Valley of the Dolls is the first novel by American writer Jacqueline Susann. Published in , the book was the biggest selling novel of its year. To date, it has. Valley of the Dolls book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. Dolls: red or black; capsules or tablets; washed down with v. The first thing you notice, rereading Valley of the Dolls is how badly it in that interim phase as a reader where you consume books like air, not.

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    The Valley Of The Dolls Book

    Jacqueline Susann's novel Valley Of The Dolls is seen as a trashy, kitsch entertainment about pills, sex and ambition. It's all of that, says. “Valley of the Dolls is one of the great books of the postwar era. There's a punchy, masculine, brazen quality to [Susann's] writing that I identify with as a reader. Valley of the Dolls [Jacqueline Susann] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Vintage paperback.

    New York was steaming—an angry concrete animal caught unawares in an unseasonable hot spell. She thought New York was the most exciting city in the world. Even with no experience. All the good secretaries are away in those big-paying defense jobs. His secretary just married John Walsh. They handle all kinds of big clients.

    Jennifer then leaves for Europe, finding a career breakout in European arthouse films, which due to her nudity are considered softcore pornography in the United States. Years later, in , Neely has become an established, celebrated actress enjoying a lucrative film career and twin sons with her second husband, who she had been having the affair with.

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    However, long workdays and the stress over her husband's infidelity with both men and women also keep her dependent on the "dolls," and she is becoming increasingly unpopular with the studio due to her primadonna antics, tantrums and walkouts running her films over budget. Neely's second husband leaves after she discovers his affair with a younger actress, and her studio head threatens to end her career if she walks out of another take, citing her new status as box office poison.

    A stressed Neely accidentally overdoses on the "dolls," but makes a full recovery; however, the head still manages to get her fired from the production by ordering the director to put extra pressure on her, and Neely is replaced with the head's young lover.

    A sympathetic Anne reconnects with her; Kevin hatches a plot to resurrect Neely's career by having her sing on a televised spectacular for his brand. Neely at first refuses, but following a successful supper club performance and a belligerent run-in with a downturning Helen, she agrees to it.

    However, she is unable to cope with the demands of the rehearsals and overdoses to avoid performing; due to union rules that she has breached, she is unable to work for another year.

    To Anne's distress, Neely disappears to Europe. Jennifer, in Europe, is pressured to undergo surgery to hide her age; though she has always lied about her true age, she is now ten years older than her claimed age of She agrees to the surgery, after losing weight in a drastic "sleep cure" treatment.

    However, unhappy with her European career and boyfriend, she returns to the United States to continue acting.

    Three years later, she becomes engaged to an older senator who she believes loves her for more than her body, and she is excited to get married and have a child; however, a routine test reveals that she has breast cancer and will require a mastectomy , and though the treatment will likely save her, it will render her infertile.

    After her unaware fiance assures her that he didn't want children and makes a comment suggesting he's only interested in her body, a despondent Jennifer becomes convinced that she'll never be loved for who she is, and she will be nothing without her body. Escaping from the hospital, Jennifer returns to her hotel room and commits suicide. In , Neely reappears in the midst of Jennifer's funeral after a drug-ridden venture through Europe, but her career resurrection is halted when she loses her voice, apparently from psychological issues.

    After bungling a self-harm attempt, Neely becomes institutionalized, which a guilty Anne pays for. Though Neely initially chafes under the hospital's oppressive rules, she begrudgingly submits to them in order to be able to eventually leave. Meanwhile, Lyon returns to New York and reconnects with Anne, much to the chagrin of Kevin, who has been in a relationship with Anne for over a decade; weakened due to an earlier heart attack, he fears losing Anne.

    Anne is unable to overcome her passion for Lyon, and the two begin an affair. Though Kevin alternates between lashing out at Anne in jealousy and pleading with her to return, he eventually breaks up with her, and Anne and Lyon reunite. Some time later, Neely finds her voice again, after an impromptu sanitarium performance with a now-incompetent Tony Polar.

    Anne works with Henry, who is retiring from the agency, to get Lyon to abandon his nonstarter career as a writer and become a partner at the agency, with Henry loaning Lyon money secretly funded by Anne who has become wealthy due to her prior investments. Lyon is initially put off by Neely, who has become obese, but successfully plots her career comeback after her release.

    Anne and Lyon get married and Anne quickly becomes pregnant, but her happiness is short-lived when Neely demands that Lyon escort her everywhere on her lucrative comeback tour; furthermore, Lyon learns from Neely about Anne's deception, and is outraged by her help, feeling emasculated and possessed by her. Lyon begins a brazen affair with the rejuvenated, newly slim Neely despite his new baby with Anne; Anne is increasingly left alone as he and the now-possessive and cruel Neely who has become self-centered and arrogant due to her newfound success and resentful of Anne spend every night together.

    Henry convinces Anne to wait out the humiliating, public affair and pretend she knows nothing, assuring her that Lyon will grow tired of Neely and return to her.

    Book Review - Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann

    The affair stretches out for years, with Neely pressuring Lyon to end his marriage and Anne becoming dependent on the "dolls" to relax, but Lyon reluctantly stays with Anne. After repaying Anne's loan, he breaks off the affair losing Neely as a client in the process , but quickly begins a new one with a teenaged up-and-coming singer.

    Anne overhears their affair while throwing a New Year's party in , and though she finally admits to herself that Lyon will never stop having affairs, she assures herself that she will eventually fall out of love and become numb to all of her pain before reaching for her "dolls" again.

    Furthermore, Susann's heroines are not shown as being the architects of their own misery for being ambitious.

    Their mothers - traditional housewives who disapprove of their drive and believe that status comes only from making an upwardly mobile marriage - are shown as joyless, bitter parasites. In another subversive sideswipe, you couldn't call the principal men heroes - not even the regrettably named English stud-muffin Lyon Burke. They are uniformly vile, weak bullies. Virtuous women are not rewarded in JacquiWorld: But the oft described "monster" heroine, Neely - not a beauty, and spiteful, selfish and undisciplined - ends happily in her fashion because her talent keeps her essentially strong and true to herself.

    What a bold, modern message this is: Like many mainstream entertainments, Valley Of The Dolls is far more critical of the American Dream than many avowedly "subversive" projects.

    As Dallas showed American big business to be corrupt and filthy through and through, so Dolls protractedly and minutely picks apart the "magic" of showbusiness.

    Broadway, Hollywood, Vegas cabaret and European "art" films are revealed as glitzy, gladiatorial arenas where women pull each other to pieces in search of that leading role or that modelling contract. Of course, like all the best tabloids, Dolls has its cake and eats it, too, and still has enough to throw triumphantly in the face of the showbiz establishment.

    The US is a country where extreme licentiousness and terminal prissiness make strange bedfellows. Like Cecil B DeMille before her show lashings of flesh, but then point out that it's happening in Sodom and Gomorrah, and kill the lot of them!

    Feminism, but not as we know it … 50 years of Valley of the Dolls

    Still, it was strong stuff for the s, featuring the first mainstream anal sex scene, which mystified me for years. If the tragic outcomes of various hedonisms are sometimes piled on with a trowel, it still retains its power and a strange sort of accidental integrity. Despite nearly 40 years of repeated attempts to castrate it into campness, or kill it with kitsch, Valley Of The Dolls remains a brave, bold, angry and, yes, definitely a feminist book.

    All that, and still about the most fun you can have without a prescription.

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