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The Bling Ring: How a Gang of Fame-Obsessed Teens Ripped Off Hollywood and Shocked the World

The Bling Ring: How a Gang of Fame-Obsessed Teens Ripped Off Hollywood and Shocked the World - Nancy Jo Sales This review and others are posted at Read, Rinse, Repeat.

This story fascinated me when it was all over the news several years ago. I read all the gossip sites. I even watched The Lifetime movie. The upcoming film from Sofia Coppola has been on my radar for a while, in no small part because I want to see how Emma Watson pulls of a California girl accent. I've read articles by Nancy Jo Sales in Vanity Fair magazines, and I've always enjoyed her writing. So, even though I knew the basics of the crimes, I was interested in a more in-depth look, and I also realized I didn't know the outcomes of any judicial proceedings.

If you know nothing about the Bling Ring case, I think you'll find this book fascinating. Sales got several of the Bling Ring members to consent to interviews, even before their convictions. Even though only one of them seemed fully candid, it was still interesting to hear from the others. They are incredibly self-absorbed and fame-obsessed, largely without remorse for their crimes, and they are the type of people I prefer to view from a distance. We hear detailed recounts of the planning of the burglaries and the burglaries themselves. The "planning" consisted largely of, "Hey, what are you doing tonight? Nothing? Great. Let's go to break into Paris Hilton's house. She tweeted that she's out of town." Want to know how they broke into Paris's house? She left her key under her doormat. Seriously, folks.

I'll admit that I was not exactly sympathetic to hear that the likes of Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan had their homes burglarized. If anyone "deserved" it, surely it was these two? But when I read testimony from victim Orlando Bloom's grand jury deposition, I could almost feel his pain and sense of violation. Maybe (maybe) Lohan and Hilton were deserving of a little sympathy, too.

Sales writes objectively of these crimes, even when one of the ring members seems to attribute his participation to drug use and struggles with his sexuality. (Not surprisingly, just about all of them were admitted or alleged drug users or dealers.) He comes off the best, mainly because he is the only one who seems to have any genuine regret.

One cop told Sales, "They were a very successful crime ring. They were just really bad at not getting caught." I'll say! They bragged about their crimes, flaunted their loot, and seemed to believe that once they were through the doors of someone's house, they were entitled to anything they could haul out. What could possibly inspire this attitude? Sales looks to history, reality TV, and our fascination with fame for answers. I think the truth is simpler: spoiled teens, lots of drugs, and bad parenting.

Note - I was provided with an ARC by the publisher with the request for an honest review.