Cover Image: My Friend Anna

My Friend Anna

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Wow this was SUCH an interesting read and I’m glad I read it before the Netflix dramatisation came out.  It was amazing to read from the authors perspective and while I struggled to truly feel bad for her, I completely understood how one could get themselves in such an awkward and tricky situation.  Towards the end of the book it felt a bit woe is me, let’s all feel bad for me and only me, but I still really enjoyed hearing about this crazy story and appreciate the author telling her side of the tale. I’ve even found myself defending Rachael when my friends have been discussing the show- it’s truly remarkable how people take fictional “true stories” from TV and believe every piece of what they see on the screen!
Was this review helpful?
Excellent book - and much better than the series! (although I haven't seen all of it). I was really impressed with the style of writing, and was gripped from the beginning. True-crime/scandal stories are all the rage at the moment but this is definitely one to read. I got quite emotional reading it, Williams is a talented writer; it's like a novel and a memoir at the same time.
If you've watched this, it's still worth reading - you get a very different perspective. 
Well written, easy to read.
Was this review helpful?

I finally finished this one (it was a struggle) to say the least. Rachel Williams is a very unlikable human being, and quite frankly deserved everything she got.  🤷🏻‍♀️

**ARC Via NetGalley**
Was this review helpful?
This was a fast, juicy read. It’s absolutely shocking that this really happened. 
I was along for the ride from the start and definitely felt like I was being played whilst reading it. Now I’m going to check out the Netflix adaption and see how it compares. 

My thanks to NetGalley and Quercus Books for this e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock or don’t have the Internet or a Netflix subscription you’ll have heard all about the Anna Delvey/Sorokin scandal.  The daughter of a rich Russian she shook the New York social scene to its core.  By pretending to be a socalite - she wore the latest fashions and attended the best parties and was well on her way to setting up a multimillion dollar art foundation - when she was found out to be the daughter of German parents who were most definitely not rich . She made friends in high places and was supremely successful at getting what she wanted from them by any means.  Enter Rachel who worked for a magazine and was befriended by Anna.  At first it was all fitness sessions,, saunas and luxe meals at the best restaurants but then Anna suggested a trip to Morocco.  The trip of a lifetime soon turned into a nightmare when Rachel presented her company  credit card for a holding payment at the luxury 5 star hotel and ended up with a 60,000 dollar plus bill with no repayment in sight from Anna. 
This story  tells it from Rachel’s perspective and whilst you think whoa why did you do that on several occasions I found her story to be credible and her motivations honest.  I literally couldn’t put this book down once I started it and having watched some of the Netflix series Inventing Anna am left wondering which portrayal of Rachel is more realistic- I like to think this book is as close to the truth as I’m going to get in a story about a woman who was definitely not who she claimed to be. A gripping read about a current real life event that’s well worth a read.. thanks NetGalley for this one - loved it.
Was this review helpful?
💵My Friend Anna by Rachel DeLoache Williams💵

Fraudsters seem to be the hot topic of the moment, with the recent release of The Tinder Swindler on Netflix and yesterday’s release of Inventing Anna. Well My Friend Anna is the account of one of Anna’s best friend’s and victims experience with the fake heiress.

The book starts in the middle, as in the point that Anna’s lies start to unravel, then we go backwards to discover the development of their friendship and the impact of Anna’s crazy life on others. Anna well and truly captures people in her life of luxury and lies and it’s easy to see why people believed she was rich. I probably shouldn’t admit this on the internet but I think I would’ve fell for her too!

It’s really interesting to read the perspective of one of the people truly involved in Anna’s world. But if I’m honest it wasn’t the cleanest narration and it jumped around a lot leaving me confused. There was also a lot of repetition and painstakingly long and boring extracts which were ‘we went there, then there…’ I’m glad I read it and it really did interest me, but if I’m honest I just wanted them to get to the part of her being caught quicker where it becomes more factual.

I’m now interested to watch the show though and I’m glad I read the book first!
Was this review helpful?
A story of privilege, entitlement, deceit, gullibility, shallowness and manipulation - and how we’re supposed to feel sorry for - or else admire/empathise with, these people who portray themselves as victims? 

Give me a large break. 

I’d have thought that having asked someone to plough through 250-odd pages of this corny fare that there might ultimately be some return, i.e. insights - anything at all - into the mind of this con artist? But no. 
I will definitely steer a wide berth from the Netflix adaptation of this. 

