Rebello makes no excuses for the tawdriness of either the book or the film, but revels in it. Through detailed behind-the-scenes interviews and research, he brings the property to life in a book that is as compulsively readable as the original dishy source material ... For fans eager to explore the most minute details of their favorite bad movie, the book is a gift of a summer read, the kind to be indulgently plowed through, preferably with a champagne cocktail. And it’s not hard to imagine yet another depiction beyond this book—according to Dolls!, a movie about the making of Valley Of The Dolls would be a marked improvement on the original release.
Rebello is a skilled writer and shrewd observer of Hollywood ... a maddeningly detailed account of the making of the movie. The story must have looked good on paper ... If gossip is your doll, Rebello has the hookup ... The trouble is, few of these anecdotes are attributed or footnoted, leaving it to the reader to guess at the sourcing from the skimpy bibliography. In fact, one of the weaknesses of the book is the complete absence of footnotes, which are essential for an aspiring tell-all like this one ... There’s plenty to feed on in Rebello’s account for the legions of Dolls fans for whom no detail about Susann, Duke, Tate, Merman and Garland is too bland, but when all is said and done, I can’t help wishing that he had spent the time, effort and intelligence he squandered investigating Valley of the Dolls on a picture that better deserved his attention. Taste is taste, and Susann lovers will disagree, but when people wonder how or why the so-called New Hollywood emerged from the sludge of the ’60s, they might consider a double bill of Valley of the Dolls and another movie released in 1967: Bonnie and Clyde.
Rebello delivers a surfeit of detail — some chapters are so top-heavy with names and facts one fears they may topple over like one of the stupendous hairpieces featured in the film. Though the book is gossipy, it is full of surprises and even suspense — revealing how cutthroat and puerile Hollywood can be ... Rebello fills his book with (what we assume are accurate) factoids, but he seldom tempers his 'magnificent obsession' with the film to consider the significance of what he reports ... if such questions were considered, Rebello’s book might have inspired more contemplation and less gush, which could alienate readers just in it for the fun. So, let’s accept it as it is, a book to simply enjoy, especially after seeing the film, which I strongly recommend you do.