Jan 14, 2011

About Books Blog 31: Valley of the Dolls


Author: Jacqueline Susann
Genre: General Fiction

Favorite Line

“You couldn’t be a real friend and remain politely impersonal.”


Anne Welles, Neely O'Hara, and Jennifer North become friends and roommates, and experience the perils and rewards of fame. However, the journey to find love, endless beauty, and success leads them to the breaking point, and to the path to relief and destruction they find in prescription drugs a.k.a dolls.

What I Thought of This Book

I read Valley of the Dolls for the first time when I was fourteen. Now that I think about it, I’m not sure some of the material was quite appropriate for a fourteen year old. I guess it didn’t cause me to be maladjusted, so it’s alright. I always remembered that the novel made an impression on me. I didn’t exactly know why since it is a bit of a crazy read. Perhaps the fact that is crazy is why it made an impression. I decided to re-read it just to figure out just what I liked so much about it. I had a bit of a surprise when reading the novel again. I couldn’t believe I had forgotten so much of the beginning. It was like reading a totally new book at first.

Even though I still found this book a little sad, I still loved it. I think it has to do with Jacqueline Susann’s writing. I love the way she expressed ideas. I like the elements of the scenes and dialogue. It was so difficult to pick just one favorite line in the book; because there were so many I loved.

Something weird about Valley of the Dolls is the reaction I have toward the characters. No matter how naive, melodramatic, drugged up, or downright horrible they became I couldn’t find it in my heart to truly hate any of them. Well... that’s not entirely true. I suppose there are a few people I a hold a grudge against. However, in this case I’m referring to the three principal characters that are strangely hard to dislike. I guess it’s one of those stories with beautifully flawed people. I found myself wanting the best for these characters. It’s safe to say I found myself disappointed.

In a nutshell Valley of the Dolls was a great read the second time around. It’s still on my favorites list. Not the book you want if you’re looking for sunshine and happy endings. The dark side of success isn’t supposed to be flowers and rainbows. That wouldn’t be true to life at all now would it?

Facts I Found Interesting

1. Valley of the Dolls has sold more than 30 million copies since its release in 1966. It was the first roman à clef by a female author to achieve that level of sales in America.

2. Many events and characters in the novel are based on real people and/or events in Jacqueline Susann’s life.

For more facts see Jacqueline Susann and Valley of The Dolls on Wikipedia.

The Movie

The 1967 cinematic adaptation Valley of the Dolls is often considered a camp classic. Meaning that most people regarded it as being so bad it’s good. It might not be the best movie in the universe. It has its corny moments, but it has good moments as well. The actresses in the leading roles did accurate portrayals of their characters. One thing I find it  interesting that it doesn’t use a lot of dialogue to get a point across. I love the music in it. Not only does it have the Valley of The Dolls theme, which I loved before I even watched the movie, but it had several other numbers I thoroughly enjoyed.

There were many changes from the book to screen. I will only address a few here. The only change I don’t care for is that they played down Anne, Neely, and Jennifer’s close friendship in the early part of the story. It didn’t ruin the movie for me. I just think it would have been nice if the friendship had been more established. I actually liked the rest of the changes. One of which being that they casted a brunette actress for Anne in the movie. In the novel she’s supposed to be blonde, but when I read it I always see her as a brunette. Apparently, the people doing the casting agreed with me. In addition, I prefer the film’s ending more than the conclusion of the novel. It is far less depressing, and I seriously wish the book had ended the same way.

The trailer makes me want to laugh. I guess it just makes it seems more camp than it seemed when I watched the movie. Ha ha.

Music To Read By

Favorite Albums

My two most divine favorites were Worrisome Heart by Melody Gardot and Careless Love by Madeleine Peyroux. They are both lovely jazz style albums that fit with the moods of the book. Heck even the titles of the albums fit. I also enjoyed The Break Up by Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson. I listened to my Comic Book Tattoo playlist a few times too. Now that I think about I guess I could have made a playlist before reading this, because I’d read it already. Oh well.

 I have to include a video of my favorite song from the movie. There's no recording of this version of the song, so I didn't put it on the playlist, but I still love it. It's called Come Live With Me.

Valley of the Dolls Playlist

Theme from Valley of the Dolls - Dionne Warwick
Theme from New York, New York - Frank Sinatra
In The Musicals - Bjork
That's Entertainment - Judy Garland
Life Is Just A Bowl Of Cherries - Lisa Loeb
All The Right Moves - One Republic
Love Me Like A River Does - Melody Gardot
Will You Love Me Tomorrow - Carole King
I'd Rather Be Blue Over You - Barbra Streisand
I Don't Trust Myself With Loving You - John Mayer
Melt My Heart To Stone - Adele
Hello - Glee Cast
Worrisome Heart - Melody Gardot
California - Rufus Wainwright
Pills - Charlotte Martin
Beautiful Tonight - Krystal Meyers
Everybody Loves Me - One Republic
Superstar - Tegan and Sara
I Am The Cosmos - Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson
Between The Bars - Madeleine Peyroux
Airplanes - B.o.b ft. Hayley Williams
Stand Still Look Pretty - The Wreckers
Brick By Boring Brick - Paramore
Simple Kind Of Life - No Doubt
Mad World - Gary Jules
Red, Red, Red (remix) - Fiona Apple
Better Than Revenge - Taylor Swift
How We Operate - Gomez
Disappear - Beyonce
Strange - Tori Amos

That's it my lovely followers. I think I might have gotten a little Wiki wild on this one. Oh the joys of Wikipedia. Happy reading and keep it shiny!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

There is quite a list of songs going on there. Great post!

Mad Scientist