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 #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’s journey into Wonderland, after Holly 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 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.
I admit it. I’m one of those people who watched The Girls Next Door, and was totally won over. They seemed to have such fun! Holly and Hef were so cute! Bridget and Kendra were hilarious!
Then they suddenly all went their separate ways. We were left with replacement blondes, and vague answers on what actually happened. Which I always found a bit odd.
Cut to Holly releasing a tell-all, and frankly, I’m amazed it took me this long to get to it. She doesn’t hold back, with some brutal honesty about herself, and how she felt while she was living there. Not to mention the brutal honesty about Hef and Kendra. Wow. Remind me not to get on Holly’s bad side.
I think it takes a lot of courage to lay everything bare like this. I’ve seen reviews calling her a prostitute and all sorts, and I’m not sure that’s entirely fair. Some questionable decisions, sure. But talking so frankly about how those decisions came back to haunt her can only help other women in similar situations. I’m a big fan of peeling back some of the PR gloss!
That said… there is a little bit of playing the victim. Not lots, it didn’t bother me a whole bunch, but enough. She did also “collaborate” with another writer, which is fine for a memoir, but does make you wonder how much of it was polished up for her at the end.
All in all – four stars! Check it out if you love entertaining memoirs that give you a peek behind the curtain to see all the dirt.