Cover Image: My Friend Anna

My Friend Anna

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Member Reviews

I find books about con artists fascinating - I want to read about their scams & how they got caught.  This had that and was written by one of the victims, so I thought it would be an interesting perspective.  No, it was not.  There's a lot of name dropping in this book, and a lack of self-awareness from the author.  We are told that the author is a nice person & has been taught that you treat others the way you want to be treated, yet she remains friends with a person that treats people horribly & calls them peasants.  I really struggled to find any sympathy for the author while reading this.  I thought that the chapters on the investigation & the court case were interesting, but it wasn't enough to save this book.
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Amazing, ultimately sad story. Anna Sorokin was a manipulative, greedy person who drew Rachel DeLoache Williams and others into her complicated orbit. As an outsider, reading this story, it’s hard to believe that so many people were taken in by this wannabe socialite. She managed to ruin the author’s life for a period, thankfully Williams has managed to climb out of the pit and recover her life. Well written and holds your interest.
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This is a fascinating book that tells of a complex and costly friendship with the ‘fake heiress’ Anna Sorokin. It’s a compulsive read because throughout you really feel for Williams and want a happy ending for her. At times you forget that this is not a work of fiction - it’s real life, real consequences, real feelings. I admire Williams for being so open and vulnerable by telling her story. It can’t have been easy to revisit her past, but she has done so with bravery, balance and humanity.
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A fascinating read about a fake heiresses and those she was able to scam with elaborate lies and claims whilst living in New York City.
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A stranger-than-fiction recounting of the author's experience with the "fake heiress" Anna Delvey (who recently went to court over the events detailed in this book). Williams is a capable writer even though the the book largely treads the same ground that other material about this case already has (the BBC podcast, the original NYMag article, etc), but maybe that's just proof that people can't get enough of con artists.
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This was a surprisingly good read and works as a modern fable when you think of the perilously fake social media world we live in. It is all too easy to look at folks who have trusted those of Delvey's ilk with sanctimony or pity, believing we would never allow the wool to be pulled so far over our eyes, and, even if it were, that we would be able to see the truth beyond.  This is a disturbingly fascinating tale.
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I love this book. It was smart, funny, and full of rich, vivid characters that stayed with me long after I had finished reading it. I would highly recommend it and, indeed, will be buying it for all of my friends as soon as I can.
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A fascinating non-fiction book about a fake heiress manages to con friends and businesses alike, written by one of her main victims.

It's easy to be sneery about the author and ask why did she get taken in, why didn't she ask more questions, who were they to be living such a ridiculous lifestyle anyway? But that ignores the fact these were young women living in the moment. The author believed a friend who pulled favours for her over and over - and sought to return these favours by temporarily paying a bill for her one time.

Of course, this was the moment where it all spiralled downward, where Rachel was suddenly in debt to the tune of thousands for her fake friend Anna who didn't really have the means to pay back any of it. Personally, I could see it happening to lots of people who are perhaps a little too trusting, just like many others. 

But it was interesting to read it playing out, and then to find out how Rachel helped with the investigation afterwards. I also enjoyed her attempts to understand where Anna might be coming from, what she might be thinking. In the end, however, I think Anna was/is still somewhat of an enigma. Or just a simple con artist who knows the mystery will fade the more she talks and admits.
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My Friend Anna is the “inside story” of Anna Delvey, the fake heiress who scammed New York, told by someone who believed they were Anna's friend, but ultimately was left with $70,000+ of debt. 
The book starts with the holiday in Marrakech, which was when the lies started to unfold, before returning to the start of the story, and following through the glamour, the lifestyle, the lies and ultimately the aftermath.
This is not a story I was familiar with before reading the story, but I found myself wanting to keep reading/find out what happened next. However there are a lot of name-drops (celebrities, designers, restaurants, spas, etc) and it partly felt like it was trying to impress the reader with the luxury lifestyle – somewhat wasted on me as I didn’t know most of them! I did appreciate that Rachel was honest about the stress which affected her general health & wellbeing but once we got to the “trial” part of the story, I did feel the book changed pace, perhaps because it reflected the change of pace from Anna’s frantic lifestyle but it seemed to drag.
Overall, I did like reading a first-hand account of how Anna operated & sucked Rachel (and others) into her world, but throughout I was constantly asking “why did she not do some reality checks on the outlandish claims?” or “How did she let it get to that point?” … but then its easy to say that when you aren’t in the situation. Did Rachel ignore the warning signs because she liked the life style that Anna offered? On the other hand Anna seemed to splash money around in a way that made it seem like she couldn’t get rid of it fast enough. I have sympathy for Rachel, and am glad she’s told her story & got some justice, but she was naïve, gullible & seduced by the lifestyle and I am not as sympathetic as she’d perhaps like me to be! 

