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Publisher's Summary

The shocking, never-before-told story of the bizarre world inside the legendary Playboy Mansion - and finally the secret truth about the man who holds the key - from one of the few people who truly knows: Hef's former number-one girlfriend and star of The Girls Next Door.

A spontaneous decision at age 21 transformed small-town Oregon girl Holly Sue Cullen into Holly Madison, Hugh Hefner's number-one girlfriend. But like Alice's journey into Wonderland, after Holly plunged down the rabbit hole, what seemed like a fairy tale life inside the Playboy Mansion - including A-list celebrity parties and her own number-one-rated television show for four years - quickly devolved into an oppressive routine of strict rules, manipulation, and battles with ambitious, backstabbing bunnies. Life inside the notorious mansion wasn't a dream at all - and quickly became her nightmare. After losing her identity, her sense of self-worth, and her hope for the future, Holly found herself sitting alone in a bathtub, contemplating suicide.

But instead of ending her life, Holly chose to take charge of it.

In this shockingly candid and surprisingly moving memoir, this thoughtful and introspective woman opens up about life inside the mansion, the drugs, the sex, the abuse, the infamous parties, and her real behind-the-scenes life with Bridget, Kendra, and, of course, Mr. Playboy himself.

With great courage Holly shares the details of her subsequent troubled relationship, landing her own successful television series, and the hard work of healing, including her turn on Dancing with the Stars. A cautionary tale and a celebration of personal empowerment, Down the Rabbit Hole reminds us of the importance of fighting for our dreams - and finding the life we deserve.

©2015 Holly Madison (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about Down the Rabbit Hole

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
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Not just a former playboy bunny!

This story is super interesting, fun (mostly) and well narrated! I was enthralled that Holly finally got her fairytale ending!
Holly: Now what about writing that book on the losers you dated in Las Vegas before you met your husband. THAT sounds like it could (also) be a winner 🤩
Oh! My bad! YOU DID!! Way to go Holly!!

1 person found this helpful

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Love!!

I finished this in a couple days and enjoyed it so much. She did a great job telling her story! ❤️

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Loved it

Loved it! Had watched Girls Next Door when it was on TV and was looking forward to getting the behind the scenes look. Will recommend it. Great voices and performance by Holly Madison!

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Terrible

I thought this book was going to be about how she overcame hardships and obstacles in her life however I found it to be A poorly written catty way that she can get back at anybody in her life that she felt treated her poorly this was her outlet to get them back
I would not recommend this book to any of my friends

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Great Insight

I really enjoyed this book. It was great to see the inside view of this world and how she was actually treated.

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Amazing story. unique prespective

Loved this. Unexpected emotions in this book. the life of a playboy bunny isn't all it's racked up to be. The story, details and performance by Holly was Amazing.

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  • Km
  • 2019-09-11

Eye opening

I really enjoyed finding out more about Holly and her time in Hugh Hefner house.

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New favourite book!

This book most definitely did not disappoint and was very empowering! I ended up buying her second book because the first was so good I loved every minute of it!

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Riveting story!

For anyone who loved Holly on ‘The Girls Next Door’ and ‘Holly’s World’ and we’re genuinely curious about how she became who she is today, this is the book for you! Having Holly narrate her story was almost like an extended special. It was truly interesting to find out how things actually went down at the mansion. I had the complete wrong impression since it was depicted a certain way on E!. This was well-worth the purchase. Way to go, Holly!

#Audible1

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Guilty pleasure

If gossip is your guilty pleasure, this book will sure fill that void. Holly really shares a lot about her time with Hef and makes you feel like you were right there with her #Audible1

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  • Kevin Stokes
  • 2015-07-27

Very well written considering what it is.

