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Valley of the Dolls, by Jacqueline Susann

Second paragraph of third chapter:
No one had been more surprised than Neely. One critic had actually called her the freshest new talent to come along in many a season. This accolade, coupled with the new apartment, made her almost believe she was someone.
This was the best-selling book of 1966 (since I read the best-selling book of 1916 a couple of weeks earlier). It's a grim yet unputdownable novel about three women who get into showbiz in New York immediately after the war ends in 1945, and how over the next twenty years, on both coasts and in Europe, their lives are wrecked by men, by sedatives and by each other. Apparently readers of the 1960s liked to try and identify the characters with real stage and film personalities; I found the fantasy world constructed by Susann compelling enough on its own terms without needing to reach for external validation. I would love to see the film some time.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 26th, 2016 11:04 pm (UTC)
Where do you find historical bestseller lists?

I'd be particularly fascinated to find lists from non-English-speaking countries. It'd be fascinating to dive into what France or Germany were reading 100 years ago -- and likely easier second-language reading than the highbrow equivalents.
Nov. 27th, 2016 08:39 pm (UTC)
There's a set of lists on Wikipedia - 1910s, 1960s - from Publisher's Weekly, covering the USA. I have no idea about other markets, I'm afraid!
Nov. 27th, 2016 08:41 pm (UTC)
Nov. 30th, 2016 05:55 pm (UTC)
Have you read Susann's horrible SF novel, Yargo?
Nov. 30th, 2016 07:39 pm (UTC)
No, and you don't fill me with eagerness to seek it out!
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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