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Chapter One: I am Born

I have died and woken up in a Dickens novel

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You've got to climb to the top of Mount Everest
to reach the Valley of the Dolls.
It's a brutal climb to reach that peak,
which so few have seen.
You never knew what was really up there,
but the last thing you expect to find
was the Valley of the Dolls.
You stand there, waiting for
the rush of exhilaration
you thought you'd feel- but
it doesn't come.
You're too far away to hear the applause
and take your bows.
And there's no place left to climb.
You're alone, and
the feeling of loneliness is overpowering.
The air is so thin you can scarcely breathe.
You've made it-and the world says
you're a hero.
But it was more fun at the bottom
when you started,
with nothing more than hope and
the dream of fulfillment.
All you saw was the top of that mountain-
there was no one to tell you
about the Valley of the Dolls.
But it's different when you reach the summit.
The elements have left you battered,
deafened, sightless-and too weary
to enjoy your victory.

from Jackie Susann's poem 'The Valley of the Dolls'
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