As a man who mostly listens to fantasy and science fiction novels, this was a very unusual choice for me. Although apparently more than 1/2 of the USA would know who this woman was, I did not, for I had never heard of the 'Girls Next Door' reality show.
Ms. Madison does a very brief introduction of herself but quickly gets to where she moves into the Playboy mansion. Over 90% of the book is her describing a listless and unpleasant life where she can drive fancy cars and buy $1000 of clothes per month, but is prevented from advancing in life by draconian rules.
The main purpose of the book seemed to attempting to demonstrate to everybody how terrible Hugh Hefner is, and that she herself was just an innocent and intelligent girl that got herself in a bad situation. This is not her life story. There is so much left out of the narrative that it sometimes feels like she just wanted to cherry pick events where she felt she was wronged. For example, there is one instance where a security guard that had been friendly was rude to her. It had no reason to be included except that it bothered her.
On the other had, she really had no description of her life before the mansion. We don't know what her family had to say about any of this. What about high school and college boyfriends? There is only the briefest description of sexual activities that she participated in, because she wouldn't want to talk about that.
Overall, I thought this a much better book than you'd expect. Ms. Madison did a good job explaining exactly how everyday life worked in this bizarre household. My impression was that Ms. Madision indeed is no dummy, and that she did make some really terrible choices, but in the end, I think she did manage to skillfully turn it around in the end. Despite the shortcomings of this book, I mostly enjoyed it because it was so far out of my world. I don't know any people like this, who's life revolved around clothes, make up, and mind games with catty women.
So while keeping in mind that she wrote this self serving book because (as she states many times) she doesn't want people to think of her as a dumb bimbo, I still think she is a likable person, and I found it worth listening to.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 2015-06-28

Entertaining but a bit one sided and snobby

While I appreciate anyone willing to write about their life, their struggles, and their insecurities (some of the most seemingly confident people can't even summon the courage to do that), I feel that at times, Holly worked a little hard at trying to portray herself as the good girl. I don't know her personally, but you don't really have to know someone well to deduce that they at some point in their life did things they weren't proud of. I highly doubt that Holly, in her self described "prison" of the Playboy Mansion, surrounded by catty, conniving, women for almost a decade, never once did anything she wasn't proud of. I feel in order to write a true biography/memoir, one needs to tell the whole story and be truthful about who they were as a person at the time good and bad. This book was entertaining at best, it took me a few days to finish but I'm glad I did. I'd say, like a guilty pleasure TV show, this book will entertain you but don't expect it to insight any reflection or deeper thinking after its done.

90 people found this helpful

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  • Najima Rainey
  • 2015-07-11

Good beach read.

I never bought anything Hugh Hefner was selling. Not his cheap, trashy, idea of beauty, not his bs idea of the "playboy lifestyle" and definitely not the girl's next door. So I was actually kind of interested in Holly Madison's story. It's an easy, dishy, funny read and to be honest she's the least interesting part. Once the story gets into her post-mansion life it gets boring. It's definitely something for a long boring plane/car ride! By the time you're through the good stuff you'll probably be at your destination.

16 people found this helpful

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  • MaiduCali
  • 2015-06-25

Holly knows how to tell a story

I decided to pick this book only because I found the whole thing odd. But honestly, her story telling skills and performance make this audible book very enjoyable. While I don't know whether the whole story is true, I find that the book was entertaining. This book is meant to be an audio book.

38 people found this helpful

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  • Brianna Gallagher
  • 2015-06-24

"Mean girls", magicians, mansions, and more!

During the early 2000s my best friend and I (freshly out of high school) idolized The Girls Next Door. We bought the simultaneously sexy and wholesome act hook, line, and sinker. Although one got the feeling it wasn't perpetual sunshine and roses, it's clear life at the mansion was darker than it seemed.

Now that I'm approaching 30, this tell-all journey of personal mistakes and self discovery resonates with me on a different level. Despite her fame, and perhaps infamy, Holly's relatable struggles in her romantic and professional lives provided a humorous but thoughtful expose fraught with "mean girls", magicians, mansions, and more.

Holly is charming, although occasionally awkward in her phrasing, but decidedly mature and candid. Her "Alice in Wonderland" theme is nicely appointed by well chosen quotes at the begin of each chapter. This is the first memoir I've ever read, but I'm very glad I did. All together very interesting, and even slightly nostalgic.

59 people found this helpful

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  • Erica
  • 2015-06-28

I am ashamed I enjoyed this!!!

