Book Review: Valley of the Dolls

Anne, Neely, and Jennifer are three bright eyed young women in New York City with the world at their fingertips. They each knew they needed something bigger and shinier than their humble beginnings and – against all odds – they all manage to find stardom. At first the girls lean on each other, but as they climb to the top of the entertainment industry they all learn to lean on their dolls. Some dolls are red, some are yellow, and some are green. The girls all think they can’t function without them, but eventually it is the dolls that take it all away.

When I first began reading the classic novel I thought it was maybe a cheesy depiction of the decades it portrayed. But upon realizing author Jacqueline Susanne lived very much in the thick of the entertainment world that she wrote about, I understood this was more real than I wanted to think. The women featured in the novel are remarkably similar to actresses we all know, and I’m guessing that’s because Susanne knew firsthand of the crazy pill-popping she writes about.

“Valley of the Dolls” shocked the world at the time with its frank talk of sex and look behind the curtain at the entertainment industry. Yet it didn’t feel dated, probably because we’ve seen the fates of Anne, Neely, and Jennifer play out again and again, from Elvis, Marilyn, and Judy Garland to Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears. I think that’s the definition of a classic.