My thanks to NetGalley and Quercus Books for this e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
i got so much second hand stress from this book!! i know it's been everywhere bc of the recent netflix adaptation but i actually didn't know much about the case until i read this. it felt like something out of another world, a gossip girl storyline, and i got swept up in the stress and the confusion. i think i almost found it a bit anticlimactic in the end. but it was a wild ride
Was this review helpful?
During Lockdown, I developed an obsession Anna Sorokin and her cons - consuming every book, article and podcast I could find. Rachel's book offers an interesting insight, a first hand account of the betrayals she suffered and the consequences. I listened to the audiobook and finished it in as close to a day as possible - it's told in such an easy and addictive manner.
Was this review helpful?
One of the greatest stories you will read in 2022! It is compelling, intriguing and completely unbelievable. What is real and what is fantasy? Who do you believe? 

From the moment you turn to the first page you know you have found a story you won't be able to put down. I found myself so immersed in the writing and drawn completely into Rachel's world. Rachel writes so well with plenty of detail and I liked that there were excerpts of text messages and emails as well. 

I truly feel for Rachel and all that she went through. At first, I thought, "no, surely she knew what was going on and allowed it to happen." But, actually the further into the story I got, I realised that had I been in Rachel's shoes I probably would have done the same thing. One of my favourite quotes is: "I felt the loss of Anna, not as she was but as I had once perceived her to be." 

A girl like Anna, the life that she lived, the glitz and glamour and money, it's the life I dreamed about for myself when I was younger. So too is Rachel's job working in magazine's. Especially after The Devil Wears Prada film was released, I so desperately wanted to be part of that world. I am neither fashionable nor glamorous so had no hope if making it. I even went to university for Journalism and lasted 3 months before I changed my focus because I hated it. And so, my journey into that world ended by the time I was 20. 

After reading Rachel's story, I had to watch Inventing Anna, the new Netflix show based on Rachel and Anna's stories. I fell in love with Anna pretty quickly and completely believed that she was a German Heiress. She is clever and how she managed to make her way up the social ladder of New York City is impressive.

"I've never seen anyone so fierce turn so fragile so quickly." - Vivian Kent

I also chose to read Jessica Pressler's original article on Anna. It was the article that made Anna so famous and I felt I had to get every side of this story because it has just fascinated me so much.
Was this review helpful?
I had heard a little about this case before but wanted to know more about what happened. When I saw there was going to be a Netflix documentary about it, I thought I would read the book first. There appears to be some controversy about the portrayal of Rachel in the documentary, so I wanted to compare the two accounts. 

Rachel is working for Vanity Fair in New York and befriends Anna, a wealthy German socialite. Anna treats her to luxury experiences and meals, so when Rachel is invited on a trip to Morocco, she doesn’t turn it down. This is when everything starts to unravel and Rachel’s life is turned upside down. Anna doesn’t have the funds to pay for the exclusive hotel, so Rachel steps in. She’s been assured Anna will wire her the money, but it never arrives. 

This is a thorough account of what happened to Rachel, and you get a sense of her mounting dread and panic as she’s hassled by her credit card company. 

It’s easy to read and surprisingly engaging.

Part of me did think that Rachel was far too trusting and should never have given such a huge sum of money to someone she barely knew. However, Anna is clearly a master manipulator and had an answer for everything. 

This was an interesting read, and I’m curious to see what the Netflix documentary is like. 

Thanks to Quercus and NetGalley for a copy to review.
Was this review helpful?
It's a different point of view of what happened other than from Anna herself. At times it goes through more of Rachel's journey than Anna's and for those wanting to know more about Anna, might find that distracting.  It's good to read this along with watching the Netflix series so that you can make your own judgement about whose account you believe.
Was this review helpful?
It's a pity I have read this book now after watching countless documentaries on con-artists on Netflix. THE SERPENT and even THE TINDER SWINDLER are stories that are much more gruesome to me than this particular tale. That doesn't mean it wasn't good. 

RACHEL DELOACHE WILLIAMS' storytelling technique is really captivating (especially on audiobook). It's good that the book starts with the real event - the trip to Morocco - and then explains more about the friendship between Rachel and Anna. 

The story doesn't really get into depth in Anna's mind, because it's been written by one particular victim. Rachel did try to inform us about more cons, but of course none of them are from her own personal experience. 