The Walking Dead books are my guilty pleasure. You know, something with no literary value, but you just really just enjoy listening to. This book isn't even intelligent enough to fall into my guilty pleasure category! I am actually kind of ashamed I enjoyed it so much! Holly Madison is her own biggest fan, and she will tell you about it for hours and hours in this memoir. She was always my least favorite GND, but now, I think she is lipstick (and a big boob job) on a skinny runt of a pig. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you! This gal has the audacity to mother-F almost everyone that she ever used as a stepping stone in her B-- career. I can't lie though, I did enjoy all the BS! Holly and I are the same age (or at least the age she claims to be) so this pop culture phenomenon is from my generation. I had a go as a Hooters Girl and a swimsuit model, and I related to the way she described her early days doing the same. So that being said, there was something in me that always enjoyed GND. They were enjoying my same lifestyle but on a much more grandiose scale! I grew up and left that all behind so this book transported me to a time and place that will never be again. I enjoyed that so much and thank Holly for the instant time machine, BUT I am leaving this book with absolutely no respect for her. Throughout the book she will try and convince you that she was a victim but her calculating ways always manage to shine through. She is like a junior high girl in the way she blames everyone else for every single bad choice she made. Just own it, girl! Plus, at our age, it is really in poor taste to talk about others the way she did throughout her book. And to all of those who thought Madonna had the absolute worst fake English accent ever SURPRISE!!! You know the feeling, the one where your skin crawls because you are embarrassed for someone? Well, you will get it every time she introduces a new chapter using it. All that being said, if you are curious at all about this lifestyle, you will never regret spending this book credit!

14 people found this helpful

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  • Tori Nicxole
  • 2015-06-25

The other side of Girls Next Door

Like many fans that read this book.. I was a hardcore fan of the Girls Next Door. I always appreciated Holly in the show but found her somewhat cold and distant. Just as I hoped this book tells why. Things aren't always what they appear. I appreciate her honesty & willingness to open herself up to again more criticism. It was nice to actually hear her tell her story & im sure it was the final stage of letting go. I'm proud of her & really didn't want the story to end. Good job Holly!

27 people found this helpful

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  • Marwa ashoor
  • 2015-06-23

Love!

Really really good couldn't stop reading. Highly Recommend to anyone that wants a interesting book.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Jasmine
  • 2015-07-01

Don't Fall for the Shameless Tricks!

I was so excited to listen to this and the anticipation to read it continued to build as Holly Madison shamelessly promoted her new book; however, as I listened to her audiobook, I felt like I was the one spiraling down the rabbit hole. The first 4 hours that I listened to, I was at the edge of my seat! Then, the next 3 hours, I was slightly losing interest and was hoping for more depth. The final 3 hours, I was completely over Holly Madison and her pathetic attempt to bash a host of people, all of which included Hugh Hefner, Kendra Wilkinson, and Criss Angel. She seriously played the victim, THE ENTIRE BOOK (with the exception of the last hour, in which she describes her current husband and the birth of her child *rolls eyes*).

Without a doubt, this book was destined to be excellent; but, only if she took some accountability. She complained that Hugh Hefner was essentially a controlling womanizer, but she didn't want to accept the fact that she was a glorified whore! How could she admit to asking to stay in the Playboy mansion because she had no where else to go and she hoped that it would lead to an acting career, all while calling the other equally ambitious girls, "Hefner's concubines"? As if she was innocent in everything! Absolutely appalling! There seemed to be a double standard when it came to Madison and everyone else.

I believe Madison was attempting to shock readers into disliking the legendary Playboy founder, but instead, I lost all respect for her. This story was one lame excuse after the other, no sense of accountability, and an utter waste of listening time. I am very disappointed.

83 people found this helpful

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  • amandabrackel
  • 2018-11-29

I wanted to love this SO BADLY.

"Girls Next Door" was one of my favorite shows, and Holly is one of my all-time fave reality show cast members. Given that, I was excited for some insight into the mysterious world of both reality TV and the bizarre world of the Playboy Mansion. While an autobio is the author's experience and I have a hard time questioning or critiquing that, this was REALLY painful to read. Nearly every single sentence could be distilled down to one of 4 things: 1) The Playboy girls are catty, 2) Holly is an innocent, cash-strapped country girl, 3) Hef was manipulative and controlling, and 4) Holly stepped into all of it, by accident.
Take these themes and infuse them into every story, rotating through them several times per minute, and you've basically listened to this book.

Sure, there were some interesting stories, but they're fed through the lens of a self-proclaimed plain, downtrodden, insecure, fragile girl and that feels really heavy on the "woe is me". If just read that Holly desperately wants to convince us of who she is... even if all of her claims of being the "nice girl" are consistently undermined by her own descriptions and words.

3 people found this helpful