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The Bling Ring: How a Band of Celebrity-Obsessed Teenagers Shocked Hollywood Paperback – Apr 25 2013

2.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Dey Street Books (April 25 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062245538
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062245533
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.7 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 200 g
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #258,273 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


'For a satire on America's modern day celebrity culture, The Bling Ring is hard to beat.' The Guardian 'With its depth of insight into extremes of shallowness, and its human scale, reads like a minor classic of our times.' The Observer 'Jaw-dropping' **** Star --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

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.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was a good light read, but I found it confusing at times with all the players in the game. The best part of the book was the explanation as to how our society led these teenagers to do what they did.
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Format: Paperback
This book talks about fame, teenagers, and society in as many ways possible.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x97adf444) out of 5 stars 105 reviews
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x986912dc) out of 5 stars Rather straight forward, but perhaps a bit dense. May 22 2013
By A. Grimes - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I pre-ordered this book as, like the other reviewer, I've been fascinated by this case for a while. I, too, watched the Lifetime movie, read the Nancy Jo Sales article in "Vanity Fair," and watched "Pretty Wild" (the reality series focusing on one, possibly two, members of the "Bling Ring") in addition to having followed news of Sofia Coppola's upcoming film very closely. I read this book yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed it. Several things are taken from the Vanity Fair article, making this feel at times like an elaboration on such, which is what I had expected upon seeing this book was being released.

In the book, there are additional facts from police reports and references to things discovered by TMZ. Unfortunately, that means there is not a lot that's new here for people who followed this case as closely as I have. That said, the interviews with some of the members are worth the price of the book, in addition to a few things second-in-command Nick Prugo told to police about the involvement of other individuals not charged with any crimes that I had not read elsewhere, such as the possible involvement of "Pretty Wild" star Tess Taylor.

The only caution I have to give in regards to this book is that Sales spends a fair amount of time referencing sociological studies about fame & going on small tangents comparing mastermind Rachel Lee & Prugo to people like Bonnie & Clyde, using historical evidence to support her thought process. This could be a bit dense for some readers, who might expect more sensationalism from such a tabloid-friendly case. It's worthy information and it certainly helps with context, but it does make the book a bit deeper than the case appears to be from a cursory look.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x986545c4) out of 5 stars Good not Great June 13 2013
By MK - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
Extended version of the author's interesting article for Vanity Fair. Book is less successful when the author tries to give deeper meaning to the specifics of this story. Although I have no doubt they exist, the author's attempts to explain them come off as contrived and reaching. Nevertheless an interesting quick read.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9862f618) out of 5 stars Close To Home Sept. 13 2013
By LG - Published on
Format: Paperback
It was my turn to select a book for our book club to read/discuss. I chose Nancy Jo Sales's book "Bling Ring" because it hit close to home--literally. The criminal teens lived in surrounding neighborhoods and attended local schools. Initially, that is what drew me to the book. However, the way Nancy Jo wrote it helped us understand that this was not just a story about a few local teens gone bad. She connected the dots to illustrate her point that these kids are somewhat a product of a families gone bad and society gone bad. I don't think Nancy Jo excuses the teens from their actions by doing so, but she helps us to understand the role that dysfunctional families, drugs, reality TV, social media, and the music of the period played in the lives of the teens during that time. By writing the book in that way, Nancy Jo prompts us to think about what we can and should do, as parents and as members of society, to help our children and others avoid pitfalls that exist.

I hope Sofia Coppola is right about this just being a bad period of time that will soon be behind us. I appreciate Nancy Jo's efforts to help make that happen by writing this book in the way she did. It was not only entertaining, but came with a message. The book club members loved the book and the discussion it prompted.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98a4ff60) out of 5 stars "They weren't as rich as other people in Calabasas, or their victims either. Which made them wannabes." June 30 2013
By Amelia Gremelspacher - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The celebrity culture has been decried on many fronts, often in the same publications that detail the latest story of the "it" girl of the moment. "51% of 18-25 year olds said their most or second most important life goal- after becoming rich-was becoming famous. With one per cent of the population controlling 40% of the wealth, the new and ingenious ways to spend money have sparked wistful envy in the rest of us. Adults often leverage themselves into debt in an effort to copy the lifestyle and appearance.

