Falling “Down The Rabbit Hole”

thI’m almost too embarrassed to admit I read Down The Rabbit Hole, but I did indulge in it as my guilty summer read, so here’s the blog. Say what you want about Holly Madison, but since appearing on the hit E! show, Girls Next Door, she earned millions of dollars for headlining a show in Las Vegas, and penned a tell all book which has become an instant national bestseller. Despite the happy cover, Holly provided a dark and dismal account of life as one of Hugh Hefner’s live in girlfriends at the infamous Playboy Mansion. 

Holly took responsibility for the choices she made that set her on a path to spend seven years as Hefner’s arm candy, and that made the book palatable. She admitted she was overwhelmed by the fame and privileged lifestyle granted to the Hefner’s beauties and wanted a piece of it. As she tells it, she realized almost immediately life inside the mansion was not the dream she thought it was. The girlfriends were catty and jealous, prompting them to sabotage each other at any opportunity. Their behavior was sanctioned and encouraged by Hefner, who liked the women to fight for his attention. The emotional abuse Hefner doled out and oppressive rules Holly was required to abide by were downright depressing. While reading, I honestly had flashbacks to the tales I read in Carolyn Jessop’s tale as a sister wife in the FLDS detailed in her memoir, Escape. Holly made herself out as a virtual prisoner in the mansion who couldn’t stand up to Hefner’s dominating and unhealthy behavior.

Girls Next Door definitely made it seem that the girls were happy living in the mansion. I just assumed that Holly, Bridget, and Kendra were making millions off the show, but Holly told quite a different story. Apparently, the girls were not paid for the first season at all, and later were forced to sign contracts with terms unfavorable to them. Playboy wanted to use their name and likeness without compensating them, and when the girls spoke out they were told they were replaceable. By the end of the book, I had enough of Holly’s “woe is me” attitude, as she moved toward a place where everything that happened in her life was out of her control.

I went into this book knowing it would be filled with bizarre tales of petty fights, scandalous behavior, and an outrageous lifestyle, and got exactly what I expected. I will admit, this was an entertaining read!


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