A Visit from the Goon Squad

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Dolly Peale (La Doll) Character Analysis

Also known as La Doll, Dolly is a famous PR consultant and celebrity in New York City. Dolly’s reputation is ruined after she organizes an event where a malfunction burns many of the party’s famous attendees, leaving them with awful scars. Dolly cannot find PR work after this, and worries about providing for her daughter Lulu, whom she struggles to connect with. Eventually, Dolly takes a high paying job trying to redeem the image of a genocidal dictator named the General. After this project, she moves out of the city and opens a gourmet shop. Though nobody recognizes her as a formerly famous person, Dolly is happier after the change.

Dolly Peale (La Doll) Quotes in A Visit from the Goon Squad

The A Visit from the Goon Squad quotes below are all either spoken by Dolly Peale (La Doll) or refer to Dolly Peale (La Doll). For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Time and Memory Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Anchor Books edition of A Visit from the Goon Squad published in 2011.
Chapter 8 Quotes

Entering Lulu's bedroom, Dolly felt like Dorothy waking up in Oz: everything was in color. A pink shade encircled the overhead lamp. Pink gauzy fabric hung from the ceiling. Pink winged princesses were stenciled onto the walls: Dolly had learned how to make the stencils in a jailhouse art class and had spent days decorating the room while Lulu was at school. Long strings of pink beads hung from the ceiling. When she was home, Lulu emerged from her room only to eat.

Related Characters: Dolly Peale (La Doll) (speaker), Lulu
Page Number: 145-146
Explanation and Analysis:

Throughout this Chapter, Dolly and Lulu’s relationship is explored during their trip to a foreign country to do PR work for The General. Their relationship is strained as the result of Dolly’s fall from fame after a party in which a light display malfunctioned and burned the guests. This event led to the loss of Dolly’s job and her incarceration. Since this time, Dolly’s relationship with Lulu has existed in a state of ruin. She is trying to regain stability in their lives through her work with The General, and in this scene she enters Lulu’s room to tell her about the trip they are going to take.

Lulu is the only thing in Dolly’s life that holds any meaning, and she desires connection with her daughter more than anything else. Her impression of the bedroom with its bright colors shows the way in which Lulu is the bright spot in Dolly’s life, but the stenciled princesses are a reminder of the past, suggesting that though Dolly has been released from prison, the memory of this time period and the ruin it has caused will remain. The fact that Lulu only emerges from the room to eat further shows the deterioration of their relationship and the depth of their disconnection from one another.

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Dolly Peale (La Doll) Character Timeline in A Visit from the Goon Squad

The timeline below shows where the character Dolly Peale (La Doll) appears in A Visit from the Goon Squad. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 7: A to B
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption  Theme Icon
...is easy to do since Stephanie has begun working freelance for a PR woman named La Doll . Stephanie writes this deception off as protecting Bennie, instead of lying. She notes that... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
After a second meeting, Stephanie goes to her boss’s office. Dolly (La Doll) tells Stephanie that she can feel her negativity, and she should cancel her... (full context)
Chapter 8: Selling the General
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
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Dolly Peale, a PR woman, has taken a client named “The General,” who is a genocidal... (full context)
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Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption  Theme Icon
Before she took the job, Dolly was copyediting textbooks until 2 am, sleeping until 5 am, and then doing English lessons... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
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Ruin and Redemption  Theme Icon
Around 6 am, Arc calls and tells Dolly that they are not happy about the Times article. She tries to reason with Arc,... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption  Theme Icon
Dolly met her ruin on New Years Eve, two years ago. Before this New Years Eve... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
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After the positive review of The General, Arc calls and tells Dolly that she is being paid monthly, so she needs to do more work. That night... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption  Theme Icon
Dolly enters Lulu’s bedroom and is struck by the colors. Her eyes linger on images of... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption  Theme Icon
Dolly tells Lulu that she has to take a business trip. She figures Lulu will want... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption  Theme Icon
Dolly and Lulu meet Kitty at the airport, and Dolly is immediately struck with regret. Kitty... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption  Theme Icon
When they arrive, they go through twenty checkpoints before reaching The General’s compound. Dolly looks for signs of trauma on Lulu, but is surprised to find Lulu staring down... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
...greets them and tells Kitty he and The General have watched all of her movies. Dolly is worried about what Kitty might say, but she acts like a starlet, and even... (full context)
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Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
...take them out for a tour. Kitty decides to stay and drink, but Lulu and Dolly go. Before leaving, Dolly tells Kitty not to overdo the alcohol, and to remember whom... (full context)
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
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Arc takes Dolly and Lulu to an outdoor market in the city. Lulu picks out a star fruit.... (full context)
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Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
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That night, Dolly can’t sleep for fear of an assassination attempt. She wonders how her life has arrived... (full context)
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Ruin and Redemption  Theme Icon
Dolly, Lulu, Kitty, and Arc arrive in a jungle, and camouflaged men come from the trees.... (full context)
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When The General notices Kitty, Dolly watches the power of recognition move across his face. Kitty moves easily toward The General... (full context)
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Dolly is overjoyed by Kitty’s acting, and feels relieved that the job is done. She feels... (full context)
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The soldiers whisk Dolly and Lulu back to the cars. Lulu rests her head on Dolly’s lap and cries... (full context)
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A short while later, Lulu emerges from her room in her school uniform. Dolly is surprised that she wants to go to school, but Lulu asks what else she... (full context)
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
Dolly develops the photos she took of Kitty with The General. After she receives the photos,... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
...later, The General comes to New York to speak about his country’s transition to democracy. Dolly and Lulu have moved out of the city, but they drive back one night to... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
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During dinner, Arc asks if Dolly has seen Kitty’s new movie, in which Kitty plays a jockey and rides on horseback.... (full context)
Chapter 13: Pure Language
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Alex learns that Lulu has known Bennie since she was a child because her mother, Dolly, was a friend with Bennie’s ex-wife, Stephanie. Their food arrives, and Bennie is careful not... (full context)