Tag: cult classic

Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann

Posted December 6, 2015 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Classic / 0 Comments

Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline SusannTitle: Valley of the Dolls (Goodreads)
Author: Jacqueline Susann
Published: Time Warner Books, 1966
Pages: 467
Genres: Classic
My Copy: Paperback

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Pills! Pills will fix everything. Known as dolls, these red, yellow or green pills all serve a purpose. Although the more frequently you take them the more tolerance you build up, requiring more pills in a vicious cycle. Valley of the Dolls is a 1966 cult classic written by Jacqueline Susann, exploring the world of pop culture and Hollywood. This is a roman à clef that explores the life of three friends; Anne, Jennifer and Neely and their aspirations in life.

Jacqueline Susann is very blunt in the Valley of the Dolls and it is painfully obvious what she wants to say. This did not stop me from absolutely enjoying this novel and I found myself slowing down to stay in the world of these three woman. Susann wants to explore ideas of fame, money and even love; showing that just because you have what seems like the perfect life, does not mean it is perfect, particularly when it comes to fame. Each character seems to succeed in their perspective careers and once at the top, there is nowhere left to go but down.

Each of the three characters are different and the shifting perspectives help explore their lives. I really liked Jennifer, she was sassy and head strong. She was considered a great beauty, with big breasts and it was interesting to follow her life. She frequently becomes nothing but a pair of breasts and people often cared about nothing else about her. Anne was the more grounded character and gave a nice balance between Jennifer and Neely. I did not like Neely as a character; a big shot actress and often a difficult diva. I liked how different each character was but I did find myself wanting the sections about Neely to hurry up and end so I could move on to one of the others.

The novel deals with plenty of social issues, and we have to remember that the 1960s was a time of great political and social change. This allowed Jacqueline Susann a chance to express her opinions on sex, sexism, addiction, abortion and mental illness. At times it can be very descriptive and hard to read, especially when it comes to the sexism and slurs. I think this is an important element of the book and really allowed you to feel the negativity that these women had to struggle through.

Valley of the Dolls was such an enjoyable novel, not without its flaws but I found myself sucked into this world. I am glad to follow these three woman, through their ups and downs in life. I find myself become more of a fan of the roman à clef; which is a book about real life disguised as a piece of fiction. I know this novel gets a lot of criticism, mainly about Jacqueline Susann’s bluntness towards the social issues but I found this wonderful and so happy to finally read it.

Twin Peaks and Dream Interpretations

Posted February 5, 2010 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Film & Television, Psychology / 7 Comments

Culture is all around us, especially in the music and the media, but we tend to miss it. I missed this one because I missed the show entirely but this bit of insight makes me want to watch the show.

David Lynch’s cult classic Twin Peaks has a few great examples culture. Mainly the use of dream-analysis; Dale Cooper solved the death of Laura Palmer in his sleep, literally. But he doesn’t remember, he knows that he knows but it’s been kept from him. He states in the show ‘My dream is a code waiting to be cracked – break the code, solve the crime’

Interestingly enough Lynch didn’t have an interpretation of the dream, it was an after thought; he had a ‘waking dream’ of this whole dream sequence and decided to add it into the show.

I’m sure The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud would have come in handy in solving the crime. But what is the book really about? Freud description is;

In the following pages, I shall demonstrate that there is a psychological technique which makes it possible to interpret dreams, and that on the application of this technique, every dream will reveal itself as a psychological structure, full of significance, and one which may be assigned to a specific place in the psychic activities of the waking state. Further, I shall endeavour to elucidate the processes which underlie the strangeness and obscurity of dreams, and to deduce from these processes the nature of the psychic forces whose conflict or co-operation is responsible for our dreams.

Though the book is widely considered to be his most important contribution to psychology, I have serious doubts about this book. For starters, people think differently and I suspect that they would dream differently as well. I don’t pretend to understand the whole Dream Interpretation theories; I just don’t think every dream would fit neatly into these interpretations.