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Valley of the Dolls

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  51,475 ratings  ·  3,585 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 women become best friends when they are young and struggling in New York City and then climb to the top of the entertainment industry-only to find that there is no place left to ...more
Bookspan large print edition, 449 pages
Published 1997 by Grove Press (first published February 1966)
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Average rating 3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  51,475 ratings  ·  3,585 reviews

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Sep 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Paul Bryant
Apr 02, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: novels
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
Felice Laverne
Wow, WHAT a read! I can definitely see why this novel has been hailed an all-time pop culture classic! I loved absolutely every minute of this book and I wish I could find more contemporary novels with the vim, wit, and insight that this book offered! This will always have a place on my shelf and will always be one of my all-time favorites! (Funny how my all-time favs this year have been classics rather than contemporaries, eh?) I highly recommend this book to all women, particularly those "comi ...more
Apr 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: modern, school
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
Joe Valdez
Apr 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-general
Some novels have baggage. Valley of the Dolls, Jacqueline Susann's 1966 bestseller, arrived like a Lear jet rolling into Aspen and unloading a cargo hold full of contraband. This rags to riches tale chronicling the show business rise and fall of three women features nightlife, penthouses, virgins, abortion, drug overdoses, a fight in the ladies' room and the search for love, all doled out in the most mundane language possible. Contrary to my expectations, I ate it up.

Unfolding over twenty years
Aug 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
May 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this back in the 70's. My teenage self thought it was so scandalous!! ...more
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

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You might know me as Nenia Campbell, but my full title is Queen of Literary Trash, Protector of Out-of-Print Gems, Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Mother of Smut, the Unrepentant, Breaker of Convention, Lady of Take Your Misogyny and F*ck It. So obviously when the Goodreads blurb for this book advertises VALLEY OF THE DOLLS as an " addictively entertaining trash classic," you know I just have to read it.

For several days, the adventure
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A compulsively addictive book! I can see how this book made a stir when it first hit the shelves back in 1966 and became an instant classic. The women, the men are all horrible humans but that’s what makes this book such a blast to read! It’s the old story of rags to riches and then it all goes pear shape. Fame and fortune does not equal happiness, the catty and the selfish nature of the industry is shown through the vile and hedonistic characters. The booze, the pills are not enough to give mea ...more
May 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book had been sitting on my shelf unread for years (around 4-5 years I believe). I bought this at a used bookstore because I had always wanted to read it. I am so glad I finally picked this book because I loved it!

This book took me on a wild adventure and I loved every second of it. It was fascinating going on a journey with the three girls. They all started off so naive and sweet and then things took a turn for them and they became so hardened.

I was most fascinated with Anne and Lyon Bur
Helene Jeppesen
Jun 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a scary story!! Encapsulated in a wonderful setting of New York in the 1900s. Anne, Jennifer & Neely felt like real people to me, and Anne has now become one of my favourite fictional characters <3 Let me write a sequel about her life after this ending!!

Now on to the movie...
May 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Eimhear (A Little Haze)
The more I think of this book the more it frustrates me.... Slashing that rating but still recommending it as a must read because that's the way my crazy brain works!

Buddy read with Anu

When reading this you have to bear in mind it's 50+ years since it was first published so my god this must have caused an absolute scandal. It's an utterly salacious exploration of fame, fortune and how to get to the top... But also how to come crashing down again. It's filled with casual drug use, casual sex, cas
Aug 25, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Mar 11, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chick-lit, abandoned
Bestselling trash. It was at one point,the most popular book in the world. According to one estimate,it has sold over thirty one million copies and made it to the Guinness book of world records. I was curious to know what made it such a runaway bestseller.

So I picked it up.It is about the lives,friendships and love affairs of a group of women in show business. Later,it is about drug use. Published in the 1960s,it may have been scandalous for its time,but seems pretty tame now.

Some clever marketi
I declare this book extremely 1000% Ridiculous & problematic.

