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50th Anniversary Blog Tour: Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann

Valley of the Dolls took the world by storm when it was first published, fifty years ago. Never had a book been so frank about sex, drugs and show business. It is often sited as the bestselling novel of all time.

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 in New York, struggling to make their names in the entertainment industry. Only when they reach the peak of their careers do they find there's nowhere left to go but down - to the Valley of the Dolls.

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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 book that so many people seem to like and that seemed to have been an inspiration source for other female writers.
 
And, the book turned out to be quite good, in the kind of depressing way when you read something that you know will not end on a happy note. And, I was right. Anne, Neely, and Jennifer, they all reach success in their own way, but that doesn't mean that their life will be happy and unhappiness in love, addiction to pills and illness mark their lives. I would say that this book written 50 years ago and taking place over 20 years from the middle of the 40s could just as well has been written today. Not, much has changed in the world and the struggle to get to the top is still a dangerous climb. I mean how many celebrities have not died because of drugs in the last couple of years? 
 
Of all the characters in the book was it Neely that I had the most problems with. Right from the start did I feel that she was annoying and towards the end of the book I really hated her. I really mean that I almost had a throw the book away moment because of her. I get angry just thinking about her while writing the review. Jennifer, I feel sorry for, she is so beautiful, but her mother controlled her life and not even her beauty could make her really happy, or rather her beauty would be the end for her since that was all people saw. And then we have Anne, who only wanted real love, and in the end, she got love, but at a cost. 
 
It's a very tragic book and I do not know if it's a book I would like to read again, but and I'm glad I read the book. Valley of the Dolls is well-written and interesting and it feels timeless.

Thanks to Virago for providing me with a free copy for an honest review!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jacqueline Susann is a legend in American publishing. Susann was the first author to have three consecutive #1 books on the New York Times Bestseller List. She was married to her beloved husband, producer Irving Mansfield, until her untimely death on September 21, 1974, after a courageously fought battle with breast cancer. Susann's intensely private twelve-year fight to overcome the disease was not known publicly until after death. She was 56...
 
 
Praise for Valley of the Dolls
 
“Valley of the Dolls is truly a timeless classic . . .Today Neely O’Hara would become a YouTube sensation, Jennifer North would be an Instagram influencer, and Anne Welles would be a Snapchat queen. No matter how high-toned people want to be, there’s nothing more addictive than a juicy, scandal-filled, drama-laced soap opera!”—Mickey Boardman, Paper Mag

“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,New Yorker

“Racing against time for fame, Susann knew how to give readers what they wanted: a shockingly contemporary page-turner that went deep into the stuff of taboo, but still adhered to old scripts of women suffering virtuously in their undying love of men.”—Tim Murphy, Nation

“I marvel as always at the raw energy, the detail, and the grim authenticity of the book’s depiction of New York show biz society in 1945 . . . I grew up as a writer believing that this kind of bestseller was ‘trash’ . . . But I have learned from Jackie Susann. I have always respected her power.”—Anne Rice

“Susann predicted the celebrity culture we live in now. Actually, she invented it: fame is as fame does.”—Letty Pogrebin

“If Jacqueline Susann was not precisely the ‘voice of the 60s,’ then she was its aching female heart.”—Amy Fine Collins, Vanity Fair

“Decades ahead of its time . . . Mesmerizing . . . The equation of emotional dependencies with drug addiction in one comprehensive personality disorder is, if anything, more chic today than in Susann’s time.”—Mim Udovitch, Village Voice Literary Supplement

“Jacqueline Susann’s questioning of glamour and fame, so unsettling in its honesty, crept into my head and stayed there, lingering for years until I was finally able to give it my own expression.”—Lori Goldstein

“Exciting news for all you modern Dolls (#squadgoals) and aspiring millennial readers . . . the story feels more relevant than ever.”—Micaela English, Town & Country

“Valley of the Dolls remains a pop-culture touchstone: a gleefully salacious story of friendship, sex, backstabbing and pills (or ‘dolls’).”—Alexandria Symonds, T: The New York Times Style Magazine

“Valley of the Dolls is a zipper-ripper that has been called trashy, tawdry, glitzy, lusty, sordid and seamy—and that’s just the beginning of its appeal.”—Nancy Bachrach, NPR

“One of the sexiest novels ever written.”—Earl Wilson

“A generation that knows ‘Sex and the City,’ and which connects to Lena Dunham’s ‘Girls,’ may not instantly connect the dots to Susann, who did it all first, and in Pucci. A culture that cavalierly tosses off the term ‘chick lit’ doesn’t fully realize how fast Susann was out of the gate so many decades ago in the way she gave frank talk to women.”—Shinan Govani, Globe and Mail (Toronto)

“Jackie played a role in merging publishing with the entertainment industry and turning it into really big business.”—Esther Margolis

“As an adolescent I ‘borrowed’ a copy from my mother’s bedside basket of books without telling her. The Pepto Bismol–pink cover was irresistible to me, and the novel rewarded my curiosity . . . a salacious read I’ve revisited several times in adulthood.”—Laura June, The Cut, New York Magazine

“Susann’s lurid descriptions of three pill-popping young women struggling with fame and beauty—based off her own life—were vivid and relevant enough to a generation of women
clamoring for stories about themselves.”—Kate Dries, Jezebel
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