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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 number-one girlfriend and star of The Girls Next Door.
A spontaneous decision at age 21 transformed small-town Oregon girl Holly Sue Cullen into Holly Madison, Hugh Hefner's number-one girlfriend. But like Alice's journey into Wonderland, after Holly plunged down the rabbit hole, what seemed like a fairy tale life inside the Playboy Mansion - including A-list celebrity parties and her own number-one-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.
During the early 2000s my best friend and I (freshly out of high school) idolized The Girls Next Door. We bought the simultaneously sexy and wholesome act hook, line, and sinker. Although one got the feeling it wasn't perpetual sunshine and roses, it's clear life at the mansion was darker than it seemed.
Now that I'm approaching 30, this tell-all journey of personal mistakes and self discovery resonates with me on a different level. Despite her fame, and perhaps infamy, Holly's relatable struggles in her romantic and professional lives provided a humorous but thoughtful expose fraught with "mean girls", magicians, mansions, and more.
Holly is charming, although occasionally awkward in her phrasing, but decidedly mature and candid. Her "Alice in Wonderland" theme is nicely appointed by well chosen quotes at the begin of each chapter. This is the first memoir I've ever read, but I'm very glad I did. All together very interesting, and even slightly nostalgic.
44 of 47 people found this review helpful
I decided to pick this book only because I found the whole thing odd. But honestly, her story telling skills and performance make this audible book very enjoyable. While I don't know whether the whole story is true, I find that the book was entertaining. This book is meant to be an audio book.
33 of 36 people found this review helpful
While I appreciate anyone willing to write about their life, their struggles, and their insecurities (some of the most seemingly confident people can't even summon the courage to do that), I feel that at times, Holly worked a little hard at trying to portray herself as the good girl. I don't know her personally, but you don't really have to know someone well to deduce that they at some point in their life did things they weren't proud of. I highly doubt that Holly, in her self described "prison" of the Playboy Mansion, surrounded by catty, conniving, women for almost a decade, never once did anything she wasn't proud of. I feel in order to write a true biography/memoir, one needs to tell the whole story and be truthful about who they were as a person at the time good and bad. This book was entertaining at best, it took me a few days to finish but I'm glad I did. I'd say, like a guilty pleasure TV show, this book will entertain you but don't expect it to insight any reflection or deeper thinking after its done.
64 of 73 people found this review helpful
I never bought anything Hugh Hefner was selling. Not his cheap, trashy, idea of beauty, not his bs idea of the "playboy lifestyle" and definitely not the girl's next door. So I was actually kind of interested in Holly Madison's story. It's an easy, dishy, funny read and to be honest she's the least interesting part. Once the story gets into her post-mansion life it gets boring. It's definitely something for a long boring plane/car ride! By the time you're through the good stuff you'll probably be at your destination.
9 of 10 people found this review helpful
Really really good couldn't stop reading. Highly Recommend to anyone that wants a interesting book.
13 of 15 people found this review helpful
Like many fans that read this book.. I was a hardcore fan of the Girls Next Door. I always appreciated Holly in the show but found her somewhat cold and distant. Just as I hoped this book tells why. Things aren't always what they appear. I appreciate her honesty & willingness to open herself up to again more criticism. It was nice to actually hear her tell her story & im sure it was the final stage of letting go. I'm proud of her & really didn't want the story to end. Good job Holly!
26 of 31 people found this review helpful
Loved learning about the behind the scenes of The Girls Next Door and the subsequent shows for Holly. While I love her determination and honesty I was slightly bothered by her cruel honesty about so many who came through her life. I am doubtful that she was off about Hugh Hefner. I felt she had too many bad things to say about so many as if she was never wrong. While I not one to pass judgement, she chose to tell her story so she leaves herself open to criticism. Regardless, I am still a fan of Holly. She comes across as highly intelligent which I am sure she is given the schools she attended. I wish her well and sorry I missed her in Peep Show.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
I was so excited to listen to this and the anticipation to read it continued to build as Holly Madison shamelessly promoted her new book; however, as I listened to her audiobook, I felt like I was the one spiraling down the rabbit hole. The first 4 hours that I listened to, I was at the edge of my seat! Then, the next 3 hours, I was slightly losing interest and was hoping for more depth. The final 3 hours, I was completely over Holly Madison and her pathetic attempt to bash a host of people, all of which included Hugh Hefner, Kendra Wilkinson, and Criss Angel. She seriously played the victim, THE ENTIRE BOOK (with the exception of the last hour, in which she describes her current husband and the birth of her child *rolls eyes*).
Without a doubt, this book was destined to be excellent; but, only if she took some accountability. She complained that Hugh Hefner was essentially a controlling womanizer, but she didn't want to accept the fact that she was a glorified whore! How could she admit to asking to stay in the Playboy mansion because she had no where else to go and she hoped that it would lead to an acting career, all while calling the other equally ambitious girls, "Hefner's concubines"? As if she was innocent in everything! Absolutely appalling! There seemed to be a double standard when it came to Madison and everyone else.
I believe Madison was attempting to shock readers into disliking the legendary Playboy founder, but instead, I lost all respect for her. This story was one lame excuse after the other, no sense of accountability, and an utter waste of listening time. I am very disappointed.
63 of 78 people found this review helpful
Holly was candid and honest. At times you will cringe at her honesty regarding Hef and the other playmates.