Is this book readable? Yes if you can ignore all the shitty characters, the shitty plot, and the shitty ending. All the characters act like they’re 12 year olds on crack, they all whined and complained about everything, throwing tantrums when they don’t get what they want, the women think they can only be happy when they’re married and have a man supporting them or when they’re thin, young, and famous. The men only care for the women t
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
Despite being a classic had I before I got asked if I wanted to participate in the blog tour never read nor seen the movie version of Valley of the Dolls. But, since I'm a daring person when it comes to books did I not hesitate to read it, despite not knowing much about the book. I do not know how big a hit the book was in Sweden when it was published, but I have never really heard that much about the book, could be because I was not born when it was published. So, it was interesting to read a b ...more
Jeanette (GR isn't sending comment notifications)
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.
May 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book may be bleak, but it’s so over the top and entertaining. If you are hoping for character development and happy endings though, look elsewhere. It’s a rough ride, but in my opinion a fun one. It’s like a mesmerizing train wreck.

We follow 3 women from the mid 1940s-60s.
The biggest focus is on Anne, but the other two POVs are Neely and Jennifer. They are all in the entertainment industry, trying to succeed while being oppressed by the men who run it, and are good friends (at least for t
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
Sonja Arlow
Starting this book was like going to the opening of a new nightclub.

Everything is glitzy and glamorous, everyone is happy and smiling, there is a VERY attractive barman helping you to the most delicious drinks all night. Your new red stilettos get loads of complements and you dance the night away with energy to spare.

Finishing this book was like seeing this same nightclub the next morning.

The air is stale and smells slightly of vomit, the tables are sticky with spilled drinks, the carpet is ful
Jun 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
The soft numbness began to slither through her body. Oh, God! How had she ever lived without these gorgeous red dolls!

This is probably the 5th time I've read this novel, the first being sometime in the late 90s ...and I've enjoyed it every single time. Jacqueline Susann was so far ahead of her time, it's almost laughable. Written in the 60s, and published for the first time in 1966, so much of this book is still relevant, and holds true, today. I guess very little ever changes in the
It's going to be really difficult for me to rate this, because I can't deny that I enjoyed it. It was, by definition, craptastic, or as my good friend Em likes to say, trashtastic. I mention Em because I did this buddy read with her, and that made it all the more an enjoyable experience. She's as much a masochist as I am, and we find the same things ironically funny, so all in all, it was fun. Read her review, because her analysis is better than mine, as is her sense of humour.

That said, in fair
Jan 11, 2008 rated it did not like it
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
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fabulous! For some reason I thought this book was set in the 70s, rather than the 50s and 60s. Divas, drug abuse, affairs and bitch slapping, wigs flushed down loos. Neely, wow, what a piece of work! This book is set in the last glory days of the big Broadway and Hollywood stars and their demise with the advent of Hollywood. I felt really sorry for Jennifer and more so for Anne and sad that she got bitten by the bug in the end as well. What a story! My friend Jay tells me this is a lightly disgu ...more
Jan 07, 2008 rated it did not like it
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
Re-read 10.08.2020
No change in rating. Come on now!

The ultimate trashy beach read. The chick-lit novel that comes with balls. Every main character is unpleasant to some degree, even the prim and proper Anne who wanted to get out of a small town, but doesn't realize how much of that social convention she carries with her. Her naivety contrasts with Jennifer's vanity and thirst for love, Helen's two-faced bitchiness, and Neely's self-destructiveness and growing aspiration to become famous. Pills a
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult
Oh, Geez. I don't even know what to say about this one. It was like watching an extra juicy episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians. It doesn't give you a lot of reasons to like it... and yet you can't look away. The melodrama was real.

Also, I wanna give a quick FU to all the Lyon Burkes out there in real life.
Reading Valley of the Dolls is akin to eating a pint of your favorite ice cream, in that it's wonderful and delicious down to the last bit, but it can come with a bit of a hangover if you start to think about what you just did.

This is the story of Anne, Neely, and Jennifer, and their struggles to survive as women - women who want love, careers, a comfortable standard of living, etc., mostly in New York, but also in LA, and primarily in the stage and film businesses. It's gossipy, brutal, and fun
Michelle Curie
Sep 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, romance
Hollywood is run by men. And men are cruel. It doesn't help when things like the wish to please and to be loved come into play for women like the three that this book is about. This was an unexpectedly burdensome read that I didn't expect to affect me as much as it did.

Valley of the Dolls centers around the friendship of three young women: The romantic Anne, the talented Neely and the beautiful Jennifer. All three of them come to New York in the 40s in order to make it and over the course of tw
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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

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