Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Down the Rabbit Hole

I read this book so fast.  If Girls Next Door was your guilty pleasure and Holly was your favorite like she was mine then you will eat this book up and sympathize with her all the way through like I did.  For some reason I let myself get caught up in the Amazon reviews and what I noticed is that they mostly wanted more details about her sex life with a 78+ Hugh Hefner.  The one group scene she described was plenty (disturbing) for me and I didn't need any more details.  I do agree with some of the negative reviews the observed a lack of self-awareness on the part of Holly because she didn't seem to acknowledge her own pettiness in certain situations.  Nevertheless, I finished the book liking her even more and finding her to be more relatable than ever.

She describes Hugh Hefner giving girls quaaludes on nights out, pitting them against each other, and keeping them just insecure enough in their looks and value to stay with him.  It makes a lot of sense when you think about it.  How else would this geriatric man get highly attractive women to stay with him for free room, board and $1000/week clothing stipend? He has to not only find desperate misguided woman without many prospects in order to agree to sex, companionship, and a 9pm curfew.  He has to break them down enough so they'll believe no one else will want them and that they are not enough on their own so they'll continue to stay.  

Holly does spend adequate time describing other mean girls in the house and her negative reviewers really take issue with this.  What they fail to understand or possibly didn't read far enough to see is that by the end of her memoir Holly comes to fully understand that this tension between her and the other girls was largely orchestrated by Hef.  As a thirtysomething she acknowledges that it wasn't the other women who were her true victimizers.  I read this book as the cautionary tale of someone who wasted her twenties with and abusive man who convinced her that she couldn't make it on her own and wouldn't be able to find love elsewhere.  I'm happy for her that she was able to extricate herself from that situation.  She and I have drastically different values.  I am a puritanical prude.  But I really admire her ability to cop to her mistakes instead of lying to herself and everyone else by pretending their was anything healthy about her relationship.

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