#MyFriendAnna #NetGalley
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This is a courageous memoir from a woman who was scammed by Anna Delvey / Sorokin, the 'fake heiress'. I say it's courageous because Rachel writes in a lot of detail about the stressful and humiliating events which took a toll not just on her finances but on every aspect of her wellbeing. It would be easy for a review of My Friend Anna to focus on these events and not the actual book, as I have seen some others do, with criticism of her naivety, suspicions of her motive for writing the book and even saying that she deserved to be scammed! But this is a book review, not a character assassination, so here we go...

The book begins with the holiday in Marrakesh, which was the beginning of the end for the friendship between Rachel and Anna. We then have a little background about her life, working for Vanity Fair in New York. She meets Anna through a friend and is intrigued by her forceful, yet distant personality, her foreign air and her taste for luxury. They start spending a lot of time together but increasingly Rachel finds herself paying for things, for which she believes Anna will pay her back...

People are fascinated by con artists and how they get away with so much. This is one point of interest in the book. Luxury is another fascination and we are treated to many descriptions of exclusive restaurants, spas and hotels which the majority of us are unlikely to experience. Aside from this, the content does seem a little thin. There are many quoted emails and texts, which were obviously of use to the eventual prosecution of Anna but are very repetitive and most could have been edited out. I felt that the writing style was too straight-forward for my taste in memoirs and needed more flair. I like the title of the book because it emphasises that Rachel thought Anna was her friend but whether Anna reciprocated or was just using her, no one can know.

Thank you to Quercus for the advance copy via NetGalley. The book was first published in 2019. The paperback will be published on 14th October 2021.

[NB - This review will be on my blog, 23rd September]
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You know when you really look forward to something and then it’s a bit...meh? Well this book was just that. I'd seen it on peoples Bookstagram's for a while and really wanted to ready it, so when I got offered the chance via NetGalley and the publisher, I jumped at the chance.
Maybe its the Yorkshire in me but I really couldn’t believe that someone (i.e. Rachel, i.e. the author) had fallen for this crazy woman’s scams for so long? I mean fool me once, but twice and a third time...$70,000 dollars worth of fooling??? No I'm sorry. Whilst I have sympathy for what Rachel went through, I thought she came across as very gullible, naive and a little bit whiney. 
The book itself dragged on way too long for my liking. I think the author went into way too much minute detail about every little thing and often at her own expense as she just came off as more and more naïve. I may not move in the New York social scene but what on earth was it going to take for her to wake up and smell the coffee?
I’m glad that she eventually got the justice she craved( and deserved), but I think the book was a stretch too far and should have been kept for a dinner party story.
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I was immediately drawn to this memorable real life crime story of a fake heiress that was able to trick a multitude of people close to her and make them fall for her outlandish lies. Truly, sometimes reality is stranger than fiction!
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A really compelling account of how con-woman Anna Delvey managed to take advantage of the author Rachel Williams and leave her with a staggering credit card bill by trading on their supposed friendship. I found the book a real eye-opener as to how some people can manipulate others, often with the victims’ connivance. It may seem incredible to us reading the book now that Rachel didn’t see the writing on the wall sooner, but living in a “fake” world where all is surface and appearance, and the trappings of wealth all-important, I can see how it all happened. I’m dismayed that so many reviews judge Rachel herself and not the book, turning them into ad hominem attacks. Whether Rachel “deserved” what happened or not – and I don’t think she did – surely she can’t now be blamed for turning her ordeal to her advantage. Some people just can’t find it in their hearts to be either kind or generous, I guess, even in the world of books. Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and have also enjoyed finding out more about Anna herself, a truly sociopathic character if ever I saw one. A riveting read.
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My Friend Anna is a book unfolding the story of Anna Delvey, the fake heiress who scammed people and banks, as told by someone who thought they were Anna's friend, but were ultimately conned out of money. From the moment in Morocco in which Rachel DeLoache Williams had to use her credit card to cover the bill because Anna's card was declined, the narrative takes the reader back to the start and then unfolds the lies and the aftermath.

