Sometimes things just happen in the most serendipitous way. You’re looking for a book to take on holiday – something unputdownable to really get your teeth into; a page-turner to peruse poolside. And then, just like that, that exact book is published – it’s absolutely perfect timing for your summertime reading. We are – of course – talking about Jacqueline Susann’s 1966 publishing phenomenon: Valley of the Dolls. But as a book that occupied the top spot on New York Times’ bestseller list for no less than 28 weeks, it’s much more than just a poolside read. Translated into 30 languages, Valley of the Dolls has sold more than 40 million copies since it was published in 1966.

valley of the dolls 50th anniversary

And so, in recognition of Valley of the Dolls‘ 50th anniversary, Virago are republishing the celebrated bonkbuster with a special edition paperback. If you haven’t read Susann’s bestseller before, you’re in for a treat. If you have, then you’ll know it’s definitely worth re-reading. Because, scratch below the surface of the page-turning, sexy exploits of Valley of the Dolls‘ showbiz starlets – Anne, Neely and Jennifer – and you’ll see that it’s truly an era-defining masterpiece. Sure, it’s gossipy, salacious and packed with pop culture, but it’s also tackles some pretty important issues head-on – Valley of the Dolls was way, way ahead of its time.

valley of the dolls jacqueline susann

Gender, sexuality, feminism, women’s rights, drug addiction and body confidence are just a few of the topics Valley of the Dolls treats with frank, no-nonsense style, making it every bit as relevant today as it was 50 years ago. Sure, the sex scenes are pretty graphic, and there’s despair, depression and drugs too, but Valley of the Dolls wasn’t just a bestseller because of its gripping, salacious narrative. There’s power in these pretty pink-edged pages. ‘Jackie, it seemed, understood by instinct that her readers were ready for the raw side of love… for a franker sexuality and a tougher kind of story – for romance with tears AND oral sex,’ says The New York Times.

jacqueline susann

Of course, the rags-to-riches tales of the novel’s protagonists will have you turning the pages to find out what happens next. Three gorgeous heroines making it big in a male-dominated world, tall tales of the rich and famous – Valley of the Dolls is a book you’ll read and instantly want everyone else to read too.

Published by Virago, Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann is available to buy online here.