Monday Night Book Club: Valley of the Dolls

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by Abigail Fisher

Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann is a classic trashy beach read. Three aspiring fame hounds in New York take on the male dominated world and attempt to manipulate it to their advantage. The three heroines, Anne, Jennifer and Neely, struggle with their concept of sexuality in relation to fame and begin to abuse drugs heavily on their way to the top. Anne is the good girl  trying to make it in the legitimate work world, but quickly gets drawn to more exotic life of modeling. Jennifer’s body is her ticket to fame, but the attention she gets from men muddies her idea of love. Neely has an amazing voice and quickly rises to the top of Broadway superstars and just as quickly falls to the bottom again writhing with overconfidence.

Valley of the Dolls confused and angered me at times because I wasn’t sure that the author was trying to promote feminism or center her morality on the fact that women should interdependent on men or face pain and suffering. By the end of the book the three women’s lives are in shambles, and even Anne who settled down to get married is tragically unhappy. I think that Valley of the Dolls ultimately promotes the feminist perspective because it warns against following others to determine what you should do or be. This book will put you in the mood of old New York and give you a flash of a glamorous life that you might decide is not so glamorous after all.

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