Author: Nancy Jo Sales
288 pages, Published by It Books
Buy The Book: Amazon
The true story that inspired the Sofia Coppola film
Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Orlando Bloom, Rachel Bilson: robbed. More than $3 million in stolen clothing, jewelry, shoes, and handbags reported missing. Who is behind one of the most brazen string of crimes in recent Hollywood history? Meet the Bling Ring: a band of club-hopping teenagers from the Valley with everything to lose.
Over the course of a year, the members of the now infamous Bling Ring allegedly burglarized some of the biggest names in young Hollywood. Driven by celebrity worship, vanity, and the desire to look and dress like the rich and famous, these seven teenagers made headlines for using Google maps, Facebook, and TMZ to track the comings and goings of their targets. Many of the houses were unlocked. Alarms disabled. A “perfect” crime— celebrities already had so much, why shouldn’t the Bling Ring take their share?
As the unprecedented case unfolded in the news, the world asked: How did our obsession with celebrities get so out of hand? Why would a group of teens who already had so much, take such a risk?
Acclaimed Vanity Fair writer Nancy Jo Sales found the answer: they did it because each stolen T-shirt or watch brought them closer to living the Hollywood dream . . . and because it was terrifyingly easy. For the Bling Ring the motivation was something deeper than money—they were compelled by a compulsion to be famous. Gaining unprecedented access to the group of teens, Sales traces the crimes minute by minute and details the key players’ stories in a shocking look at the seedy, and troubling, world of the real young Hollywood.(Summary provided by It Books, a HarperCollins imprint.)
The Bling Ring by Nancy Jo Sales is a true crime, companion book to the film directed by Sofia Coppola bearing the same name. For those of you who missed out on the sensational story that made headlines several years ago, The Bling Ring is a true story about a group of teens who routinely “went shopping in” aka burglarizing celebrity homes. The main source material for the book originated from an article Sales wrote for Vanity Fair about the bling ring called “The Suspect Wore Louboutons.” Sofia Coppola read the article and purchased the rights to make it into a film titled The Bling Ring.
The Bling Ring is an interesting look at youth obsession with the cult of celebrity. Throughout the book it’s apparent that a few of the teens involved wanted to feel close to the celebrities they admired, and part of feeling close was entering their homes and stealing clothes, jewelry, and other valuables. I was engrossed in the way Sales describes the entitlement the teens involved felt to invade the celebrities’ homes. At one point Sales describes how two of the teens used Paris Hilton’s Twitter updates and an internet search of her neighborhood to rob her home. When they finally got to Paris’s house, there was a key under the doormat. The teens entered her home “went shopping” in her closet and even hung out in her nightclub room. Sales goes on to describe how the bling ring robbed Hilton repeatedly.
Hilton was one of many celebrity victims the teens targeted. The most shocking incident Sales writes about is the robbery of Orlando Bloom’s home. The teens stole over $500,000 worth of items from the actor’s home. One of the perpetrators even stole art and a rug to decorate her home.
The Bloom robbery leads to one of the most fascinating sections of the book. Sales writes a large portion in The Bling Ring about Alexis Neires. Alexis was charged in the robbery of Orlando Bloom’s home. It was the only robbery that she was charged for out of the many the bling ring committed. However, Alexis denies she entered Bloom’s home and claims to be innocent. Sales details in the book how she was on assignment for Vanity Fair covering the bling ring case and was granted interviews with Neires. One of the interviews was even caught on film for Pretty Wild, the E! reality show Neires’s family was starring in at the time. Sales’s account of the interview and the taping of the reality show in the midst of Neires’s legal issues was like taking a peek behind the scenes of “reality TV.” I highly suggest watching the episode of Pretty Wild titled “Vanity Unfair” while reading The Bling Ring. (The episode is available on Netflix.) Seeing Neires ‘s reaction to the article after it was published adds another layer to the attitudes of the teens involved in the crimes. Ironically, while serving her jail sentence, Neires was in a cell next to Lindsay Lohan, one of the victims of the bling ring. Neires had no involvement in the Lohan robbery, but I still wonder if they talked at all when they were neighbors briefly in jail. Sales includes many unbelievable but true details like this throughout the book.
Sales writes using interviews with the suspects, police sources and other media related to the case. Sales includes passages from her interview with Nick Prugo throughout. Nick was the alleged ring leader of the bling ring, Rachel’s wing man. He helped plan most of the burglaries. However, despite his extreme involvement in the crimes, Prugo comes across in a sympathetic light. Sales writes about how his confession informed the police that the teens were behind many robberies that were unsolved or never reported. Sales’s detail of Prugo’s treatment by his first attorney, his crisis of conscience, and his naivety regarding how the justice system works were fascinating to read about.
With The Bling Ring, Nancy Jo Sales presents a startling portrait of teens obsessed with celebrity to the point of violating the very celebrities they worshiped. It’s a story of compulsion, entitlement, delusion, and societal pressures that lead to criminal behavior with very real consequences.Now that I’ve read the book I can’t wait to see Sofia Coppola’s film version of the crimes.
FTC Disclosure: I purchased the above mentioned book. I receive a small commission on all purchases made through using the Amazon links on this site.
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