Book Review: The Bling Ring ​by Nancy Jo Sales

Our summer intern from this year, Lydia Kim, is off at college but she is still occasionally writing book reviews for us! The following review covers the book The Bling Ring: How a Gang of Fame-Obsessed Teens Ripped Off Hollywood and Shocked the World by Nancy Jo Sales.

We’ve all heard the story. Between 2008 and 2009, a group of teenagers robbed a group of celebrities’ homes around Los Angeles and Calabasas. Nancy Jo Sales, a writer for Vanity Fair who often writes about celebrities, covered the topic. The group was named the “Bling Ring” by the media. This book includes a collection of interviews and the writer’s own thoughts as to why kids today are so fascinated by the rich and famous. The case became so popular that Sofia Coppola made a movie about it.

It was an enjoyable read and I think the case is fascinating, especially considering that most of the teenagers involved in the case came from wealthy homes. However, the book was disorganized and author included too much about the celebrity victims and the specific items they had lost. It was also difficult to judge what was real or not, since the author, as the interviewer, was biased. There were times when the author posed some thought-provoking questions, and the case truly makes you wonder why society is so consumed with celebrities that they become almost god-like figures.

Sales described a turn of reporting around the early 2000s when the media suddenly exploded in reporting gossip and reporters focused on the “young, hot, female, and fairly troubled.” I would have liked to learn more about that change because the target audience of this book was fairly young when the change occurred and likely grew up believing it was normal for young, female celebrities to garner so much negative attention. The book is definitely angering in some instances because the teenagers seemed so detached from reality at times. They have the common teenage disillusion that they will never get caught, but they take it to a whole new level.

Overall, I’d recommend this book if you’re looking for something quick and light. Though the case is interesting and there are moments that make you think, don’t expect too much from a book focused on the belongings of heiresses and teen celebrities.