Last week I picked up Holly Madison’s recent autobiography “Down the Rabbit Hole“. In high school I loved the show Girl’s Next Door and Holly was my favorite character on the show. Though I never idolized the playboy lifestyle there was something so entertaining and alluring about the series, I couldn’t stop watching! I was shocked! Throughout college I really forgot about the girls only to smile every so often when Holly popped up in the media. When Holly released her book in June I knew I wanted to read it but at the time was focusing on career oriented books and promised myself I would check out the fun-celeb read at a later date.
I devoured the piece, from the moment I started reading I could NOT put Holly’s story down #GuiltyPleasure. Not only was I fascinated by Holly’s insight into life at the Playboy Mansion but I (strangely) found myself relating to Holly in ways I never would have imagined. Holly found herself accepting possessive, toxic, emotionally abusive relationships because she felt weak, helpless and trapped. When I wrote my own post called “Down the Rabbit Hole” after exiting an abusive relationship I clearly felt the same way! Of course Holly’s book is a teeny tiny bit more popular than my blog post by the same name but I found it interesting that we gave our recaps of emotionally abusive relationships the same title. Finding yourself in an unhealthy relationship really does feel like falling down a deep dark hole you can’t climb out of. Holly shared pieces of herself that I really respected, stories that could make others think less or her (for accepting abuse) but I believe that it is this sort of honesty about toxic relationships that helps ordinary victims feel safer and more respected coming forward.
With each chapter I felt as if I knew Holly Madison a little bit better, it was like chatting with a girlfriend or reading a very personal blog. Holly did a great job of providing context and backstory for many of the scenes seen on Girls Next Door while also giving her emotional and intellectual rationalizations. I really admired Holly’s dedication to carving out her own life path rather than being seen solely as someone else’s girlfriend. It’s really easy to make a lot of assumptions based on someone’s decision to pose nude. I know I’ve found myself placing certain traits, ambitions and moral judgements on individuals based off of similar choices, Holly’s story is a reminder that even among a sea of blonde playmates there is variation. Perhaps most importantly, the book reminded me how impactful a pivotal decision can be on your life for years to come.
While I would be lying if I said I wasn’t strangely fascinated by the Playboy culture she lived in (I mean I obviously can’t imagine dating an 80 year old man who had at times 6 other girlfriends) but I was equally as interested in the emotional progression of Holly throughout her story. I think playmates and women like Holly Madison receive a lot of hatred for seemingly trading their sexuality for money, but Holly’s story makes her experience undeniably relatable. As I turned each page I couldn’t help but wonder, were the bad relationships I justified really much better? Don’t we all make choices for validation and a sense of feeling loved when we are young? Equal parts celebrity gossip and emotional insight I was reading in my car before work, at my lunch break and in the bathtub every free moment over the weekend. I know reading a former Playboy mansion veteran’s life story isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but if you were ever interested I definitely recommend it!
If you’ve read “Down the Rabbit Hole” please join in the conversation. I would love to hear your opinions good, bad or everywhere in between!