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BOOK REVIEW: Down the Rabbit Hole by Holly Madison

| 4 July 2015 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: Down the Rabbit Hole by Holly Madison

Dey St.
June 2015
Paperback, $29.99
Reviewed by Steph O’Connell



If you ever caught an episode of the show Girls Next Door, you’d be well aware of the fact that Kendra was the one who wanted to have fun, Bridget was the one who wanted a career, and Holly was the one who cared about Hef…

What you may not realise is that these were the roles dictated to the girls by the producers of the show, and Hef himself.


A university student of twenty-two, struggling to make ends meet, Holly was about to find herself without a place to live. She took advantage of her foot in the door at the playboy mansion and asked Hef if she could move in. A night out with the girlfriends and Hef – a man some fifty-four years her senior who offered her “thigh opening” Quaaludes – and one very strange, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it bedroom routine later, and Holly was told “You can stay for a while and we’ll see how it works out.”

Glad to find herself with a secure, if rather expensive roof over her head, Holly didn’t realise quite what she was getting herself into – namely seven years in an emotionally abusive relationship, being constantly reminded that she was “replaceable”, and that she should be seen and not heard.

Throughout this time she convinced herself she loved him, ignored the negatives, and dreaded being kicked out because she was sure no one else could ever want her; a mindset common among victims of abuse.

Hef kept his girls under thumb, denying them jobs, holidays, and making them adhere to a 9pm curfew every night. He pitched the girls against each other because he liked the drama, while at the same time making sure that nothing affiliated with the Playboy Mansion showed even the slightest hint of drama.

It really is no wonder that Holly lost sight of who she was and what she wanted, while keeping to Hef’s rules and trying to fit into his very particular girlfriend mold.


This is a quick, easy read, and it’s easy to relate to Holly’s voice throughout the book. There were some syntax issues, and a lot of ellipses and brackets, but these didn’t get in the way of the story like they might have in a work of fiction. Holly comes across as honest and engaging in the telling of her story, if a little too adamantly without any blame, but one can understand why she wants to paint herself in the best light possible, given the nastier side that people on the internet have shown her.


Down the Rabbit Hole is a look inside the morbidly fascinating world of the Playboy Mansion, but beyond that it’s a story about a woman getting herself out of a bad situation, building a life for herself, and being more than a man’s property.

No wonder Hef’s not happy!


Category: Book Reviews, Other Reviews

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