Its three protagonists--Anne Welles, the uptight-but-full-of-a-strange-yearning New England beauty; Neely O'Hara, the Judy Garland á clef; and Jennifer North, who is sort of the Marilyn Monroe á clef and also sort of the Brigitte Bardot á clef but mainly sort of the least realized character in the book--all spend most of the novel with what they want excruciatingly just out of reach, and all are ultimately not only defeated but self-defeating ... I should say, first of all, that I have absolutely no criticisms to make of this book. It is perfect, and I'm not just saying that because I practically memorized it at the age of 13 and it was one of my primary illicit sources of sexual information in the gap between information and experience, and I therefore view it with fond nostalgia.... However melodramatic its plot may be, Valley of the Dolls is simply old-fashioned riveting.
Let's set the scene...
(Lorelai finds Babette in the kitchen cleaning out a cabinet full of pill bottles.)
Lorelai: Hey, Babette.
Babette: Oh, hello, sugar. Can I get you something?
Lorelai: No, I'm fine. I'm looking for Rory.
Babette: Oh, I think she might be in the bathroom.
Lorelai: Thanks. (starts to leave then stops) Can I help you with something?
Babette: Oh, no. I thought I'd just get some of this stuff packed away.
Lorelai: It's like a scene from a kitty version of 'Valley of the Dolls.'
Valley of the Dolls might be considered junk literature... but like a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos, sometimes the junk is what hits the spot. I truly enjoyed every second of this book. And you know the character is well written when I turn to Husband as I'm reading and rant "I hope this bitch gets hit by a bus. But I don't want her to die. I want to still be alive and fully aware... so she can experience what it feels like to have every single bone in your body broken". I might have anger issues. Anyway...
In the end, I love that the ultimate lesson is "wherever you go, there you are". It doesn't matter where you're physically located, your problems will follow you. So many people are under the misconception that their hometown is unique in it's issues and totally to blame for the fact that their life isn't what they wish it to be. As you get older, you realize that everyone feels this way about their hometown. Leaving your hometown will not magically change your life for the better. The issues most people have are simply a part of them, therefore those same problems will be right there with them no matter where they're located geographically. The characters in this story are constantly trying to run away from the demons that plague them... and they learn that there is no escape from you!
One additional note: was I the only person who was always under the impression that Valley of the Dollstook place in the late 70's/early 80's? I was shocked as I started to read that this book was published in 1966 and takes place in the mid 40's. People have been crazy hot messes since the beginning of time, apparently!
Who do I see reading this in the Stars Hollow gazebo?
This story is VERY rock & roll... so Lane is absolutely the best choice!