As a huge fan of the show The Girls Next Door that ran on E! for a few seasons, I was looking forward to reading Sliding Into Home by Kendra Wilkinson. It was a great memoir from an interesting TV personality, but I learned a lot more about the woman behind the image. Kendra was a troubled teen, turned girlfriend to Hugh Hefner. She is now a wife and mother who successfully nabbed her own spin-off show entitled Kendra after The Girls Next Door ended.
Although Kendra has settled into a pretty calm existence, it was a long and bumpy road to get there. The book chronicles her story, beginning with her younger years growing up as a rebellious child in San Diego. Her parents broke-up when she was very young and she struggled to overcome her daddy issues. Those issues, along with a lack of supervision, allowed her to get into a world of trouble. She began partying, sleeping around, and drinking at a very early age. Despite her mother and grandmother’s efforts to keep her grounded in sports and other worthwhile activities, Kendra drifted away from school and into a world of drug use and promiscuity. I won’t give away everything, but her story was very interesting. I think it was key that she tackle the roots of her insecurities and issues because that helps the reader to understand how she ended up at the Playboy Mansion.
Kendra is candid about her time there, yet she is very respectful of Hugh Hefner and the other girls. She talks about the things we all want to know about life as Hugh Hefner’s girlfriend – she discusses the crazy rumors about wild parties and bedroom romps, the many do’s and don’ts, as well as the fighting between she and the other girls. All in all, it was her experience at the Playboy Mansion that prepared her for her life today. She broke a lot of the rules to spend time with Hank Baskett, the NFL player whom she would eventually wed. Although Kendra only shared tidbits of Hank’s story, I would love to hear more about it. He seems like a genuinely interesting person who has been through a lot. His own background is what allowed him to care for Kendra and overlook her past.
For all of its great parts, there were one or two disappointments about the book. Namely, it’s not gritty enough. If you’ve seen any episodes of Kendra’s show, you know that Hank likes to keep the past in the past. Kendra was known as a party girl and he wasn’t happy about her writing such a candid book about her past exploits and drug use. I think it is because of this that she leaves out some key details about life at the Mansion as well as the truth about about an explicit tape of her and an old boyfriend that was released before the book came out. On the show she implicated that the whole issue would be discussed in the book, but it was not.
All in all, I think this is a great read for anyone who is a fan of either of her shows. There were a few surprises as far as life at the Mansion and even a few insights into the lives of Bridget and Holly, Kendra’s co-stars on The Girls Next Door. I have more respect now for Hugh Hefner, even if I don’t completely understand or agree with his lifestyle. It sure makes for great entertainment. Check out the book and let me know what you think!