Laala Alghata's Reviews > Valley of the Dolls

Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann
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Aug 29, 2011

“I’ve learned something — guys will leave you, your looks will go, your kids will grow up and everything you thought was great will go sour. All you can really count on is yourself and your talent,” Jacqueline Susann, Valley of the Dolls

As much as I love books and reading, I think books that shake you to your core don’t come by very often. I’m also of the opinion that they’re more likely to happen to you in your youth. A lot of my favourites, things that truly shook me, were read when I was a girl. Little Women, Jane Eyre, An Old-Fashioned Girl, Harry Potter, Stay As Sweet As You Are, A Little Princess. I don’t know how to properly describe that feeling, that sense of floating and feeling both terribly apart from your body and yet acutely hearing and feeling the hammering of your heart and the tangle of your thoughts. And the slight lift of euphoria, that someone not only felt this, but wrote this, and you hold it in your hand. That a book can induce this.

I have had a lot of favourites over the years. A lot of books I love to press into people’s hands. I’ve also read simply well-written books, or thought-provoking ones. I’m not really talking about those. I’m talking about books that you love almost senselessly. Books that, if I stood objectively, I may find flaws in quite easily. Books that aren’t perfect and yet, they are.

I also think a lot of it has to do with your mood, how you’re feeling at that point in your life, how focused you are when you read. It takes a lot of little circumstances, and sometimes they come together and they kick up this heartache, produced by a bunch of people who never existed.

That was Valley of the Dolls for me. The book itself is quite good. The thing that made it hit me in the gut was that it was about three women over a period of about twenty years. I’ve been on quite a feminist kick, in the sense that I want to read about strong, able women who don’t have to compromise in order to get what they want. I think that’s one of the things that saddens and angers me the most sometimes — I feel like women have to compromise all the time, and men don’t (and if they do, it is most certainly not to the same extent). My views on feminism and the state of women in the world deserves a post of its own, though.

The book can be easily summarized in this slightly spoliery sentence: Three women, twenty years, plenty of trials and tribulation and no happy outcomes. It broke my heart. The thing that really touched me was that it wasn’t hugely dramatized or ridiculous. It felt very much like life. I felt and got angry at the characters as I would at friends, even those I didn’t sympathise with.

I have been meaning to read this for about four years, and I bought it three years ago, and it had just been sitting on my shelf. I am so glad I finally read it, but I’m also glad I waited till now. Sometimes books find you at the right time.
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message 1: by Chloe (new)

Chloe Alright, alright, it's on my to read list!

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