The Road Through Wonderland:
Surviving John Holmes

Dawn Schiller
ISBN# 9781605420837
Trade Paperback
US $19.95 / CDN $22.95

Also available on Kindle.


Dawn Schiller Receives Courage Award! 

The President's Commission on the Status of Women Recognizes Dawn Schiller for her Courage and Vision in Working for a World Without Violence Against Women and Girls. International Women's Day, March 8, 2010. Eastern Oregon University.



Coming in 2010 is the launch of Medallion’s first nonfiction title! Look for The Road Through Wonderland: Surviving John Holmes by Dawn Schiller to hit store shelves in August 2010.

The Road Through Wonderland: Surviving John Holmes is Dawn Schiller’s chilling account of the childhood that molded her so perfectly to fall for the seduction of “the king of porn,” John Holmes, and the bizarre twist of fate that brought them together. With painstaking honesty, Dawn uncovers the truth of her relationship with John, her father figure-turned-forbidden lover who hid her away from his porn movie world and welcomed her into his family along with his wife.

Within these pages, Dawn reveals the perilous road John led her down—from drugs and addiction to beatings, arrests, forced prostitution, and being sold to the drug underworld. Surviving the horrific Wonderland murders, this young innocent entered protective custody, ran from the FBI, endured a heart-wrenching escape from John, and ultimately turned him in to the police.

This is the true story of one of the most infamous of public figures and a young girl’s struggle to survive unthinkable abuse. Readers will be left shaken but clutching to real hope at the end of this dark journey on The Road Through Wonderland: Surviving John Holmes.

Also check out the movie Wonderland (Lions Gate Entertainment, 2003) for a look into the past of Dawn Schiller and the Wonderland Murders.


Lions Gate Entertainment, 2003

“When I got an advance copy of The Road Through Wonderland, I thought I already knew the story. I picked it up casually, and then I could not put it down. I was up till 3 a.m. reading it. The power of Dawn Schiller’s writing is that within a few pages, you are so drawn into her harrowing, roller-coaster life with her fractured family and then with porn star John Holmes, that you almost become her while reading it. There is not much separation between writer and reader. Schiller draws an unforgettable portrait of a lost, drug-addled corner of late 1970s Los Angeles and what it was like to be a lonely girl targeted by a predator in that world. The most mesmerizing memoir since Jeannette Walls’ The Glass Castle, The Road Through Wonderland is one long, chilling money shot.”

~ Dana Kennedy, correspondent and journalist, AOL News, The New York Times, People, Time

“Dawn has survived. This book is a testimony to her will to overcome. As we wrote, shot, and cut Wonderland, she allowed us absolute transparency on a darkness few ever experience. She understood hers was a story that had to be told, not just as a cautionary tale against the horrors of violence and abuse, but as a beacon leading others in her predicament out of peril. This book is her triumph, but the narrative weaved within these pages is a true nightmare that will haunt you, as it did me, for years.”

~ James Cox, director and cowriter of Wonderland

“Dawn Schiller’s chilling account of her youth as the underage mistress of legendary porn star John Holmes is infused with the goodness and humanity that ultimately delivered her from her abusive ordeals. A classic story of an innocent young woman’s descent and self-redemption, The Road Through Wonderland is gritty and starkly honest; it is at once a horror tale and a story of triumph.”

~ Mike Sager, writer at large, Esquire; author of Scary Monsters and Super Freaks


Not only will Schiller’s haunting story stay with you, but her beautifully descriptive writing will as well.

This book is for anyone who has ever wondered why and how adults—or, for that matter, society—could turn their back on abused children. Schiller’s painful insights help us begin to understand how these horrible things might happen.

A haunting story in beautiful form.

. . . Dawn Schiller manages to write so beautifully about something so shatteringly repulsive. Her picturesque descriptions [demonstrate] her ability to somehow connect with the beauty of the natural world while being neglected, exploited, and abused by the human world.

The thing to take away from The Road Through Wonderland is not that it is a bizarre or extreme story, but that it is a girl’s true story and gives us a rare and haunting look into what surviving takes.

This important book illustrates the complexity of the victimization of children. For too many youth, victimization is not a single event but a process or even a state of being.”

~ Mitru Ciarlante, Youth Initiative Director, National Center for Victims of Crime

“Dawn’s writing candidly weaves through her horrifying existence during what should have been her carefree and innocent teenage years. I helplessly experienced her body, mind, and spirit being gnarled by the very adults who should have protected her but chose instead to destroy her. At times I was not able to put the book down; at others, I had to cry and hug my own teenagers, desperately wanting to comfort the girl on the pages. . . . This book is an absolute must for teenagers and especially for the adults who should be safeguarding them against the evils in this world.”

~ Paula Lucas, founder and executive director of Americans Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center

“A compelling book by an unwavering woman who tries to take back control of her life after living in a world of drugs, murder, abuse, and human trafficking—all under the control of one man, porn idol John Holmes. The emotions are strong throughout this well-written book and lead the reader into a world few travel and survive. I was unable to put the book down!

Though Hollywood used the real-life tragedy of the Wonderland murders to produce a pretty, neatly packaged movie, Dawn Schiller’s life was anything but neat and pretty.”

~ Susan Murphy Milano, violence expert and author of Time’s Up: A Guide on How to Leave and Survive Abuse and Stalking Relationships

The Road Through Wonderland is a gripping and beautifully written memoir about Dawn Schiller’s teen years with John Holmes. This riveting account moves the reader from Dawn’s impoverished beginnings in a rough neighborhood to a much worse life under the spell of John Holmes. Drug addiction, sexual abuse, hooking and being sold for drug favors, suicide attempts, physical abuse that almost left her dead, psychological trauma, and being way too close to multiple murders: Dawn endured far too much for any teenager. This book is a firsthand account of Dawn’s descent into hell and her struggle to survive.”

~ Lois Gresh, New York Times best-selling author of The Twilight Companion: The Unauthorized Guide to the Series

“Dawn Schiller’s harrowing account, The Road Through Wonderland, is a must read for everyone but especially professionals trained to identify and respond to horrible abuses such as those Dawn endured during her years with John Holmes and others around him. As I read, I wondered what we as a community can do to allow kids like Dawn to reach out for help rather than face death at the hands of their abusers on a daily basis. Unfortunately, in Dawn’s case, by the time the abuse came to the attention of the police, she was already eighteen. Though very incapable of caring for herself, she was legally seen as an adult. And though visibly battered by Holmes, she was returned to his “care” by police. I am thankful that our response to intimate partner violence and the exploitation of children and especially our “throwaway teens” has improved over the last thirty years. However, we have a lot more work to do before people understand how predators like Holmes target vulnerable children and that these troubled children are worth saving.”

~ Sgt. Joanne Archambault, San Diego Police Department, retired; executive director of End Violence Against Women (EVAW) International; coeditor of Sexual Assault Report

“This is the grim, interminable plight of a "throwaway" teen with nowhere else to go, a cautionary tale…”
~ Publishers Weekly (May 31, 2010)

"The Road Through Wonderland is a both saddening and uplifting memoir, very highly recommended."
~ Midwest Book Review, “Biography Shelf” (September 2010)

“Schiller’s writing is gripping, and the reader gets sucked in to this twisted tale. The story is so shocking it’s hard to believe that she lived through these terrifying events. This book is hard to put down and definitely provokes the reader to want to continue to see what happens next.”
~ Nicole Will, Portland Book Review (March 2011)