Books: Into the Valley

THE SYMBOL by Alvah Bessie. 305 pages. Random House. $5.95.

This is a novel about the late Marilyn Monroe that unctuously professes to be about someone named Wanda Oliver. The cast of characters is identical with the people in Monroe's life—only their professions are sometimes different. Where Marilyn successively married a policeman, a pro baseball player and a writer, Wanda marries a sailor, a pro football player and an artist. The dust jacket crows that Bessie, a former Hollywood screenwriter, has "in an uncanny way" entered into his heroine's mind and heart. On the contrary. In a very canny way, Bessie has...

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