Saturday, April 9, 2016

Valley of the Dolls

Hey everyone,

Sorry for the late posting. I had a ton of life stuff happen, like I'm now married, I'm pregnant, and I'll finally be graduating this year! So posts should remain as varied as they already were. Here's one I actually wrote half of a few months ago and am finally posting now.

Okay, so the Valley of the Dolls. Well to be honest before it showed up on my list of books my great grandfather owned, I had never heard of it. Which, if you ask me shows some lack of education on my part because the book was such an important one, it was bestseller in 1966 and has sold over 30 million copies. Valley of the Dolls is a well written novel about the inner lives of actresses and the effects of rampant pill usage among them.

 In general the subject of the book is a bit depressing but Jacqueline Susann does such a great job at the writing and at getting inside the heads of her characters that you find yourself eating the book in large chunks. Or I did. I think I consumed this book in a four day period, which is a little fast even for me. But it was so good! I literally could not put this book down. The book follows three friends through their lives as they make their careers in film and modeling. Anne, is an uptight New England girl who escapes to New York to find herself. Neely is an aspiring actress who shows real talent and as soon as its recognized turns into a kind of horrible person. Jennifer is an aspiring actress who has the looks but not the talent and struggles to constantly battle against her failing career.

I fell in love with these characters in a way that is rare for a book. I accepted them as friends and took them into my heart. So when Neely turned into such a horrible person and went against Anne, I won't spoil it if you haven't read it, I felt really conflicted over her betrayal. On the one hand I knew what Neely had been like at the beginning and the things that had changed her. I couldn't fully hate her the way I could a character I didn't really feel a relationship with. And Jennifer pretty much broke my heart, I cried for quite a while over her.

I seriously loved this book but when I was done, I could not imagine my Great Grandfather reading this. It just really didn't seem like his kind of book. I complained to my mother, asking why did he own this book when he probably never read it. I admit I had a bit of a dumb moment. Obviously just as we inherited his books, he inherited some from his family. This book actually came out in 1966, before my Great Great Grandmother died, so there was a good chance that she was the one who read the book. Or of course, and this is where I was being dumb, my Great Grandmother could have read it. Perhaps they even shared the book with each other and both read it. Which is a super cool thought. And I wondered about what either of their reactions to this book could have been. Did Carmen, my great great grandmother, perhaps enjoy this book? Did she recommend it to Dot? Or was Dot the one who enjoyed it and recommending it to Carmen? Did either of them recommend it to my Grandmother? Who knows, I could be wrong and Great Grandpa really did read it. But I seriously doubt that's the case.

'Til next time fellow readers, and if you haven't I strongly suggest you pick up Valley of the Dolls. It was fantastic!