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Valley of the Dolls

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3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  25,427 ratings  ·  1,911 reviews
Dolls - red or black, 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. These three beautiful women become best friends when they are young and idealistic and struggling at the bottom of the ladder of the entertainment industry.

By the time they reach the top, t
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Paperback, 467 pages
Published November 24th 2003 by Time Warner Books UK (first published 1966)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jessica
Dec 03, 2013 Jessica rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lindsay lohan, britney spears, et al
If you haven't read this book, I suggest you quit dicking around on the internet and do absolutely whatever it takes to snag yourself a copy this instant. Granted it's probably not for everyone, but I gotta tell you, this is seriously among THE MOST VASTLY ENTERTAINING books I have ever read in my life.

Imagine you are lying in a silk-sheeted waterbed next to a vast swimming pool, smoking a ridiculously long cigarette, wearing an Italian bikini and extremely large, expensive hat, and you've just
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Paul
I bought a copy for 10p at the Oxfam shop. I returned to my space age bachelor pad, switched on my lava lamp, reclined on my La-Z-Boy (late 1970s Magic Fingers model), mixed a bright puce cocktail made out of three parts flamingos and ten parts vermouth with amusing parasols stuffed in the tall tall glass, then I threw on that cd where some genius put modern beats to Gregorian chants, and with my ultramarine-dyed and topiaried poodle named Gregoire gazing raptly up at me I read up to page 100 an ...more
sayDIE
i remember the first time i read valley of the dolls. i picked it up, instantly hated it, and then read it nonstop for a series of days. i hated that neelie was such a bitch, and that anne could be so haughty. and that other chick.. yeah, you know the one. the porn one who went to spain or whatever. anyway. in the entire course of the book i found myself loving the girls, hating them, feeling mortified when they made a scene in public, and ultimately, hurting with them when they fell from their ...more
Kaion
Or How To Write An American Classic

This is going to sound crazy, but hear me out: The Valley of the Dolls is totally like The Great Gatsby.

One is a culturally-important, best-selling, drug-fueled, homoerotic classic with several unfortunate movie adaptations; the other is well, a culturally-important, best-selling, drug-fueled, homoerotic classic with this gem in it:

"Give me back my hair, you little bitch," Helen yelled. "It cost me three hundred bucks!"... "Hey--what the hell are you doing?" H
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Gregsamsa
The dude who checks books out to me at my library gave an arched eyebrow and a curled lip at me when I checked this masterpiece out. I promptly flipped the book over with a satisfying *whomp* and pointed out: "Uh, it's put out by Grove Press, ever heard of them?!"

Sheesh, the philistines I have to deal with daily! Just makes ya need somethin' to relax with: say, a handful of benzodiazepines, a mug of ice cream and The Captain, the latest issue of The Baffler, and some Esquivel on the Hi-Fi.

Ahh, t
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Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Zzzzzzzzzz.....Valley of the Dulls is more like it.

One hundred pages was all I could stand of endless cheesy dialogue between a bunch of sleazy people with no personalities. Watch the movie instead. At least it's bad enough to be entertaining.
Megan
I read this in high school... goodness knows why. I didn't particularly enjoy it, though it does keep moving along and kind of holds you in town hoping that eventually things will go right for the characters or that they will have some insight into their lives and take a little responsibility or face up and change eventually... but it never happens. This has got to be one of the most depressing books I've ever read. Unfortunately I can't even really say it presents women in a bad light or unfair ...more
Mitch
Aug 25, 2008 Mitch rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like the bad movie adaptation
This book is BAD! Which is why I love it so much. Susann had no idea how to write a book.

Susann's shallowness and immaturity (you get the impression a 14-year-old wrote this) is rampant throughout the book. No one has real feelings. People get married as business contracts. All men cheat; women never do. Blonds are icy and cold. Brunettes are smart and nurturing, and only women with glossy blue-black hair are sexy and passionate (Susann's hair was black).

Her pacing in the book is just wacky. O
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Robin
Jan 07, 2008 Robin rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: insomniacs, masochists, glamour pusses
Back cover proclaimed that it was brilliant. Was in fact rubbish. Lyon Burke is basically a cardboard cutout, yet apparently everyone's in love with him. What. The narrative is bad enough to be bad, but not bad enough to be funny. You spend pretty much the first half of the book wondering when something actually interesting is going to happen, and then when it does, you've lost any and all interest in the people that things are happening to. The only character I liked was Helen. On and on and on ...more
Kareena
DON'T MISTAKE IT FOR SOME STEREOTYPICAL CHICK-LIT,TRASHY BOOK.

Don't,its definitely more than that.At first,your "intellectual" brain might scoff at such a book because obviously you have read Joyce,Dostoyevsky and whatnot.You might say stuff like "Oh!Please I don't have time for such a shallow book." or "I'm too smart to read such a book" and yada-yada.

