I've been meaning to read this book for ages. I first heard about it in my early teenage years, probably in a biography of Courtney Love or something like that. Well, it's taken me nearly a decade but I finally got around to it, and I really wish I hadn't waited.
Centering around the lives of three girls in the late 1940's through early 60's, Valley of the Dolls
explores the word of celebrity and glamour in mid-century New York and Hollywood. Parts of each character are modeled on Jacqueline Susann's own life -- there's Anne, the naive suburban girl who comes to the big city as a secretary looking for true love and accidentally ends up as a spokesmodel; Neely, small-time Vaudeville kid turned huge movie star with an attitude (and drug addiction) to match; and Jennifer, who is absolutely gorgeous and loved around the world for her body, but is totally empty inside. Each of them find success and rise to the top... but that just makes it a harder fall to rock bottom.
There's as much sex, drugs, and scandal as you would expect. It's also incredibly depressing at times -- I teared up more than once. Sure, it's a little bit trashy, but that just makes it more delicious. I can definitely see why this is considered a cult classic, and it's a new favorite of mine as well.