Book Review: Down the Rabbit Hole by Holly Madison

holly-madison-bookWhen I read that Holly Madison, former star of The Girls Next Door, had a book coming out, I must say that I was quite surprised. The 35-year old former Playboy Bunny has certainly had her share of opportunities to speak out about her life living in the Playboy Mansion as one of Hugh Hefner’s girlfriends, but she has been mostly mum on the topic.

In Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny, Holly tells her story. (Note: This post contains an affiliate link.)

As someone who watched The Girls Next Door E! reality show, my perception of Holly was always that she was completely devoted to Hugh Hefner and wanted to become his wife. For whatever reason, they didn’t marry, she moved out of the house, and she went on to star in Peepshow in Las Vegas, which was all documented on her reality show Holly’s World. I wasn’t really sure what happened to her after that, but she seemed to be doing well enough. I just thought she stayed quiet about her Playboy Mansion experience because she was heartbroken over Hugh Hefner marrying someone else so soon after their break-up.

I was worried that Holly would come across as whiny, bitter, and sad. But, I was pleasantly surprised. Although she is clearly speaking her own truth, which doesn’t always paint others in the book in a positive light, she seemed to be self-reflective about the mistakes that she made and the way that her choice to associate with the Playboy brand has affected her life.

I think the fact that a number of years have gone by has allowed Holly to be more honest about her experience than others who have written about their time in the mansion. I read Kendra’s book, Sliding Into Home, a number of years ago, and although I really enjoyed it, I think Holly was a lot more honest about the ups and downs of living in the mansion. Holly also had some very interesting things to say about her relationship with Kendra, but I won’t post any spoilers here!

I downloaded the book for a road trip, thinking that it would be a quick read, but it was quite substantial and I really think that I got my money’s worth! (I paid $14.99 on my Nook. This was my first Nook purchase, and I will be writing more about my experience later.)

So, who would this book be good for? This book would be good for any person who actually watched the Girls Next Door reality show series and wants to know more about life behind the scenes in the mansion. It’s also good for any person who ever wondered about what motivated Holly to live in the mansion for 7 years, or any person who is curious about her true feelings about Hugh Hefner. Fans of Alice in Wonderland will enjoy the very relevant quotes scattered throughout the book that connect back to the book’s title.

Who is the book not good for? If you are a super-devoted fan of the Playboy brand or of Hugh Hefner, then this book will make you cringe. She is brutally honest about her good and her not-so-good experiences living in the mansion. In many of her stories, readers learn some no-so-nice things about the way she was treated by Hef. I must say, though, that Holly’s version of events is very believable, even if some people don’t want to read it.

Overall, it was a very well written book that kept me interested until the very end. I was happy to hear how Holly is doing now and it was enjoyable to read her reflections. Although her situation is highly unique, I think she shares valuable lessons about life, love, money, and fame, that any person can relate to.

Click to check this book out on Amazon: Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny

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Book Review | Sliding Into Home by Kendra Wilkinson

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!