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

Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny by Holly Madison
Publisher: Dey Street Books
Genre: Memoir, Non-Fiction, Recent Historical
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

The real, untold, and unvarnished story of life inside the legendary Playboy Mansion—and the man who holds the key—from the woman who was Hef’s #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 in Wonderland after she 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—quickly devolved into an oppressive routine of strict rules, manipulation, and battles with ambitious, backstabbing bunnies. 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 and the infamous parties, as well as what her relationships with her Girls Next Door co-stars, Bridget and Kendra were really like. Holly talks candidly about a subsequent abusive relationship, 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.

Exotic and sad, but touching, too.

I picked this book up because it was recommended. Talk about a bird in a gilded cage. Holly Madison lived through a lot in her life and it’s impressive she’s made it to the other side.

The writing is good. It reads like being told a story by a friend. There are cautionary tales within the book. Nothing is as impressive on the outside if it’s not on the inside. The Playboy mansion looks fantastic, but from her point of view, it sure seemed more like a prison. I have to admit this story is from her view, but who else’s should it be from? It’s her book. She’s lived a lot in her short years and it was refreshing to see her come out on the other side.

The author keeps from getting too salacious, but also leaves tidbits of her personal life in the story. It’s not all roses and she doesn’t mince words, but that makes it a good read. She’s honest.

If you’re looking for a tell-all about the mansion, then this might fit the bill. Might not. If you’re looking for a Cinderella story that is interesting and can be taken as just that, then this might be the book for you. Give it a read.

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