Down the Rabbit Hole By Holly Madison: A Book Review
So I was pretty excited to get my copy of Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny by Holly Madison last week when the book came out. I had made sure to preorder it so that I would get it on time. As soon as I started reading the book I couldn't put it down. In a matter of a couple of days I was done, which is surprising because it usually takes me at least a week to get through a book. It was juicy, scandalous, and definitely interesting.
To be honest, I have been a fan of Bridget, Kendra, and Holly since the show The Girls Next Door premiered. Something about life in the Playboy Mansion always fascinated me. I found the show to be really entertaining and fun. Just a guilty pleasure that took me away from the world I knew and into a world that was so far from anything I could imagine. If you watched the show you know what I'm talking about. The show made it seem like life in the mansion was like heaven on earth. Fancy clothes, star studded parties, and vacations to anywhere in the world. It seemed like a pretty sweet deal, at least to the viewer. That was the point of the show, to make it look like the three girlfriends of Hugh Hefner had it made. I think that for the most part the show fulfilled that goal because it sure looked like a blast to live in the mansion and pretty much be able to do anything you wanted.
Unfortunately, the book paints a much different picture then the show. Holly Madison describes life in the mansion very differently from the way it was portrayed on the show. To be honest, she was not my favorite girl on the show. I preferred Kendra and Bridget. I even purchased Kendra Wilkinson's book Sliding into Home when it came out a few years ago. I was very interested to learn more about the back story of these girls who I watched on the show. Kendra's story was very different from Holly's, just like their experiences at the mansion were on opposite sides of the spectrum. Holly came to the mansion and became just another girlfriend before getting the coveted spot of "Number 1 Girlfriend." Holly goes into a lot of details about the cattiness of the other girls and how they mistreated and harassed her. She never seemed to fit in or make friends with the other girls until Bridget moved in. These two remained tight throughout their days as Hefner's girlfriends.
Holly includes a lot of juicy details in the book about the behaviors of the other girls in the mansion. Most were just there to get something out of the experience, mostly as much as they could get their hands on. In fact, after getting a centerfold in the magazine, most girls would leave the mansion because why else would anyone stay with a 78 year old man after they already got what they wanted? Personally, that just goes against everything that I believe in to just so openly use someone to get what you want and then once you get it to simply leave. I guess that is the reason why most girls go to live in the mansion in the first place. Everyone just wants to become rich and famous and that is their golden ticket in. I wouldn't go right out and call it prostitution, but I would say that they are definitely giving their time and bodies in exchange for the benefits that come from becoming Hugh Hefner's girlfriend and living in his mansion.
I understand where Holly is coming from, trying to tell her own story in her own words. I think everyone is entitled to do that. Now that I know a little more about her after reading her book, I can understand why she seemed so cold and aloof many times in the show. I think that is why she came across as sort of unlikeable to me. After reading her book, I feel different about her and consider myself a fan. I think it was brave of her to go against what is considered acceptable and tell the truth instead of sugarcoating her life at the mansion. She was honest about the fact that she was basically on the verge of becoming homeless before she came to live at the mansion. Holly also mentioned that she initially only wanted to stay there for a few months before moving out. I guess it was easy to get sucked into the lifestyle that comes along with the territory.
I also appreciated Holly's candidness about the other aspects of her life that didn't involve the Playboy mansion. I enjoyed learning about Holly's other relationships after dating Hefner. I also enjoying learning about her experiences as a showgirl in Las Vegas during her show Peepshow. I had previously heard about Holly's reality show on E! titled Holly's World, but after reading her book, I am interested in watching it. I found it interesting how Holly came full circle at the end of the book, with the fairy tale ending that all girls dream of with a wedding in Disneyland to her real life Prince Charming and a beautiful baby girl named Rainbow. The whole theme of Alice in Wonderland, complete with new quotes for each chapter, was very cute and something I hadn't seen before.
I do believe there is a sort of give and take aspect to the playboy lifestyle. These young women choose to live there because they are given benefits like money for clothes, fancy cars, a place to live, food, and the chance to maybe become famous. They get to party with celebrities at the hottest nightclubs in Los Angeles. Hugh Hefner, on the other hand, gets a chance to surround himself with beautiful ladies and never be lonely. These are ladies he can also feature in his magazine which makes him the money that he in turn spends on them so there is a sort of twisted exchange going on. Every group gets the products and services they need from the other. And when these services are no longer needed, someone else takes their place. Such is the circle of life I suppose.
Personally, I would never choose that lifestyle for myself. Being a shy person and having grown up in a very conservative household, I could never imagine being so open about everything. I don't think I could ever date someone who was old enough to be my grandfather just because he was rich and could help me get ahead in my career. It's just something that goes against everything that I believe in.
Regardless, I enjoyed reading the book as much as the next person because it is so different from the world I live in. I hold no judgement against the girls who chose to become Hefner's girlfriends for whatever reasons. Everyone has the right to live their lives the way they chose to. I understand the allure that a celebrity like Hugh Hefner can have on the average person. He is basically iconic and a legend. Hefner has built an empire with his magazine and brand and that is pretty magnificent. I think that is why we choose to watch these shows and read these books, we're simply fascinated by these people's lives because they are so different from our own.
I would definitely recommend for everyone to read Holly Madison's book. It provides a lot of interesting information about her stay at the mansion, the other girlfriends, and the man we know as Hugh Hefner. This book just goes to show that Hollywood is a very beautiful illusion that hides something much darker underneath.
Down the Rabbit Hole by Holly Madison
The Girls Next Door Complete Series Seasons 1-6
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