But seriously,this book is really really entertaining.After you start this book,you might find yourself reading this book at every available oppo
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Sally
What an amazing book - I couldn't put it down. I had always envisaged this as old-school chick lit (and had avoided it until Virago released their delightful 30th Anniversary covers and I had to buy it for that) but it really isn't - it is a scathing attack on how women are used and abused by the entertainment media and spat right back out again while men are revered and protected. It is certainly bleak but the way the book is written with such clinical passion (yes I know - an oxymoron but apt) ...more
Briynne
Well. I have conflicting opinions about this book. First, and most obviously, this was almost entirely meant to be a mental vacation after the insanity of planning and executing a wedding in 6 months. In that capacity, "The Valley of the Dolls" shone brilliantly. I was highly entertained by the book and the easy trashiness was somehow comforting, as it always is.

But I couldn't help actually reading the book whilst I was busy regaining balance in my chi or whatever. It's an irritating habit of m
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Alina
Enter endless debauchery! I can see why people put up such a stink about Valley Of The Dolls when it was published. The book makes me happy to not have fame.

As an example of roman à clef, friends close to the author suspected that Susann wrote this book based her own experience, Ethel Merman, Judy Garland, Carol Landis, JFK, Monroe, Dean Martin etc. You couldn't make this stuff up if you tried. If you look up the real biographies, there are many parallels to the book.

Hollywood was and still see
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Jessica
I've read this book at least three times. I must have read it at a very impressionable age (the first time), because it has burned itself in my memory. I love it; and every other time I've read it, it's been a guilty pleasure for me - just like reading US Weekly or InTouch magazine. Its a wondrous piece of thinly veiled fiction, chronicling the glamorous lives of three up-and-coming New York/Hollywood ladies. "Sparkle, Neely! Sparkle!" Jacqueline Susann is my heroine.

Elle!
Oct 18, 2012 Elle! rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Light readers not looking for any value.
Recommended to Elle! by: Friend
A trashy treasure of a chick lit novel.

I'm so guilty..... For three things.

1. I liked how melodramatic this horrible written novel was.
2. I could feel my brain cells dwindling as I read it.
3. I stayed up for nights reading this book.


Errrr.........I'm very embarrassed but I'll give this a five, for enjoying it 100% percent , all the way to the sleazy cliche oversexed men to the dull cliche girls. I like it! Not for the literary stand -point of the novel because we all know there isn't any in thi
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Nicole
****Spoilers****


I loved Valley of the Dolls. This book is in my top ten of saddest stories of all time. This book is sad and honest, which makes it even worse. This book deals with addiction, the pressures of being a woman and maintaining a certain look, pills to make you look that way, fame and the pressures that come with it and of course, sexuality.

The character of Neely O'Hara was my favorite in the beginning. A young, vibrant girl who had talent, came from nothing and wanted to make it big.
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Amanda
Goodness, this is a DEPRESSING book. Just... gah.

But it's great. I mean, the writing is sharp and easy to read, but not overly simplistic. It did bother me that there were so many slurs-- I spent half the thing cringing-- but I guess it's authentic for the time period and the way the characters would have spoken. I feel like this is more complex than a lot of novels, because it really does go into the inner lives of the three leads, and they really are all shades of grey-- with Jennifer probably
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Casey
If I'm going to rate this book by quality of writing, I'd have to give it 2 stars. This book is full of the kind of pedestrian writing that you see in books like Trading Up, which I read for about 100 pages in high school before I get fed up with the writing and passed it on to someone with more plebeian tastes. Seriously guys, it's real bad.

However, the trashiness of the plot made this book so fun to read despite the bad writing and campiness, which means I'd rate it 4 stars based on pure enjoy
...more
Lena
I first became interested in this classic piece of scandalous literary trash after learning that its author, in her zeal to promote this book, was responsible for the creation of the modern book tour.

I wasn't entirely certain what to expect, but was surprised to find it was actually a pretty decent read. It tells the story of Anne Welles, a reserved New England woman whose primary act of independent thought in the post WWII years is to reject an assumed marriage and expected life in a small town
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Kate
So, I finally got around to reading this one (I got it out of the library) and I must admit the book was slightly better than the movie (which I also borrowed from the library). However, when I found this poem based on the movie, I thought it pretty much summed up all my thoughts on both the book and the movie. Plus, I don't think I could of said it better myself:

