There’s a woman that works at “my” Chapters store that has become my book guru. She is so good at finding you books that you will love, so when she talks, I listen. (For the record, I didn’t used to take her so seriously, feeling fairly confident in my own book choice-making capabilities. But every once in a while you need to listen to someone else’s voice)
A while back she caught me killing my lunch hour in the store and recommended that I read Valley of the Dolls.
This was before I listened to all of her words. Valley of the Dolls? Really lady?
I left that day, empty handed. But the recommendation stayed with me and when I was at the library a couple of weeks ago, I saw it and knew it was meant to be.
Valley of the Dolls is amazing.
Let’s be honest – this book has been around for nearly 50 years. I’m not the first to read it. But for those of you that haven’t had the pleasure, here’s a brief synopsis:
We follow Anne, Neely and Jennifer from their early days in New York after World War II as they try and make something of themselves. Neely is desperate to be a star, Jennifer knows she has a good body that will need to make her money and Anne just wants to find the right man. A few chapters in and Anne already has a giant rock on her finger and is making all the right connections to benefit Neely and Jennifer.
But soon the stresses of their lives catch up with them and they turn to drugs, little blue and red “dolls”, to help them sleep, lose weight and get through each day.
And this is where the book took an unexpected turn for me. I expected sex and drugs. I expected romances and hissy fits. I didn’t expect the tragedy or the mental illness. It was truly heartbreaking in parts, insanely frustrating in others. The story takes place from 1945 into the 60s but certain themes could be as true today as they were then. And the ending! You know I’m a sucker for an ending and this one was very unexpected, cruel even.
I was sad to finish it, even sadder to know that I will have to return it to the library. But score another for my book guru – wonder what recommendations she has in store for me next.