The stars of the show was always the "Girls" to me, and I particularly liked Holly. Bridget was a little too frilly and perpetually bubbly for my angsty teen tastes, and Kendra was too boisterous and fake.
I stopped watching when they left, because somehow it felt disloyal to continue watching without the three of them, and I also didn't really like the new girls. They were younger, ditzier, and something just felt off. I realize now that I was probably starting to realize what a screwed up situation the whole thing was.
Even though I wasn't watching the show anymore, every now and then I'd google them to find out what they were currently doing. I never watched Kendra's show, because I just didn't relate to her at all, but I also didn't watch Holly's new show when it came out. This was mostly due to the fact that I didn't have access to the correct channels, but also because I had matriculated by then and I was working almost non-stop. I'd like to watch it now though...
Cut to a few years later and here's me randomly googling Holly Madison when lo and behold, it turns out that her new tell-all book has just been released. Of course, I quickly got hold of it and where my preferred genre is fiction and I would normally put off any non-fiction reads for months, I started reading this immediately.
What an eye opener. When Holly says tell-all, she really means all of it. Sure, I'm sure there's another side to each of the stories, and Kendra has already retaliated by saying that she's rewriting history... but I'm more inclined to believe Holly in this case. Putting this memoir together with what I witnessed from the show, I believe that this is a true account.
I'm not surprised by the backlash that she's gotten after this though. Holly is extremely honest about her feelings and she does come off as bitchy sometimes. I'm sure she stepped on some toes, but it's amazing that she's grown so much that she's confident enough not to worry about what others think of her. She knows her worth, and she wasn't willing to compromise on the truth to spare anyone's feelings. I applaud her for that!
She calls herself a born-again feminist, simply because people have sneered at her when she had previously called herself a feminist. Ignorance and willful malice around the whole feminist issue often have people thinking that feminism means that women can't be sexy or have a relationship (especially a multiple partner relationship). I don't agree, but in this case I think born-again feminist is a good description of Holly's life.
Our mistakes don't define us, but it's really easy to let them. Holly made a bad choice in a crappy situation when she was 22 (still more a child than a grown-up), and everything just snowballed from there. Emotional abuse is a real issue and although I've read that people are critical of how it affected her, being a victim myself, I completely understand why she stayed in that situation for longer than she should have. Stockholm syndrome also floats through my mind when I think of everything that she describes -- especially the rules of the mansion...
Encompassing everything from when she finished school to her new life as a mother and wife, this book was well written and a great read. I'm really glad that Holly has found the peace that she was always looking for, and I wish her all the best for the rest of her life. I'm sure we'll hear from her again...
“But let that not be the moral of my story. True happiness doesn't come from simply getting married. I don't believe a woman's worth should be measured by whether or not she's married.”
"Marriage and family are certainly beautiful parts of life, but I believe those things can truly be appreciated only when we find, love, and respect ourselves first."