch her or you to the breaking point, please remember the love.