What this novel does well is that it explains the situation from the eyes of a victim. I felt horrible for Rachel and I'm happy that her situation has improved. The epilogue of the book is a candid view into her thoughts and current life.

Many thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy!
Was this review helpful?
This account of a modern fraudster and how she was able to fool people will make readers stop and think.  No one believes they could be fooled but this account shows just how easily even the most wary of people can be fooled.  Very interesting indeed.
Was this review helpful?
This is an interesting read about how a friendship grew and then disintegrated leaving one person betrayed and in extreme dept and the other still living in Lala land thinking she did nothing wrong. I really do feel for Rachel and can see when your young and a apparent rich and bubbly gal comes along and wants to being you into their fold and have fun you slowly disregard the signs that show something isn't right. Anna certainly knew what she was doing with her long con and making sure she kept her circle small, moving around and in a way isolating her marks from others so the dots couldn't be connected was smoothly done. While it was awful what happened to Rachel and everything she went through, if it hadn't been her then who knows how long Anna would have continued conning people as she is one hell of a manipulator and actor while also cold and emotionless.
Was this review helpful?
I am as obsessed with stories of social media scammers and swindlers as most of us, so loved reading the full story behind Anna Delvey's fraud, A sensational story in the truest sense of the word, its almost impossible to believe that this is a true story with real people involved. The scale of Anna's imagination and deception is unsurpassed, although Rachel the friend being scammed, doesnt come across in the best light either. A cautionary tale for our time!
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book. It’s a riveting story that is so implausible I had to keep reminding myself it was true! Well written and engaging I enjoyed the read!
Was this review helpful?
As a fan of gossip, and story of high society this was the right book for me.
I had a lot of fun in reading this story even if I think I should feel some empathy toward the people involved I shamelessly enjoyed what was happening and the how the scam worked.
On a more serious side it's a story of how apparences can deceive and Anna was the perfect example of a facade that hid something more dangerous.
It's an interesting and gripping read.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
Was this review helpful?
An intriguing story where the story between the characters is so unbelievable (and yet real) that it gets you turning the pages. Thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
Was this review helpful?
I first read about Anna Delvey in 2018 via Rachel’s article in Vanity Fair. I remember thinking ‘Wow, this is insane! The strength it must take to be vulnerable enough to write this’. I’ve thought about it on and off ever since, then seen that Shonda Rhimes was adapting the story for Netflix, and then came across Rachel’s full length book on her relationship with Anna and everything that did and has since transpired and I knew I had to read it. 

The book starts where the Vanity Fair article began, in Marrakech, so this bit of the story was familiar to me but no less shocking. You can tell that Rachel worked in and around publishing, in her case for Vanity Fair, from the way the she writes and tells the story of her experience. It is engaging and weaves through time, how she met Anna, how their friendship developed, what led them to Marrakech, everything that transpired after. 

What I appreciated in Rachel’s recounting is that this isn’t just a story about Anna Delvey, but it is also a story about Rachel and one that many people who have suffered at the hands of a con-artist will understand. It is about the emotional and physical toll that this takes on a person; how the law and judicial system aren’t set up in a way that is easy to navigate when it comes to crimes like these; that you are dealing with this situation for months if not years after you friendship has ended, fighting with banks to amend the charges to your credit cards and constantly having to relive your ordeal. It is a traumatic and drawn out process and I think that this is something that comes across so well in the writing and recounting of this story.

As mentioned above, Shonda Rhimes and Netflix adapted the Anna Delvey story into a TV show which is released today, Friday 11 February. I had assumed, wrongly, that this was based on Rachel’s story, when in face it is based on a New York article called How Anna Delvey Tricked New York's Party People" by Jessica Pressler. Netflix also optioned Anna’s life rights. This is something that is also brought up in the book - someone’s real life is optioned and turned into a pop-culture moment, helping to make money for a large corporation, whilst Rachel was still dealing with the emotional trauma and debt associated with everything that had happened. It made me think that as people we can be so quick to tune into the next True Crime podcast or TV show, eating it up without really thinking about the people that were involved and the lifelong impact it has had on them. Instead we just enjoy the entertainment of their lives with no real regard, and maybe that’s something we should all consider our role in. 

Am I going to be watching the Netflix show? Yes. But I am also going to be thinking about Rachel, and Anna’s other victims, whilst doing so.

If you want to read about not just the crime but everything that happens afterwards and the fight victims have to go through for justice in causes such as this, I’d highly recommend Rachel’s book.
Was this review helpful?