18 of 22 people found this review helpful
The Walking Dead books are my guilty pleasure. You know, something with no literary value, but you just really just enjoy listening to. This book isn't even intelligent enough to fall into my guilty pleasure category! I am actually kind of ashamed I enjoyed it so much! Holly Madison is her own biggest fan, and she will tell you about it for hours and hours in this memoir. She was always my least favorite GND, but now, I think she is lipstick (and a big boob job) on a skinny runt of a pig. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you! This gal has the audacity to mother-F almost everyone that she ever used as a stepping stone in her B-- career. I can't lie though, I did enjoy all the BS! Holly and I are the same age (or at least the age she claims to be) so this pop culture phenomenon is from my generation. I had a go as a Hooters Girl and a swimsuit model, and I related to the way she described her early days doing the same. So that being said, there was something in me that always enjoyed GND. They were enjoying my same lifestyle but on a much more grandiose scale! I grew up and left that all behind so this book transported me to a time and place that will never be again. I enjoyed that so much and thank Holly for the instant time machine, BUT I am leaving this book with absolutely no respect for her. Throughout the book she will try and convince you that she was a victim but her calculating ways always manage to shine through. She is like a junior high girl in the way she blames everyone else for every single bad choice she made. Just own it, girl! Plus, at our age, it is really in poor taste to talk about others the way she did throughout her book. And to all of those who thought Madonna had the absolute worst fake English accent ever SURPRISE!!! You know the feeling, the one where your skin crawls because you are embarrassed for someone? Well, you will get it every time she introduces a new chapter using it. All that being said, if you are curious at all about this lifestyle, you will never regret spending this book credit!
6 of 7 people found this review helpful
The dream isnt all that it appears. Pleased that Holly finally found her own path in life.
Loved it. Followed Holly from the Girls nxt door and really enjoyed the insights into her world.
The reading performance is good, but it doesn't save the content. Although Holly clearly comes across as intelligent, the story turned into a bitchy, always the victim bio. At times it sounded like someone just moaning to their friend over a coffee.
Forgettable, which is a shame.
I loved it. informative story about Hollys life at the mansion and after the Playboy.
Was a fan of Girls Next Door and loved listening to this real version of what happened :) A must listen for fans of the the show!!
This is not my normal choice of book, as I tend to avoid all reality TV style culture. However, I have really enjoyed the whole book as the author is articulate and insightful throughout. Well written, easy and enjoyable listening. I feel like I've had a glimpse of a truly strange world and come away with a healthy respect for those within it. The author is clearly a professional in her own right.
I found this book to be a lot more entertaining and gripping than I thought it would be! Holly is very honest and forthcoming about her time with Hef!
I found it well narrated and easy to listen to!
Anyone who loved the girls next door or just loves Holly will enjoy this!
Amazingly honest book by Holly. I couldn't stop listening! My heart melts for her as she's clearly suffering from mental/emotional abuse throughout her time in the mansion.. But she pulled through! And that's all that matters.
I used to enjoy watching The Girls of the Playboy Mansion so this insight into Holly's life there and subsequent success was really interesting. She narrated it well
Holly doesn't leave a thing out! This is a tell-all, but the classy sort. She doesn't detail crude things - but yes, you will learn about sex in the Playboy Mansion; so don't worry about that! It's an eye opening book. Light hearted, easy listen/read, with juicy details throughout. On the serious side, you hear about emotional abuse, depression and the ridiculous rules the girls were placed under; control was a key factor in the Playboy mansion.
I enjoyed this story and was interested in Holly's back story having watched The Girls Next Door. I listened to the whole book start to finish on a long haul flight and found that it lacked flow and narrative, the chapters would start on one subject but need to be backed up by other past events. Entertaining though and didn't require me to listen too carefully.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I found this book really good in the beginning. You can definitely relate to her struggles while young, and understand more about what drew her to the house and made her stay too long.
However it is peppered with random catty comments and weird references to how well she is doing now. I think if this book was restructured with some pointless stories removed (for example when she bought Kendra a matching skirt?), it would sound less one -sided.
Generally Holly is likeable and the first half of this book is great, the second half however falls into boring feuds and references to how much money she earns - hence boring.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Performance was great. Story was ok but i did find her very hypocritical and had a bit of a poor me complex. The story is told in more of an up beat way and its easy enough to not let it bother you because of that. Wouldn't have finished the book if it was not being read to me i don't believe.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
She sold her soul, but that's everyone else fault but hers. There 10hrs 51mins I'll never get back.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Easy listening book!! Enjoyed the stories and honesty . Made and entertaining commute to work. Awesome
The narrator was extremely nerve irritating. Reading a book outloud requires a beautiful melodic voice not the harsh shrewness of this reader. And Holly's constant whining about her life wears very thin. She plays the victim well in this narrative and for someone who claims to always take the high road in life she wastes no time in bitching about everyone who ever crossed her. Buy this book if your interested in the behind scenes of the playboy mansion but forget about it if your want a balanced read.
I’m really into autobiographies and this one is the most predictable and least enlightening one I’ve listened to. It feels like an opportunity to redeem a reputation for herself and get back at people from her playboy life.
I would like my daughter to read it though as a warning to what flirting with fame can do.
Holly's story about her time at the mansion took me back to the early 2000's and changed my perception on what it meant to be not only a girlfriend of Hugh Hef, but a woman who got a little blinded by the bright lights of LA and took a detour to finding her self. Loved it.
Although I couldnt stop listening her refusal to take any responsibility for her own actions and demonalize everyone else made it seem fictional.
She is as fake as any other "reality" persona distorting truths to serve herself. Sugar coated story attempting to make her out to be a perfect angel. Well written, descriptive work of fiction but the premise of good girl mind controlled was in the end flogged to death and beyond.
This was a fun, well written tell all that gave a lot more depth than I expected. It's much more than scantily clad and morally questionable bimbos. The situation of emotional abuse and it's long wearing effects is explored in an interesting way. I recommend it. It's an easy read, tho can be repetitive in parts. Holly narrates it well :)