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Valley of the Dolls Paperback – September 22, 1997
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Sex and drugs and shlock and more--Jacqueline Susann's addictively entertaining trash classic about three showbiz girls clawing their way to the top and hitting bottom in New York City has it all. Though it's inspired by Susann's experience as a mid-century Broadway starlet who came heartbreakingly close to making it, but did not, and despite its reputation as THE roman á clef of the go-go 1960s, the novel turned out to be weirdly predictive of 1990s post-punk, post-feminist, post "riot grrrl" culture. Jackie Susann may not be a writer for the ages, but--alas!--she's still a writer for our times.
"I couldn't believe these weren't real girls because I know them. Maddeningly sexy. I wish I had written it."Helen Gurley Brown
"Magnetic . . . [Susann]'s a natural storyteller . . . Valley is the kind of book that most of its readers cannot put down."Nora Ephron
"Jackie, it seemed, understood by instinct that her readers were ready for the raw side of love . . . for a franker sexuality and a tougher kind of story-for romance with tears and oral sex."Michael Korda, The New Yorker
"One of the steamiest novels ever written."Earl Wilson
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Top Customer Reviews
And you know what? It's intriguing. It's captivating. Set back in the 50s, you heark back to the days of glamour girls, Hollywood pictures, and dapper leading men. In each chapter, Susann fleshes out the character portraits of 3 girls who made it big, rags-to-riches style: Anne--a model, Jennifer--a starlet, and Neely--a singer. I hate to admit it, but I was entranced by their stories of sex, scandal, and downward spiral into prescription drug addiction. It's drama about drama queens. I would ordinarily dismiss this book as trashy romance genre--but like others, i can't. Why? well, Susann wrote this book as a groundbreaker--It was written almost 50 years ago but the tales are so incredibly modern you'd think Susann was writing about modern-day life. She paved the way for the tell-all expose, the behind-the-scenes scandals, the agony and ecstasy, the poor problems of the rich and famous. It was "Dynasty" before "Dynasty" was even invented. It was a shocker, and it's tragic. You're not going to find much humor in this novel at all, especially being that the "Dolls" that the book revolves around are drugs. An added benefit of reading "Valley of the Dolls" is that it transports the reader back into the yesteryear; I feel like I'm in a black-and-white movie with Garbo and Monroe--Susann's detail for creating ambience are very much appreciated.
If you think this book is flimsy beach reading--it's not. It really gave way to a whole new genre. Sure, it's no Shakespeare--but make this the one exception. Although it may be G-rated compared to today's fiction fare, Susann's subtle flair for storytelling is surprisingly solid, with twists and turns to keep you on your feet.
Fifty-years ago, Jacqueline Susann, in all of her Pucci glory, wrote the book that would change publishing for all time. VALLEY of the DOLLS introduced the world to sex, drugs and more sex. She was the original chick to write chick-lit and to publish it in bubblegum pink covers.
She was the first feminist to stand up for women’s rights and burst into the “boys club” of publishing and create a new cutting-edge way of marketing novels – book tours and television interviews. VALLEY of the DOLLS was an immediate blockbuster then and has gone on to sell more than 31-million copies world-wide in 30 languages.
It was the ’60s and VALLEY of the DOLLS dealt with so-called taboo subjects – drugs, alcoholism, gay husbands, abortion, suicide, cancer, adultery, the list went on. Readers loved reading about a world where once you turned thirty, you were old and over!
What was the book about? Dolls: barbiturates, seconal is red, nembual yellow, and amytal emerald green, capsules or tablets; washed down with vodka or swallowed straight—for Anne, Neely, and Jennifer, it doesn’t matter, as long as the pill bottle is within easy reach. Three gorgeous women become best friends when they’re young and struggling in Manhattan, climbing to the top of the entertainment industry—only to find that once on top, the only place left to go is down—into the Valley of the Dolls.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of VALLEY of the DOLLS, Grove Press has release a collector’s edition of the novel. A new film is in production!
For ALL things Valley of the Dolls, check out (...) you’ll be immersed into the land of the dolls!
Although initially billed (to great effect) as a steamy romance novel, the book is much more substantive. Each of the characters is well-developed, and each has human flaws that lead to her success or spell her undoing. Before it was fashionable, Susann used the character of Anne Welles to explore one woman's attempt to ignore the pressures to marry early and instead devote herself to a career. Susann examined the problem of the abuse of legal drugs at a time when it was seen as primarily a teenage phenomenon. Neely O'Hara is initially a sympathetic character, but has enough of the "bitter greens" (envy, jealousy and bile) which, when added to an insatiable ego and a large quantity of pills, leads to her rise and fall. And Jennifer North knows what she has and knows its advantages -- and limitations. These characters are real, and one need not be in show business to know them.
Although written in 1966 (with a story that begins in 1945), the plotline is not dated. Neither is the message: Susann asks whether having everything you ever wanted really is the key to happiness. There is a reason why this book has remained a bestseller and continues to enthrall a new generation of readers.