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.
©2015 Holly Madison (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers
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.
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.
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.
A good read. A bit of tasteless bashing but still tolerable. I hoped to gain more insight rather than the superficial stuff laced with a bit of depth but for a light and easy read, the book did the job.
""Mean girls", magicians, mansions, and more!"
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.
"Holly knows how to tell a story"
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.
"Entertaining but a bit one sided and snobby"
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.
"Good beach read."
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.
"Don't Fall for the Shameless Tricks!"
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.
Really really good couldn't stop reading. Highly Recommend to anyone that wants a interesting book.
"I really wanted to like this one....."
No one is that clueless....I'll just leave it at that!
It jumps back and forth and I really felt that I was listening to someone in high school telling me who they liked and didn't like.
The performance was OK - except for when she read quotes and the voice was really weird!
No, not really.....
"The other side of Girls Next Door"
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!
"Tedious and Self-serving"
The author reads the work and she does a good job. The problem is with the story the author has to read. If this were farce or satire, it would be so clever. But it becomes clear that she really does believe the spin she puts on things. It is repetitive and more than little disgusting.
Holly Madison herself.
She does a very nice job reading. Her voice is good.
Disgust -- both in myself for falling for the hype, thus giving the author any of my money and disgust in the author herself and her need to spin a tawdry tail into some sort of tale of self-worship.
If you (like me) have a passing moment of curiosity about what life was like for the women who lived in the Playboy Mansion, then just google and read the various Wiki accounts. You will get all the information but save yourself having to listen to a really crass self-serving delusional account of how someone with nothing interesting about herself makes a living out of selling both her self and her story. There is nothing in this story that you didn't live through listening to a self-absorbed delusional acquaintance tell you how the world is full of mean people who disliked her because she is just a poor little naive sweet thing.
God, what a waste of my money and my time. I can't get my money back but I certainly didn't keep listening after about an hour. I feel dirty. Save yourself and give this one a pass.
Holly was candid and honest. At times you will cringe at her honesty regarding Hef and the other playmates.
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
"An insight into a secret world"
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.
"Great Insight to the Playboy Mansion"
I would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in Playboy or who watched Girls of the Playboy Mansion/Girls Next Door
It was a great insight and answered the questions a lot of people have about Hef and his girls... Did they really have sex with him? Did he pay them? What are their motives? etc. I thoroughly enjoyed it but it made me miss GotPM/GND, I wish they'd repeat it on E!
"I was expecting more"
most of the info was already seen on girls next door. the rest is a bit bitchy
"Three cheers for Holly!!!"
Thank you Holly for this eye opening and inspirational story. So excited for your future.
"I really loved this book. well worth getting!!"
loved this book. It gave a perspective that wasn't shown on The girls next door. I really thought Holly and co had a dream life and she stayed because if her live for Her but hearing her version now makes things I saw click. I like that she entered into a world she thought would be very different to what it turned out to be. She was upfront and open about her experience and I used to think these girls are with this old man for money but that doesn't seem the case for all of them. I loved Bridget and Holly but always found Kendra a little over the top and selfish. This book was amazing and I'm so glad I got it. even better is Holky telling her story to you. I do think Crystal is jealous of Holly but why she did an interview claiming not to love hef. Her sounds like a total diuche but if your homeless gave no money etc that's the kind of girls he takes advantage if. He does look ridiculous with these young women and it sounds like when they move in they either cater to his wishes or there out. It sounds liieva prison with all the rules. Ivsay well dine Holly for opening up esp not right away were you could of made a lot of money for a tell all. I'm glad you've found happiness and if any sensible young girl reading this decides to choose that life more fool them. I gave this entire book 5 * I'd ofcgavevit 10 ifvi could. thanks again for sharing.🙂
"A very enjoyable tale!"
I'm really pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book having finished in less than a day and a half! I loved the girls next door show and watched religiously until the girls departed. I always knew there was more going on behind the scenes at the mansion than what was pictured in the show and I'm happy to know I was right! A really enjoyable story read well my Madison. I half expected the performance to be pants but it flowed really well and she comes across as quite eloquent throughout. My only tiny annoyance was the Alice in wonderland quotes. They're appropriate to the chapters but holly reading them in her version of an English accent was annoying! Otherwise really enjoyed the whole thing!
very good untill last few chapters. just in my opinion it got draggy near the end. most of it was very good and really enjoyed it.
i loved the whole book i was sorry when it was finished and i would love her to write second one...
i cant answer that because i watched her reality show and i liked it.....she was such fun positive person
both at the times....
loved it.......her voice is great to listen to as well...always a big big plus....sometimes i acnt get into the book because of the voice..
"Surprised and educated"
Never really been interested in playboy and like most people I had a very different view. Holly tells things completely different and I feel sorry for what she went through and how she ended up in such a rubbish situation. Great book, really opened my eyes and changed my opinion
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