I don't normally read anything relating to true crime or similar memoirs, but I read a long read a while back about Anna Delvey so was intrigued to read more in this book. On the one hand, My Friend Anna does tell a gripping story, looking at how someone was drawn into a fake world and then what happens as it starts to go wrong. However, despite the thrills, it is also hard not to question the attitude and tone of the book at times, often focused on the brands and famous names involved in either of their worlds (as Williams was a Vanity Fair photography editor) and carefully contrasting the narrator with the fake heiress. The amount of connections and useful situations (even the idea of having a $36,000 charge anywhere near your own credit card) throughout the book make it perhaps a hard tale to feel sympathy for.

In terms of the book and its writing, I did enjoy it even if it got a bit slow at times and gave a lot more backstory to the narrator than to Anna, who even by the end you didn't hear much about. Maybe that's because it needed to follow the story of the lies, but I'm just not sure it worked as well to spend so much time hearing about attempts to get American Express' fraud team to take the issue seriously. I think maybe I went into it with the wrong expectations: I thought it would be more like the Fyre Festival documentary and give more around Anna's lies and fraud rather than focus so much on Rachel's every moment in their time together and then everything that happened to her as she tried to get Anna to repay her.

This is a decent read, especially if you like reading about scammers, that takes place in a privileged world of fancy hotels and restaurants and celebrity photoshoots. It didn't have as many gripping details and anecdotes as I expected, so maybe go into it expecting more of a memoir of deception and a portrait of Anna Delvey/Sorokin as she was to one person than a comprehensive look at her web of lies.
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Compulsive reading! Very much a true version of Mean Girls/Gossip Girl-style stories with lots of designers name-dropping, celebs, expensive NY restaurants/bars/spas/hotels. It feels weird that someone with a surname like 'Sorokin' is believed to be German rather than Russian for so long? And even weirder that a 'friendship' can exist where one partner pays for all the dinners/cocktails/private workout sessions, and even a luxury holiday - so it feels like the author is being a little disingenuous as the 'friendship' is more like a sugar daddy relationship... until things turn.

The second half of the book feels padded and repetitive and could have been more concise. But the ability of Anna to work her cons on banks is jaw-dropping and eye-opening! One to gasp over with your friends this summer :)
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My Friend Anna is completely addictive - I read until late into the night and was completely absorbed I hadn't realized that this was a true story until further into the book when I started to research the media alongside it. 
It is well written - although there are parts where it's a bit fluffy, I couldn't help but think 'how did you not confront this person sooner?'
Anna is completely audacious and seemingly sucked in a lot of people with her deviousness and lies and I really cant wait to see what TV makes of this story.
However, I did like reading a first-hand account of how Rachel was sucked into Anna's world.
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This book certainly had some fascination for me in terms of reading how people could be taken in so easily by a fairly obvious sounding con artist but nobody in this unedifying tale comes out of it particularly well.

There was just about enough detail to keep my attention until the end but there was also a lot of padding and you just wonder why Williams stuck around for so long when she realised just who and what The Fake Heiress really was.
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Interesting account of the 'fake heiress' , made even more intriguing having learnt that she's now free already!

It's amazing how many blind eyes are turned once people think you have money isn't it?!
Anna is indeed a sneaky little schemer. Though the people around her, including the author Williams, led themselves blindly down the path to ruin from sheer greed and the inability to say NO to someone who they thought had deep pockets.

I personally don't think any lessons were learnt from this situation by anyone involved. Such a fake bunch of people all around 🤔
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