My Friend Anna by Rachel DeLoache Williams

Book Review

my friend anna

Book Description taken from Amazon

How does it feel to be betrayed by your closest friend? A close friend who turns out to be the most prolific grifter in New York City…

This is the true story of Anna Delvey, the fake heiress whose dizzying deceit and elaborate con-artistry deceived the Soho hipster scene before her ruse was finally and dramatically exposed.

After meeting through mutual friends, the ‘Russian heiress’ Anna Delvey and Rachel DeLoache Williams soon became inseparable. Theirs was an intoxicating world of endless excess: high dining, personal trainer sessions, a luxury holiday … and Anna footed almost every bill.

But after Anna’s debit card was declined in a Moroccan medina whilst on holiday in a five-star luxury resort, Rachel began to suspect that her increasingly mysterious friend was not all she seemed.

This is the incredible story of how Anna Sorokin conned the high-rollers of the NYC social scene and convinced her close friend of an entirely concocted fantasy, the product of falsified bank documents, bad cheques and carefully edited online photos.

Written by Rachel DeLoache Williams, the Vanity Fair photography editor who believed Anna’s lies before helping the police to track her down (fittingly, deciphering Anna’s location using Instagram), this is Catch Me If You Canwith Instagram filters. Between Anna, Fyre Festival’s Billy McFarland (Anna even tried to scam Billy) and Elizabeth Holmes, whose start-up app duped the high and mighty of Silicon Valley, this is the year of the scammer.

*Anna stood a high-profile trial in New York that has been followed voraciously by the media. She was found guilty of theft of services and grand larceny, facing up to 15 years in prison. The trial ended on 25th April.*

My Thoughts

This is a true story of how Rachel, a young woman, living and working in New York, met a woman called Anna Delvey.  Rich and exceedingly confident, Anna befriends Rachel taking her out to glamorous places, introducing her to rich and successful acquaintances and forming a relationship that most of us would call friendship.  They messaged daily and regularly met up for dinner and drinks.  However, Anna isn’t what she claims to be and this book takes the reader through the time of their friendship and explains the trail of deception that really took place.

I found this a quick and highly absorbing read.  Having not read up on the story in the media, I knew little of this true life tale of a con artist. I was worried at first when the book opened with the climactic end of Anna’s story, with the major story line divulged in the first couple of chapters. This concern was compounded with the fear this would be a story of how we can all be victims.  But it wasn’t.  What followed, I found, was a really fast moving, gripping and un-put-down-able tale of how Anna Delvey and Rachel’s friendship takes place and of the lifestyle Anna was so decadently determined to lead.  I found it well written and highly engaging.

I found it really interesting reading how Anna goes about her day to day life knowing that she is not what she makes out to be.  Living in hotels, the people she attaches herself to, the places she visits, the persona she so effortlessly presents.  The book explains how the two women’s friendship begins and develops over the many months that they knew each other and I was amazed at Anna’s elaborate lifestyle.  Living in New York and through her work, Rachel is also accustomed to visiting certain high-end places, trips abroad and meeting famous and wealthy people and I wondered if this made the forming of their friendship that bit easier.  Rachel clearly comes from a middle/upper class background and even though the things she did with Anna she may not have been able to afford herself, she didn’t necessarily find them unimaginable.

I really enjoyed reading the later part of the book once Rachel contacts the police.  It develops into a crime novel and I found the pace and actions of both Rachel and the detectives very engaging.  I really wanted to know how Anna had managed to do it: with the technical and practical side of the fraud and where Anna was managing to get money from.  I would have loved to have learned more about this side of the story.

It also touches on questions such as why Anna chose the path she did.  Was she suffering mental health issues? Was it a lifestyle she thought she deserved?  Also, Rachel asks herself why her? Was it something within her own personality that made her a target for this or was it being in the right place at the right time?  I don’t want to dwell on my own personal views of Rachel or Anna as I want to keep this a review of the book, but I think Rachel’s own background plays a role in this tale, and made me less sympathetic towards her. I think this story tells us a lot about western materialism and status culture, but whatever Anna’s motives were, the amount of effort it must have taken to keep this act up, her drive and determination to do it must have been immeasurable.

 

I really enjoyed this book and will be recommending it!

I was lucky enough to win a copy of this book, in a giveaway hosted by @bestbookforward

 

4 thoughts on “My Friend Anna by Rachel DeLoache Williams

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s