Monday, January 4, 2016

Book Review: "The Bling Ring" by Nancy Jo Sales

Do you remember hearing about "The Bling Ring" or the "Buglar Bunch"?  Back in 2008-2009, several homes of young celebrities like Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Orlando Bloom were burglarized.  Surveillance video from at least two of the crime scenes were released to the public.  These videos showed that the criminals were not seasoned thugs, but instead were teens!  These teens, pretty well off in their own right (but not celebrities), stole millions of dollars in clothing, cash, jewelry and artwork before they were caught.

This book chronicles the robberies as told to the author (and Vanity Fair journalist) through interviews with some of the bling Ring members and the police department documentation.  The focus is mainly on Nick Prugo and Rachel Lee - the two leaders I guess, although there are differing reports on who was the real mastermind between the two of them.  Nick confessed everything to the police, which allowed them to tie everything together and hand down all the charges.  The secondary focus is on alexis Neiers, but I think that had more to do with her willingness and desire to be interviewed for this (while still trying to maintain her innocence).

The story that unfolds tells of this group of teens who grew up just outside Hollywood and became obsessed with fame and celebrity.  They stole the clothes and jewelry because they wanted a piece of it - they would wear the clothes out clubbing and feel like they were part of the fame machine.  The author does a good job of providing historical background as to American youth culture through the decades and the effect of reality television and celebrity gossip "news" on the culture today.  The fact that these kids could easily locate and scope out these celebrity's homes through internet map searches, then discover their whereabouts through gossip sites or Twitter (to be sure they weren't home at the time) is just so simple it's crazy.  But the attitude that it was okay because their targets were so rich, they wouldn't miss it - is staggering.  Then that they used the stolen goods to promote their own pseudo-celebrity by getting themselves photographed by paparazzi at Hollywood hot spots borders on insanity.  One Bling Ring member "accidently" wore a stolen necklace to a court date... thereby adding another criminal charge to her record.  How do you forget that?  It's like their was no guilt felt at all.

This book was the inspiration for a movie by the same name directed by Sofia Coppola.  I haven't seen it, and despite starring Emma Watson (whom I adore), I probably won't.  This book satisfied by curiosity about this crime and Google searches gave me adequate updates on the main players.  This book is quickly becoming outdated or out of our social recollection though - so if you are interested at all in this, go ahead and read it.

The Bling Ring
by Nancy Jo Sales
It Books, 2013
268 pages
Source:  Library


1 comment:

Becca W said...

I haven't read this book yet, but I want to-the movie was okay, nothing great, despite having Emma Watson in it.

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