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Review: Down the Rabbit Hole by Holly Madison

Down the Rabbit HoleThe 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.

One must always approach these kinds of “memoirs” with an air of caution. Let’s face it, the only people who know the truth about what happened are those involved. I must admit, I was shell shocked by the revelations Holly Madison made in this book. Though Kendra Wilkinson had spoken some about life at the Playboy Masion in her book Sliding Into Home, she clearly toed the line between truth and acceptable PR.

It is Holly’s opening statements that really had me convinced there’s at the very least, a large portion of truth to her side of events. Let’s face it. There are always multiple sides to the truth and hers comes off as convincing. Maybe parts are exaggerated or even made up. But her book is SINsationally delicious and I’ll admit I ate up every juicy detail she gave.

I use to watch The Girls Next Door and I really enjoyed their silly antics. Heck, I even rooted for Holly and Hef, but after reading this book, I feel a bit duped. Sure, we all know there’s no reality to reality TV nowadays, but a decade ago, it wasn’t always that well known. I truly thought Holly was in love with Hef. Boy, was I wrong.

Instead, you get a view of how dark, depressing and lonely life at the Playboy Mansion truly is. Not only is Hef perverted in his obsession of extremely, extremely young women, but he’s cruel. He runs his household with an iron fists and manipulates the girls at every turn, with money and lies. He even goes as far as to say, “Daddy makes the rules.”

Yeah… as much as I loved the show, me being so open minded accepted that Holly may actually love Hef, but I never once questioned his love for her. What isn’t to love? She’s beautiful, smart, funny… yeah, he treats her worse than the dogs he allows to piss all over his dilapidated mansion.

If you want scandal, you’ll find it in this book. From the revelation of how many playmates and girlfriends also posed as call girls to the infamous sexcapades that were briefly eluded to in Kendra’s book. I don’t particularly feel sorry for the girls who put themselves in this position. But if the things Holly says is true, then I feel nothing but utter disgust by how most of them behaved. Sure, he used the girls and tossed them aside. But I’ve never been one to believe two wrongs make a right. I also can’t believe Holly and Bridget subjected themselves to that kind of abuse for years. There’s even statements that they didn’t get paid for the shows they did or the clothes they designed. I’m sorry, but those girls deserved to get paid for all the publicity they brought to Playboy and most importantly, the delusional wannabe player, Hugh Hefner. I’ve always known people with power don’t usually look down at using it to further their own interests, but if this is true, this man basically admits to drugging women in the 70’s like Cosby did, just to get them in bed.

Despite my disgust, I really couldn’t put this book down and I think if you like juicy scandalous stuff like this and don’t really care if it’s true or not, you will too. And since I’ve read both Holly’s and Kendra’s books, I can say, I found Holly’s to be more believable.


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About Kristine

As an aspiring author, avid bookworm, fitness fanatic and dedicated mother, there just aren't enough hours in the day. I write or post about things I'm passionate about and spend my time trying to make the most of every day. Life may be a tough journey, but I have my ruby red slippers and am content on skipping along this yellow brick road until the end of the line.

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