Book Review: Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny by Holly Madison

Phew!  That’s a long title.  Okay, so I read Holly Madison’s memoir Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny within the span of a few days.  It was gloriously fascinated but I found myself going back and forth between feeling really bad for her and being like “Girl, please.”

Despite my occasional need to roll my eyes into the back of my head, I have to say the book was really good, the topics were good and it was all very interesting.  Before we really get into it first let me say that I watched The Girls Next Door a few times back when it was on but I wasn’t a huge fan but when I heard the buzz and read the snippets of this book before it came out, I was pretty excited to read.  So, here we go.

Although the main chunk of this book is about her time at the Playboy mansion, she did start off on her childhood and how she was known to be pretty spunky and always marched to the beat of her own drum, even going as far as using credit cards to get breast implants and trying (but failing) to keep it from her parents.  She idolized Marilyn Monroe (the first person to pose for Playboy) and wanted to be a famous actress.   While she was in college, she even tried out for the Millennium Playmate search that the magazine had put on but was a little naive and definitely wasn’t chosen.  Now by this point in the book, I can see that I was being prepped to believe that Playboy was meant to be in her life somehow with the Marilyn Monroe stuff and the Millennium Playmate try out that was oh so mortifying for her.  But whatevs, we hadn’t gotten to any of the good stuff yet so I held on.

She moves to LA, works at Hooters with her new boobs, goes to college, drops out and because she is gorgeous, starts being invited to Playboy mansion parties.  She is still dreaming of being an actress but at this point she likes what she sees in Hugh Hefner and his girlfriend situation and wouldn’t you believe it, her roommate kicks her out at the very same time Hef is short one girlfriend.  So she winds up asking to move in after the notorious bedroom routine in which she felt used and wanted something in return.  She then makes the meteoric rise in a few short years to be his main girlfriend and live in his room despite being hated on by all the other women.

Now, by this point we’ve seen all the bad stuff happen, his manipulation of the girls, wanted them to “fight over” him, the crazy curfews, dress codes, and the dangling of Playmate pictorials over their heads.  Holly’s word is that she moved in because she had nowhere else to go and then stayed because he was controlling and horrible and she convinced herself that she was in love with him so she didn’t have to leave with tail between legs.

That is seven long years, girl.  Luckily for her, the Girls Next Door came out and she finally got a few pictorials and was a little famous on her own and was able to strike out on her own.  I do remember feeling like she didn’t have much of a personality on Girls Next Door and a lot of that is explained in the book.  When that was all over she moved on; right into the hands of another crazy control freak:  Criss Angel.  She wised up though and moved on from there right into her own show on the strip and into her own reality show, motherhood and marriage.

It really is a Cinderella story y’all.  So, I have to say that I do think that she was probably being controlled by Hef and mental control is not one to be played with, but I do think it all wrapped up so nicely in a little bow, she’s a star, making millions, married with a kid and all (This is the girl, please part).  It is good for her especially after being stuck under the Playboy regime for so long.  But honestly, I don’t know where I stand on the whole thing and it’s really not up to me to believe her or her story or not believe it.  I do feel that she felt that she never did any wrong to anyone.  Even when explaining things she did that were a little bitchy, she would kind of write it off as being socially awkward and never really owned up to anything.  I’m not saying she’s a bad person at all, but nobody’s perfect.  But at the end of it all, what I can say is that it was an extremely good read, a page turner, and at the end of the book I did feel good for her.

P.S.  Let me just say that I LOVED the tie-in of the Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass quotes.

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