Valley of the Dollsis a cult classic, set in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. It features the rise and fall of three women in the entertainment industry in New York and LA: Neely, Anne, and Jennifer. The focus here is on the relationships the three women have with men and with each other. As the book progresses, the women achieve startling things, but in the end all of them must face their own demons, including drug and alcohol addiction and body obsession.
Technically, this book is a bit (well, very) trashy; but it’s kind of like rubbernecking at a pileup. You know that thing’s aren’t going to work out perfectly for Neely, Anne, and Jennifer, but you can’t help but keep reading, even in a day and age when the things the author talks about in this book aren’t all that shocking. The characters (who are based on real people in the entertainment industry) are well-developed, too, even the supporting ones like Helen. Susann wasn’t the best writer, but, like Rona Jaffe, she sure knew how to tell a great story. Sure, it’s a campy story, but a memorable one nonetheless.