The price of money and fame

Althea By Althea, 20th Jul 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Books>Dramatic Fiction

“Mount Everest” is a steep climb. The higher you go, the louder the wind howl drowning the sound of the city - A review of the acclaimed novel “Valley of the Dolls” by Jacqueline Susann.

The novel

“Valley of the Dolls” was written by Jacqueline Susann and published in 1966. It became a best-selling novel with 30 million copies sold worldwide. It was adapted into a movie with the same title in 1967 and into TV series in 1981 and 1994.

The storyline

The story runs through the good and bad side of money and fame, the thrill of being in the limelight and the scandals along the way. The characters in the novel all strive to reach their ambitions to be rich, famous and for love, hence called “Mount Everest”. But as they focus on their goals, they lost sight of the things that matter most – love, family, respect, humility and friendship.

They realized that fame and money can isolate someone. They did reached the top of Mount Everest but alone, with no one to share their triumphs with. Only the “dolls” kept them company, a euphemism for the pills that kept them going - A diet pill to stay slim, because the society expects a celebrity to have the slim body; A sleeping pill for a blissful rest.

They have the perks of being rich and famous. They enjoy the love of the crowd. But in reality, they are alone and lonely.

The characters

The novel centers on the lives of three women: Anne, Neely and Jennifer.

Anne Welles was a college graduate from a New England town, Lawrenceville. She was determined to escape the assuming and traditional life where she was expected to get married to someone she does not really love. After her graduation she went to New York to start a career and became a secretary for Henry Bellamy, a theatrical attorney. She stayed at a small room and met Neely who also live in the same building. She fell in love with Lyon Burke, a lawyer working for Henry Bellamy, who wants to write instead and stay in Lawrenceville. They broke up and Anne became the endorser for Gillian cosmetics. She got engaged to Kevin Gilmore but left him when Lyon returned. She practically bought Bellamy’s office to keep Lyon in the US and they got married. Lyon got mad when he found out about it and started having affairs. Anne resorted to taking pills to cope with his infidelity.

Ethel Agnes O'Neill started out dancing with a vaudeville act, The Gaucheros. When she was dropped from the act, Anne helped her get a spot on the musical “Hit the Sky”. She became Neely O’Hara, an understudy that soon became a big hit in Broadway. She moved to California to pursue acting for movies. She got divorced twice and got hooked on alcohol and prescription drugs/pills. She was sent to a psychiatric facility and was able to get back in the entertainment industry with the help of Lyon and Anne. But once back, she went back to her old self-destructing ways.

Jennifer North, started as a sexy showgirl in Hit the Sky. She met Anne and Neely at the show and lived with them for some time. She eloped and married Tony Polar, a singer, who she doesn’t know has a congenital brain condition. She found out about his condition when she told Tony’s sister that she is pregnant. She had an abortion and went to France to act in art films. After several years, she returned to the US and got engaged to a senator. Months before her wedding, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and will not be able to have children. The senator told her he does not care about not having children, as long as she keeps her body (her breasts particularly). Jennifer committed suicide.

My thoughts

We all dream for success in our chosen career. But we must never forget why we do what we do and for whom. Every extra hour we spend on our work makes us hard working, but also takes away time for our family and friends. It is true that success can make us better provider for our family, but that is not their only needs. They also need our time, love and affection. And we also need them.

In time we realize that family, love and friendship is worth more than anything that fame and fortune can give. From them we get happiness, unconditional love, fulfillment and contentment.

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Jacqueline Susann, Novels

Meet the author

author avatar Althea
I am a working mom. I love to write about family, music, bands and books.

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author avatar Lady Aiyanna
20th Jul 2015 (#)

Now you have a wrong notion of celebrities and I say it as I am one. I am a model, creative artist, singer, actress and a writer. I keep my figure great and after kids.
None the less, present trend of orgies, swinging and friends with benefits is the in thing and it's also seen with common people too.
I am not into such but as a mother I know it takes a lot of energy to keep a figure and maintain a child. Not using pills. Never took drugs but worked out in the gym and got a great body and figure post kids.
I am thirty six years of age and living it but without vices or men. Am still married too btw and husband is mentally unstable. Similar to your storyline isn't it?
I had just one child as husband didn't want another not because I wanted to act in a movie. Am still alive though with no second partner and only One in life since involvement with males.

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author avatar Lady Aiyanna
20th Jul 2015 (#)

Don't think we are above normal peopl, we cut and bleed just you and have money problems as well.
My ex work colleague practices Bdsm and friends with benefits within workplace. Was eyeing me but I lost my job for not giving in.

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author avatar Ptrikha
23rd Jul 2015 (#)

Well written and makes for a great read.

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