Initially I found the book a little dull and thought it was just old-fashioned chick lit, but actually it's really good and addresses a lot of issues that women have to deal with today including careers, being financially independent, when to have children and how to protect a man's fragile ego if you earn more or have a better job than him.
Three women - Anne, Jennifer and Neely - meet up and become friends in New York in the mid-1940s and the book traces their friendship and their lives through the 1950s and 1960s. All the women work in the entertainment industry and go on to be really successful in their fields, but the success doesn't bring happiness and they all wind up relying on pills to keep them awake and thin, put them to sleep or simply to help them forget how lonely they are.
Sadly, the men always seem to disappoint and this book paints a grim picutre of them, but I suppose that's how some women saw men in the 1950s and early 1960s. In Valley of the Dolls, the men are weak, vain, shallow and reluctant to commit or even be loyal to the women they profess to love.
Most of the time they are more concerned with having a pretty, young and thin women hanging off their arms and off their every word than being with an equal. Even Lyon who is younger, more intelligent and has seen more of the world and should know a little better is just as bad.
The book is a sad reminder that yet again, it's really hard for a woman to have it all - a good job, a good man and children. You can only get a couple of those at most but not all three!
Anyway, it's a good book and very readable!