Seconal Days: Valley of the Dolls (1966)

Hailed as ‘Dirty Book of the Month’ by Time in 1966, this novel was an instant bestseller. But not in Ireland, where it was illegal to sell it between 1967 and 1979. What does this classic of women’s fiction have to say about feminism, sex and medicine? With Dr Cara Rodway.


  • I think one of the reasons it was so successful is that it has a wonderful curtain twitching element: who are the real celebrities that it’s based on? Cara Rodway
  • The first film has been somewhat resurrected in later years as a sort of camp classic. Cara Rodway
  • I think cultural phenomena like ‘Sex in the City’ owe a lot to this novel and the narrative it created around women, friendship and work. Aoife Bhreatnach
  • The image through the 70s and particularly in the 80s of the female bunk buster author - that definitely owes a lot to Jacqueline Susann and her success. Cara Rodway


Films adaptations of the novel:

Valley of the Dolls (1967, dir. Mark Robson)

Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970, dir. Russ Meyer)

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