Valley of the Dubious Tie-Ins

A special pink edition of Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls is due out this month to mark the book’s 50th anniversary – but no serious fan would be seen without a branded clutch bag, earrings and eyeshadow

In an era when merchandising is everything, any book worth its advance comes with its own branded mug, T-shirt or handy cotton bag. Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls, however, has always been that little bit more marvellous. A 50th anniversary edition of the 30m-selling novel is released later this month with a black cover, pink pages and its own matching notebook and mug – but this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Valley of the Dolls clutch bag
A Valley of the Dolls clutch bag available on Etsy. Photograph: PR Image

Elsewhere in the Valley of the Dubious Tie-Ins, readers who want to grow up just like Anne, Jennifer and Neely can buy a Valley of the Dolls T-shirt from Asos, a pink clutch bag and teeny tiny earrings from Etsy. In the US, Mac cosmetics released an eyeshadow called Sparkle, Neely, Sparkle: “the perfect brown with a hint of shimmer”, according to one reviewer. A report in the New York Times claims that Susann’s step-grandson Whitney Robinson has been in touch with NARS cosmetics, Christian Louboutin, Pantone and the Beverly Hills Hotel, among others. The paper also talked to the designer Jonathan Adler, whose $28 Dolls pillbox has been selling like hot barbiturates for a decade. “Canonical gay things tend to have tragic heroines, check; outré hair, check; glamour, check”, he confirmed.

Other literary heroines have their own must-have merch. If only Jane Austen had lived long enough to see the Mr Darcy Christmas tree decoration, or Shakespeare the Lady Macbeth guest soap. The ultimate tie-in, though, must be a scented “Library Candle” made to smell like an author. Oscar Wilde’s has notes of cedarwood, thyme and basil, Mark Twain’s tobacco flower and vanilla, and Edgar Allan Poe’s is cardamom, absinthe and sandalwood. Fortunately the manufacturers are too discreet to make candles that smell like living authors.

Katy Guest

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
BBC National Short Story winner – a plea to publishers to take risks
KJ Orr, the winner of the 2016 Short Story award, explains why writers need freedoms in order for the form to thrive

KJ Orr

07, Oct, 2016 @10:00 AM

Article image
Publication of unseen short stories by F Scott Fitzgerald is a coup - but they were never lost
A collection of previously unpublished tales, to be titled I’d Die for You: And Other Lost Stories, will offer valuable insight into Fitzgerald’s mature work

Sarah Churchwell

08, Sep, 2016 @3:45 PM

Article image
Surprised by the Booker shortlist? Don't judge the books, study the judges
As a former judge, I sometimes joke that the only year I correctly picked the Man Booker winner was when I was on the panel – it’s too unpredictable

Stuart Kelly

14, Sep, 2017 @2:32 PM

Article image
One Hundred Years of Solitude, 50 years on
Gabriel García Márquez’s seminal saga was published two days before Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was released, heralding the ‘summer of love’

John Dugdale

30, May, 2017 @6:00 AM

Article image
Big cheers for small publishers
The independent publisher Oneworld has won two Man Bookers in a row … and there are small presses in the running for the Baillie Gifford and TS Eliot prizes

Alison Flood

28, Oct, 2016 @8:30 AM

Article image
2016 Costa award: why the shortlist is making history
With entries from Rose Tremain, Sarah Perry and Francis Spufford, historical fiction is dominating the shortlist. So why are authors looking to the past?

John Dugdale

26, Nov, 2016 @3:00 PM

Article image
Game of Thrones meets House of Cards in Saddam Hussein’s new novella
The first English translation of Saddam’s warfare tale is to be published in the runup to Christmas, continuing a history of literary offerings from dictators

John Dugdale

16, Jul, 2016 @1:59 PM

Article image
The Man Booker International prize: a celebration of translation
The prize, together with the increased visibility of books by writers such as Elena Ferrante and Karl Ove Knausgaard, may be behind the rising popularity of translated fiction

Daniel Hahn

16, May, 2016 @7:00 AM

Article image
How Colin Dexter changed the face of crime fiction
Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse novels began a boomtime in crime fiction on television and in bookshops – and we are still feeling its effects

John Dugdale

24, Mar, 2017 @8:00 AM

Article image
Boccaccio in bikinis: the appeal of ITV’s Love Island
Some claim it’s Shakespearean, some Chaucerian – but in reality it’s more like the Decameron, a 14th-century collection of often bawdy tales

John Dugdale

14, Jul, 2017 @7:10 AM