1-Sentence Summary. True story about a group of rich teenagers, The Bling Ring, who crashed into Hollywood celebrities’ houses and stole clothing, shoes, undergarments and even naked photos just to feel nearer to their idols.
Why I Picked it Up. Tell me, wouldn’t you be interested in knowing more about the actual teenagers who easily stole stuff from Hollywood stars like Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton and Orlando Bloom? Plus, I also remember that there was a big hype about the movie with the same title directed by Sofia Coppola because the movie showed Emma Watson’s transformation from squeaky clean Hermione Granger to the wild child Nikki (or Alexis Neiers in this book) wagging her tongue out in a nightclub. So yes, I picked it up because the idea of Hollywood teenage burglars is intriguing.
Why It’s A Gem
- IT’S LIKE WE’RE FOLLOWING THE CASE TOGETHER. The author, Nancy Jo Sales, does a pretty good job of making us feel like we’re in this journey with her as she uncovered the case. Together with her, we tried to make sense of it all from why they did it, what made them do it, how they did it, who was responsible, what happened after they stole from people… Plus, a lot of the content stuck to being more factual-based approach, than a personal opinion by the author. Nancy Jo Sales ensured that her book is mostly professionally-written, rather than forcing her subjective thoughts to the readers. So you do feel like you’re solving the crime with the author, rather than what could have been a huge assumption-based story..
- GETTING A MORE COMPLETE STORY FROM VARIOUS SOURCES. Sure, she reports based on her first-hand account like her interviews with some of them and court appearances. But she also tried to piece the story even better by bringing in plenty of sources to refer to from TMZ gossip articles, videos and photos from the papparazzis, statement reports by the police, interviews with other people who are involved etc. By compiling everything together, Nancy Jo Sales have made our reading experience much more pleasurable and more informed, as we try to guess who started it all, who pushed the operation through, and who was blatantly lying to everyone or backstabbing on their former ‘friends’.
- GETTING TO KNOW THE REAL BLING RING. Reading through, you’ll be surprised to find that the teenage burglars are most likely a lot different from what you might imagined at first. In fact, two of them were apparently popular enough to get their own reality show on a popular channel even before the whole ‘Bling Ring’ ordeal came to light. Complete with photos and anecdotes about the gang, this book helps to paint a picture of the kind of person they are and why they do certain things.
Why It Can Be A Rock
- SOMETIMES IT WAS TRYING TOO HARD. In some parts of the book, it seems like the author was trying too hard to make a point. This is especially true for the first few chapters where she was trying to stress that a segment of teenagers these days are fame-obsessed. I felt that she could have highlighted that fact with a few points and then move on to something else because plenty of these points are common sense. But no, she dragged on about that one point throughout a few chapters, making me feel anxious on when can I move on to the good stuff. So please, just grit through reading the starting introduction chapters and you will then be greeted with The Bling Ring’s fascinating stories soon enough!
- THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH PHOTOS. Since the true story was so tabloid-worthy, I expected for the book to have a lot of photo materials. There were several shots of Alexis Neiers, Tess Taylor and Nick Prugo, but there wasn’t much to go about with the rest of the gang. I can’t help but wish that there were more visual materials to refer to.
As A Reading Panda, I’d Give It :
(6 out of my 10 bamboos)
Although the book has a very good depth into the story, but there’s a limit to it because Nancy Jo Sales mostly stick to the facts. I’m pretty sure that there are more materials that she would have wanted to show us, but probably couldn’t because she might not have permission to publish them. So it is a good thing and I don’t mind this flaw too much since it seems like the author is ethical and professional about the book.
Nevertheless, despite me giving the book a 6 out of 10 ratings due to the limited materials exhibited within the story, I was still hooked on turning page by page all the time. In fact, surprisingly, I actually enjoyed the book 5 times more than I enjoyed the movie because the depth of the book does justice to this fascinating real life story and oddly, the book is much more fast-paced than the movie, I feel.
Just a little preview into some of the real Bling Ring gang’s stories, here’s a short video from Access Hollywood on a very brief analysis of the case. I’d really recommend to read the book as there’s more to this story than the video.