“Things to Do in Valley of the Dolls (The Movie)” by David Trinidad

Move to New York.
Lose your virginity.
Become a star.
Send money to
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Alison
Feb 29, 2008 Alison rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Alison by: probably my Mom
Shelves: lady-lit
Those who know me will recognize the startling similarities between my life and one of the main characters - she's a small town girl who moves to NYC without knowing anyone here. She lands the first job she interviews for and even stays at the same women's hotel I stayed at when I first moved here. But then the book and my life take a drastic split when she becomes a famous hairspray model and pill popper and I work in advertising and only take prescription medicine prescribed by my doctor.
Joanna
Oct 27, 2012 Joanna rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who think Dorothy Parker needs more glitz
Recommended to Joanna by: Audrey
Shelves: 1960s-1970s, amurika
This book is like cotton candy covered in glitter, fabulous and unappetizing. The women are so attractive, and the men are so rich, and every single one of them is a miserable bastard. But damn me if their descent into misery isn't the most entertaining thing ever. I would read parts out to my boyfriend and he would be like, "Haha, seriously... what just happened? Did that just happen?" This book is like, the most scathing critique of sexism that has absolutely no idea that it is a scathing crit ...more
Sita
With a book tagged "A cult favourite" it seems you either love them or hate them and I belonged to the latter camp. It started like a fairy tale and I thought it would be like thos chick-lit books, hilarious and uplifting. But instead...

Why are all these people so idiotic? Jennifer has an ambitious mom and come from a poor background so no wonder she's a material girl. Neely doesn't have anyone wise guiding her, so she turned into an egoistical b*tch and I really really want to give her behind a
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Lorena
It's depressing which is great but also kind of awful. It's feminist in the way that it makes you depressed about women's' lives. The clinical brutality needed to 'make it', the social and economic necessity of marriage and the above all the deep futile hopelessness of love was... Really good. I guess there's a point to it but I didn't really like how much negative stuff about being fat there is. Although it is about celebrity life so I guess it makes sense. It's like a cynical reverse romance n ...more
♥ Marlene♥
This book is one I have read many a times. When I discovered this author and that must have been 20 years ago if not longer, I loved her books. They are books about the rich and famous, about drugs and sex which as a teen is very appealing and interesting to read about.

She only wrote 3 books or so did she not? I have read all 3 more than once and I am definitely not ashamed of lovng her books.
They are great books to escape life with which is sometimes a great pleasure. Might re read again. :)
Becky
I can't' remember how many years ago I actually read this book for the first time, I may have been a teenager( I was obsessed with Sharon Tate after she was murdered) & then I read it again as a younger adult….Reading it now in 2014 & looking at the dates from when the story started & continued, some things just stay the same….Each character was so well developed….Anne stayed my favorite throughout the book & Jennifer-oh man…..I have to watch the movie now, it has been many years ...more
Rebekah
Having just finished Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann I really just want to cry. No character ends with a positive note. They get their dream and then find out it is sour and poison.
Set in the 50's through the 70's the women fight their situation fight for the right to have love, and finally find that the fight leaves them emotionally destroyed in a male dominated world. Arguing that women need emotional fulfillment more than a man and playing on the double cross that young women are ac
...more
Dierdra Byrd
I have of course heard about this book for years but never picked it up. Not because I was worried that it would be "trashy" or something I would not be interested in just because I simply never got around to it.
The Kindle version of this book is so horrible and made it very hard to read so if you pick this up do not read it on your kindle! The letters are all over the page , the type set is hard to read and the some words are just missing it looks like they just faded out of the page. To charge
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Laura Williams
I will call this book mindless fun even though it ended up being pretty depressing. I'm torn between this book being ridiculously anti-feminist (full of women who define themselves by the love of a man and are so pretty they always get what they want) or this book being a cautionary tale about the dangers of showbiz, drugs and poor judgement. However, I'm pretty sure it's a realistic child of the time: the 1960's. I at least had hope for Anne since she seemed to always keep it together, but even ...more
Lainy
LOVED IT! Introducing Anne and her humble beginnings and the blossoming friendship between herself and the starlets Neely and Jennifer. The story goes off pretty much in each chapter in depths into each character and their lives to present. We start off with fairly ordinary girls, each trying to get what they want out of life and their trials and experiences getting there.

Then introducing the dolls and how they play a part in each characters life.

I initially liked Anne, Neely and Jennifer but as
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Jacqueline Susann was one of the most successful writers in the history of American publishing. Her first novel, Valley of the Dolls, published in 1966, is one of the best-selling books of all time. When The Love Machine was published in 1969, it too became an immediate #1 bestseller and held that position for five months. When Once is Not Enough was published in 1973, it also moved to the top of ...more
More about Jacqueline Susann...
Once Is Not Enough The Love Machine Yargo Every Night, Josephine! Dolores

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“I've got a library copy of Gone with the Wind, a quart of milk and all these cookies. Wow! What an orgy!” 937 likes
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