Review: Down the Rabbit Hole by Holly Madison

5 out of 5

As you can see, I listened to this on audio book. Holly read it herself, and she did a really great job.

First things first – I feel like I have to go full disclosure here. This feels very close to my heart because I was there when the world met Holly… and I loved her. I loved the Girl’s Next Door until she left, and I watched her show, Holly’s World on E. I was devastated when it was cancelled. Yes, devastated. Because I love Holly. Bridget was my 2nd fave and with her love of the horror and Halloween times, I felt we had a lot in common. I did not like Kendra – thought she was a total bitch, and my opinion hasn’t changed.

Yes. I’m giving 5 out of 5 to this book. Why? Because she gave me what I wanted. I wanted to know what went on in the mansion. I wanted more info on when she broke down at her 5th year anniversary with Hef, because it was so out of character. I wanted to know about her show, about how she got to the mansion in the first place, what it was like with Bridget and Kendra. What was with that bullshit ending to the 5th season where she rolled her suitcase out the door with hardly a look back?  Well, Holly told me all that and more.

Let’s just get to the juicy part. For anyone wondering, I would not call this graphic. I mean, it’s about her time living in the Playboy mansion and she does talk about her sex life- the good and the bad – briefly. She covers it in one chapter, hits it hard and goes on. I think she’s graphic enough you understand what went on, but it’s not told in a lascivious way – anyone looking for an erotic-tell all will be disappointed. There is way more sex in the fantasy novels I read. She managed to keep to the Girl’s Next Door tone – sexy and somehow innocent….even though you know it’s a show about a sex mogul living with three buxom young women who often run around naked. Let’s just say that there is sex. You don’t become a girlfriend, you don’t move in the mansion, without first gettin’ it on with the Hef. But don’t worry. You aren’t alone. Let’s just say it seems like the worst sort of sorority hazing you can imagine and I was shocked. Shocked, I tell you. They always acted on the show like they had a “normal” sex life with Hef, that they didn’t engage in the things our dirty minds went to when we thought of the Playboy mansion. Well. Some of us were probably right. But I’m not going to tell you about it. You gotta get the book.

Holly had a lot of problems with girls in the mansion. If you watched the show, you know that she was kind of reserved and … sometimes people would think of her as an ice queen. However, I always felt she was just sort of an introvert, or shy. What made me really sad was the way Hef dealt with it – which was by egging it on. In the beginning I did not like the tone Holly took on when talking about Hef. She called him an old man and spoke of him with a very mocking tone. I mean, she is the one who hooked up with a septuagenarian and stood up for him when people would talk shit about it. She had no problem upholding his virility then. She always talked about having sex with him. But considering everything he put her through, the unnecessary drama and the fake persona he adopted, I understand. And I wonder if in defending him, she wasn’t just trying to convince herself.

There was some catty name calling. I mean, for her to talk about other women as “plastic bottle blonds”…. the pot calls the kettle out a couple times. I love her, but… I’m not stupid. Neither is Holly. The thing I think I learned from reading this is the real problem I have with the likes of Playboy. When a woman poses for Playboy or other nudie stuff, when she is a porn star or a sex worker, we have been groomed by society to view them as objects. These women are immediately treated with disdain, even by other media outlets, who should know a thing about the sex trade. Even when porn started calling itself “main stream” in the 90’s, the misogynistic bent of the industry did not go away. The women are treated like objects not only sexually, but for making money. It would be different if the sex industry loved and valued these women and gave them worth and agency – but they are among the worst at treating them like cogs in a vast machine: non-human, replaceable and of little value.

There were times I wanted to reach through the listening device and shake her. She has a tendency to ignore things when people are hurting her and find a way out rather than deal with them. As if she has no say in her own life. I mean you really do teach other people how to treat you – but I think she’s coming to us with this and saying don’t make that mistake, even though she doesn’t address that issue directly.

I have never been a fan of Playboy but I the Girl’s Next Door and Holly’s World. I wish her every happiness. I really recommend this if you are into The Girl’s Next Door or want to see some light behind the cogs in the Playboy machine.


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