#BookReview: Down the Rabbit Hole by Holly Madison

Reviewer: Samantha

down the rabbit holeSummary:

The shocking, never-before-told story of the bizarre world inside the legendary Playboy Mansion—and, finally, the secret truth about the man who holds the key—from one of the few people who truly knows: Hef’s former #1 girlfriend and star of The Girls Next Door

A spontaneous decision at age twenty-one transformed small-town Oregon girl Holly Sue Cullen into Holly Madison, Hugh Hefner’s #1 girlfriend. But like Alice’s journey into Wonderland, after Holly plunged down the rabbit hole, what seemed like a fairytale life inside the Playboy Mansion—including A-list celebrity parties and her own #1-rated television show for four years—quickly devolved into an oppressive routine of strict rules, manipulation, and battles with ambitious, backstabbing bunnies. Life inside the notorious Mansion wasn’t a dream at all—and quickly became her nightmare. After losing her identity, her sense of self-worth, and her hope for the future, Holly found herself sitting alone in a bathtub contemplating suicide.

But instead of ending her life, Holly chose to take charge of it.

In this shockingly candid and surprisingly moving memoir, this thoughtful and introspective woman opens up about life inside the Mansion, the drugs, the sex, the abuse, the infamous parties, and her real behind-the-scenes life with Bridget, Kendra, and, of course, Mr. Playboy himself.

With great courage, Holly shares the details of her subsequent troubled relationship, landing her own successful television series, and the hard work of healing, including her turn on Dancing with the Stars. A cautionary tale and a celebration of personal empowerment, Down the Rabbit Hole reminds us of the importance of fighting for our dreams—and finding the life we deserve.

holly madisonReview:

With the warm weather finally coming around Iowa, I am back on my audiobook kick! I walk my Vizsla puppy usually twice a day, and love listening to stories via Audible. I’ve been interested in reading more titles from celebrities as book bloggers don’t typically get sent these titles, so the first one I chose was Down the Rabbit Hole by Holly Madison. I’d been curious about this book for quite some time, so I eagerly dived in.

Well. There is a whole lot covered in here. Holly Madison is a former girlfriend of Playboy creator Hugh Hefner, and lived for several years in the Playboy Mansion. And she has a lot to say. It’s interesting to get her back story, how she came to try out for Playboy, how she became a girlfriend, and the years of drama at the Mansion. One thing I was a little confused at was how she wrote this story. Did she sign a confidentiality clause? Did she and just not care? There was a lot in here that (if true) definitely would make me look at everything associated with Playboy quite differently.

I was a big fan of the show The Girls Next Door on E!. It was fascinating for me to see such a different lifestyle playing out on TV. I thought Holly, Bridget and Kendra were the best of friends and had a great time filming, but according to Holly, that really wasn’t the case at all. It was very interesting to read the “real” story (from Holly’s perspective) and wonder what was all true. I also say that because there came a point in the story that I started to wonder how much really was true. It constantly seemed as though Holly wouldn’t take blame for anything. Everyone around her was the bad guy and making bad decisions and being the enemy, and she was just a pawn in everyone’s game. She spent 10 years with Hef and at the mansion – in my eyes she can’t blame all of that on everyone around her.

I also watched the reality shows after the three left, and watched when Crystal (now Hefner) called off her wedding to Hef and how upset Holly was and how she was on Hef’s side and said he didn’t deserve that. I am just curious when this big disconnect happened, and why. I truly don’t feel like the whole story came out in Down the Rabbit Hole, just one side of it.

Will we ever get the full truth? My guess is no. And while I’m still not sure how honest everything is in this story, it was still incredibly fascinating to listen to, and for the audiobook, I really appreciated Holly Madison being the narrator, and thought she sounded incredibly professional and had some great voices. If you are or were ever a fan of The Girls Next Door or even the Playboy life in general, I think you would enjoy some behind-the-scenes stories from inside the Mansion walls . . .

4 stars

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1 Comment

  1. June 11, 2016 / 1:19 pm

    I totally agree! I was obsessed with TGND and loved Holly. I can totally understand having some resentments with Heff, but she seems to have done a complete 180 in the last two years. Very peculiar!

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