I needed a break from the bratty antics of Ramona Quimby, so I picked this book next. Read until 3 am this morning, then picked it back up as I was cooking breakfast. Could not put it down.
I admit to being a big fan of the reality tv show The Girls Next Door and Holly's World, which followed the lives of Holly, Bridget, and Kendra and Holly's move to Las Vegas after leaving the mansion. Holly was my favorite, with Bridget a very close second (Kendra was too damn annoying for my taste - that laugh alone is like nails on a chalkboard to me). So I jumped at the chance to read Holly's story about her time in and after living in the Playboy cult.
And cult is the best way I can describe her experience as part of the Playboy image/marketing scheme circa 1999-2010. There were rules and politics, all enshrined to feed the bloated ego of a fading icon. I always got the impression that Holly was a lot smarter about the situation and the relationships that surrounded her than the tv show or Playboy PR machine would portray her as. I didn't buy her "love and devotion" to the old man, especially when she had more emotion and connection with Bridget or Mary (Hefner's long time secretary) in a brief scene than in all the PR stunts. And I was right; she is smart, business savvy, and has quite the work ethic. She had enough good sense to avoid the hard drugs and prostitution ring, yet emotionally and mentally broken enough to stay for nine years (seven of which she was a main girlfriend) in a cycle of abuse. She owns up to her decisions to move into the mansion and every decision afterwards. However, she also has no problem naming names and burning bridges. I was pleasantly surprised to know that Bridget and Holly remain close friends to this day. The fact that Holly and Kendra are on the outs with each other is a healthy decision on Holly's part.
If you are a devoted HH/Playboy fan, you may see Holly as bitter, since Hef does not come out of this book looking good at all (and neither does Criss Angel). For me, it just validated that the good PR he gets is a complete control and fabrication of any and all situations. The financial mess that Playboy and HH is in now was pretty known to Holly and Bridget back when they lived in the mansion.
As far as the use of Alice in Wonderland theme to tie the book together, I think it was well done. Alice is a dark story dressed up as a children's fantasy story; likewise, Holly's time with Playboy was a dark story dressed up in sex and glamour. 4 stars and here's hoping Bridget writes a tell-all too.