Before Jackie Collins, Candace Bushnell and Lena Dunham, Jacqueline Susann held the world rapt with her tales of the private passions of Hollywood starlets, high-powered industrialists and the jet-set.
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 cited 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. From Goodreads.
And now for the extract:
'Jennifer sat beside the pool in the shade. She read Anne’s letter again. She sounded happy enough – it was the first letter without a mention of Lyon. Maybe she was finally over it. But how could she live in his apartment? Did she still hope he’d come walking in one day? After five months? Imagine, not one word from him! Just showed, you could never tell what really went on inside a man’s head. Take all those pictures of her with Tony. They looked so happy – the perfect young Hollywood couple!
The sun crept under the umbrella. She reached out and bent the framework down to shield herself. Sure – a girl who got hives if she sat in the sun had to wind up in California: She glared angrily at the blazing orange ball. It was always there. It was the one thing in California you could count on. On occasion there might be a slight fog in the morning, but inevitably the lemon disc would make an appearance, timidly at first; then, as if inflating itself, it would brighten and inhale the mist and clouds and emerge triumphant and alone in a china-blue sky.
She sighed. Every day here since her arrival in January had been like the middle of July. How did those damn oranges grow if it never rained? It was May in New York. In the East you appreciated good weather when it finally arrived. She thought about New York. The first balminess must be in the air. The heavy winter coats had been stored away and people were sitting outside the cafeteria in Central Park. And you could walk in New York! You never appreciated the privilege of walking until you lived in California.'
“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)
“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 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 MagThe 50th Anniversary Edition of Valley of the Dolls is available now! Make sure you pick up a copy!