The children of the almost wealthy believe that fame and wealth are their birthrights. Reality TV has told them so. Teen age billionaires and magazine covers have proved it to be true. The media has made them the focus of their efforts. So a band of four, more or less, decided to walk into famous homes and take the trappings. Those robbed felt invaded , and so they were. Their possessions were used to make a facade to transform the thief into the rich and famous. After all, one of the original targets, Paris Hilton, was in fact famous for being famous and the release of a well timed social media sex tape.

These children's entitlement extended to their flaunting their new clothing online, and posing in imitation of their heroes. They stole money and inhabited the same clubs. And the media responded by giving them shows and featuring the Bling Ring on magazine covers. Now a movie chronicles the phenomena. The author does an erudite and extensive case for his theories. He has done his homework and cites the research. He manages to do this within a fascinating and flowing narrative. Some of his sentences, like those cited, are awkward or grammar free, but this technique rather helps the theme along. Of course there is the question, now what?
30 of 43 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x985fb5e8) out of 5 stars Interesting read, but hypocritical author. May 25 2013
By Katya - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
Nancy Jo, this is Katya calling. I'm calling to let you know how disappointed I am in your story. There's many things that I read in here that were false. Like you saying that "If buddha sat under a tree for four days then I can do this" when Alexis said "FOURTY" days.

Seriously, there were quite a few mistakes in this book that could have been easily picked up on (for someone who is such an expert on pop culture, she couldn't even get the air dates of Girls Next Door right...anyone with access to Google can figure it out) and misquoting people when there are videos all over the internet of their actual interviews. If she can't get small facts like that right, how are we to trust her to report the case accurately?

I bought this book because I had followed this case in the media as it unfolded, and also watched Pretty Wild when it aired. Hearing Alexis Neiers story recently of how she was heavily addicted to hard drugs during the time of the burglary and her reality show, and how she has since completely turned her life around (she's now over 2 years sober, married and with a child) really touched me. I went through similar problems during my late teens/early 20's and was inspired to see a young girl overcome her demons and admit to her mistakes.

While the book was an interesting read, I felt almost disgusted at times by how judgmental and immature Nancy Jo could be - going as far to write in her thank yous "Thanks to my dad, for teaching me to work hard (and not to burgle)" and "Thank you to David, for making me laugh on the phone by saying, "This is upper-middle-class crack head behavior". I miss his wisdom". I felt like this was really inappropriate and unprofessional. My favorite quote (from The Great Gatsby) is "Whenever you feel like criticizing any one, just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had" and I think that Nancy Jo needs to remember this - as stated in her book, Alexis was sexually abused by a family member as a very young child, physically abused by her father and given prescription drugs extremely early in her life - all of these things would mess up anyone psychologically. It influenced her behavior and she has grown from it, and for Nancy Jo to offer fake sympathy for her in places throughout the book and then basically turn around and laugh at her is really horrible. Especially since she gave an interview about the famous "This is Alexis Neiers calling" clip from Pretty wild, saying: "I wondered what about that moment people still found so entertaining, three years later. I don't mean to be a party pooper here, but I've never found the clip all that funny. Alexis was in real distress during that call" How nice of her to say, right? Well it would be...if she wasn't CONSTANTLY retweeting other people's jokes about it and referencing it in her own tweets - for all her judgment about "fame hungry" people, she is clearly using this girls pain for her own fame.

The most ironic thing about this book is how the entire thing is about how awful it is that these kids are so obsessed with celebrities - and then on the final page, in Nancy Jo's author bio....she name drops that she's worked with "Damien Hirst, Hugh Hefner, Russell Simmons, Donald Trump, Tyra Banks, Angelina Jolie, Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton and Taylor Swift". Really??

I have no problem being fascinated with celebrities, in fact, i am myself. But don't pretend to be above it, when you're no better than any of those kids who you're judging for the same damn thing. At least they can admit to it.