The story begins as Marilyn Monroe sings Happy Birthday to President John F. Kennedy in Madison Square Garden. At the time, the Cold War is simmering, and Pop culture is about to explode. This is an historical novel of the early 1960s. Molly, age 32, living in Pittsburgh, is desolated by the deaths of her parents. Moving to Manhattan, she rediscovers joy, and purpose in life, parading around as a Marilyn Monroe doppelganger. She hopes to rekindle her friendship with Pop Artist Andy Warhol, who is the talk of the art world, and who had been her inseparable childhood friend. Growing up with Warhol in Pittsburgh, she learned the art of fantasy, as the two read movie magazines together, shared movie star glossies as children, and went to the movies every Saturday afternoon. Now, a desirous woman, Molly is determined to move from fantasy to reality. She meets Nick Boxer, a passionate lover of woman, and Ethan Saks, an anxious romantic driven for art publishing success. At first, Molly stays with Nick in his hotel room at the famed Chelsea Hotel. There she is introduced to Zachary, the desk clerk, who frightens Molly with conspiracy theories regarding President Kennedy, and Marilyn Monroe.
Marilyn’s alleged suicide hits Molly hard, as she questions what part the actress’s alleged free love affair with the Kennedy brothers, John and Robert, might have played in the movie star’s alleged decision to kill herself. She questions, if continuing to play Marilyn in her own day-to-day life, is cheap and macabre. Ethan intervenes, telling Molly she is Performance Art, and should continue in her pursuit of this art form. Molly skeptical at first, remains steadfast to live as a Monroe doppelganger. She continues to tour cabarets, coffee houses, and A list parties with her two lovers, ever mindful of her dream of free love – as Molly states, “a joyous joining of three people in love with each other, and the world around them.”
But fate has a different reality when Molly sets up her own living conditions, with two single woman as roommates. One roommate, jealous of Molly and her idealized, and spirited free love with Nick and Ethan, surreptitiously begins to poison her. In a further twist, a young man shows up calling Andy Warhol his father. Molly who is plagued with memories of her teenage pregnancy, and birth of her baby, back in Pittsburgh remains mum to the her lovers’ questions whether Andy Warhol is the father.
The story ends in a surprise, emotional bang, as Molly lay in a coma, and JFK is assassinated. Molly, Ethan & Nick sums up the conflicting emotions of the time, bringing together its idealism and its darker side. Written against a backdrop of Kennedy loves, won and lost with Monroe, Free Love, and Andy Warhol, for readers who yearn for a glimpse into the Pop culture, and loves of the time. Molly, Ethan & Nick molds fiction, historical figures, and the tone of the time for a perceptive look at American history, and directs its story at adult readers of all ages; the historical novel delivers all this, with a good dose of eroticism thrown in for good measure.
About the Author
J.G. (Jerry, Gerald, Gerry} Rothberg founded Circus Magazine, the famed rock and roll publication and had been its editor and publisher for thirty-five years. Rothberg has also published and edited MGF. Men’s Guide to Fashion and Sports Mirror magazines during this time. Visit his website for more information. www.geraldrothberg.com. He is the author of “The Esau Swindle”, “Love Song for Montana Greene”, and “Molly’,Nick & Ethan”..
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