Picks and Pans Review: Jacqueline Susann's Shadow of the Dolls

updated 06/25/2001 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/25/2001 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Rae Lawrence

It's time for summer camp with Anne Welles, her cheating husband, Lyon Burke, her hilariously dysfunctional rival Neely O'Hara and all their little friends: Valium, Xanax, Tuinal—even a special appearance by Vicodin. Basing this delightfully trashy tale on a rough draft of a sequel to Valley of the Dolls that Susann worked on before her 1974 death, Lawrence has awakened all the characters from the 1966 novel. This time—though they haven't aged more than a few years—they're raising children in the '90s. But not very well. While the parents are preoccupied with plastic surgery, rehab and lots of saucy sex, the teens begin to follow in their parents' wobbly, substance-impaired footsteps. The widespread abuse, the resulting numbness and such lines as "There is no Prince Charming...only Prince Charming-Enough" could strike some as sad, but the soapy, filthy setting is the most fun you can get without a prescription. (Crown, $22)

Bottom Line: More pills, more thrills

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