I finished this book in a day and a half; it was a juicy read.
I had heard about Sofia Coppola’s film adaptation of the 2010 Vanity Fair article, “The Suspects Wore Louboutins” by Nancy Jo Sales, which inspired me to pick up Sales’ book The Bling Ring.
The book sheds light on the true story behind Coppola’s film, which tells the story of a group of teenagers accused of stealing more than $3 million’s worth of clothes, jewelry, and personal effects from a handful of celebrities’ homes. Dubbed “The Bling Ring” and led by Nick Prugo and Rachel Lee, the teens broke into Paris Hilton’s home (4 times!), Orlando Bloom’s, and Lindsay Lohan’s—just to name a few. Sales uses this book to explore, in great detail, why these fame-obsessed and privileged teenagers would commit such a shocking crime.
The Bling Ring was a very quick read, like an long (but engrossing) magazine article. It was interesting, engaging, and backed up with a lot research by Sales—she had interview access with most of the teenagers during the arrests. Photos of the suspects and victims are included alongside interviews with the celebrities that were ripped off, like Orlando Bloom. Picking up this book I just kept asking myself, first, how did they get away with this for so long, and why did they steal from famous people?
This is what Sales set out to answer. The how was shockingly easy; Paris Hilton, for instance, left a key under her door mat. Orlando Bloom left his bedroom window open. The houses were never broken into, rather just entered. Along with Prugo and Lee, the accused include Alexis Neiers, who stared in the reality TV show Pretty Wild, as well as a handful of their friends.
The why is an entirely different story. In all of the interviews, the teenagers don’t disclose their exact reason for robbing the Hollywood stars. The closest we get to an answer comes from Prugo, “We just did it. I know it sounds dumb, but Rachel just wanted the clothes.” They wanted the clothes, the jewelry and maybe to emulate their lifestyles. The idea of celebrity worship, vanity, and obsession are major themes throughout the book. The answer to why is left up to the reader to determine, as the Bling Ring themselves don’t offer up much.
The Bling Ring is a fascinating and compelling read for anyone interested in celebrity culture, narcissism, and today’s lack of privacy in the media. It’s a sad look into the decay of youth and the compulsion to be famous; a great summer non-fiction read.
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