My Friend Anna

My Friend Anna

Sex and the City meets Catch Me if You Can in the astonishing true story of Anna Delvey, a young con artist posing as a German heiress in New York City—as told by the former Vanity Fair photo editor who got seduced by her friendship and then scammed out of more than $62,000....

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Title:My Friend Anna
Author:Rachel DeLoache Williams
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Edition Language:English

My Friend Anna Reviews

  • Corinna See

    I’ve been reading a lot of memoirs lately, and as soon as I knew that Rachel DeLoache Williams was writing a book about her experience with the infamous Anna Delvey (Anna Sorokin), I pre-ordered it—and it didn’t disappoint. I first learned of Anna Delvey while reading an article that had been published by

    and then on Medium, and it’s

    that Williams references toward the end of the book. It was a fascinating read, and then I was able to find and read Williams’

    I’ve been reading a lot of memoirs lately, and as soon as I knew that Rachel DeLoache Williams was writing a book about her experience with the infamous Anna Delvey (Anna Sorokin), I pre-ordered it—and it didn’t disappoint. I first learned of Anna Delvey while reading an article that had been published by

    and then on Medium, and it’s

    that Williams references toward the end of the book. It was a fascinating read, and then I was able to find and read Williams’ original account of her experience, an article published in Vanity Fair while she was still employed there in the photo department, and it gave me a better sense of the entire picture. Williams’ book goes deeper than that, and gives a more complete picture, particularly of her perspective.

    details Williams’ friendship with Delvey from the beginning to the end, when Delvey scammed Williams out of more than $60,000 that Williams did not have. While I still can’t imagine exactly how devastating it must have been for Williams to go through this, her panic and anxiety and frustration with Delvey’s constant brush-offs and excuses are so raw and palpable throughout these pages. She’s written an honest, vulnerable, excellent book, and it only took me a few days to read because I had to put it down to go about my daily life. I would’ve finished it in one sitting had I had time, and my heart goes out to Rachel for all that she experienced. At the same time, I must commend her for story she’s put forth in this memoir—and especially for even having the strength to do so—which is one that I’ll be returning to time and again.

  • Rachel Smalter Hall

    This was everything I wanted it to be and more. Rachel took me on a JOURNEY. For those who didn't follow the Anna Delvey criminal case, here's the short version: Anna "Delvey" is a 28-year-old con artist who moved among the NYC fashion scene and was eventually convicted for fleecing hotels, banks, etc. out of over 200K, plus another attempted 1MM. Along the way she conned her friend, Rachel, into paying 70K that she didn't have for an "all expenses paid" vacation to Marrakech. It ruined Rachel's

    This was everything I wanted it to be and more. Rachel took me on a JOURNEY. For those who didn't follow the Anna Delvey criminal case, here's the short version: Anna "Delvey" is a 28-year-old con artist who moved among the NYC fashion scene and was eventually convicted for fleecing hotels, banks, etc. out of over 200K, plus another attempted 1MM. Along the way she conned her friend, Rachel, into paying 70K that she didn't have for an "all expenses paid" vacation to Marrakech. It ruined Rachel's life.

    is Rachel's side of the story, and it is completely engrossing. She had a modest job in the photography department at Vanity Fair when she met and was befriended by a mysterious German heiress. From there, the bond between the two friends quickly snowballed and become something other. I couldn't look away as Anna manipulated Rachel into making one bad decision after another. This story has it all--the luxury lifestyle, the fashion, the food, the personal trainers, the draaaaama. Exorbitant stays at exclusive Moroccan hotels and discreet California rehab centers. Cops and detectives and a manhunt.

    I'll refrain from saying more because the details of book won't be revealed until publication day in late July, but I will say that this one could have gone either way, and I am SOOOO happy that Rachel has turned out to be a great storyteller and writer. This read was so damn satisfying. I have no doubt it will be one of the most talked-about books of the summer!

  • Seth

    Reading a book like this is a little out of character for me. I don't usually read nonfiction and when I do, it usually isn't in the 'true crime' sphere. I actually hadn't even heard of this story before, even though it seemingly is/was everywhere (maybe I just don't keep up enough with those elements of pop culture.) When I picked up the book and did some Googling into the backstory, I immediately became entranced. I couldn't believe what I was reading, just from snippets here and there. So whe

    Reading a book like this is a little out of character for me. I don't usually read nonfiction and when I do, it usually isn't in the 'true crime' sphere. I actually hadn't even heard of this story before, even though it seemingly is/was everywhere (maybe I just don't keep up enough with those elements of pop culture.) When I picked up the book and did some Googling into the backstory, I immediately became entranced. I couldn't believe what I was reading, just from snippets here and there. So when I cracked open the book to hear it from Williams herself, I ended up reading the entire book in less than 24 hours.

    This is a great pleasure/summer read. It's fast paced, thrilling, and absolutely absurd. It HAS to be real because it's so absurd, no one could be creative enough to make this stuff up! Williams' voice is full of emotional and vulnerability - I'm so glad she put her perspective out into the world.

  • Anna-Karin Björklund

    A real page turner! A story of being wronged by someone we care about - and on top of it also owed a lot of money. Rachel's words touched my heart, and this is definitely a book I'll re-read.

  • Debbie

    My Friend Anna is a non-fiction true crime book describing Rachel Deloache Williams account of being conned by Fake Heiress Anna Delvey. When I saw this book it seems so familiar -I can’t recall if I’ve seen this story on a documentary or it seems like I’ve seen a movie about it but I can’t recall. Anna Delvey was a con artist who pretended to be a German heiress and swindled a lot of hotels,banks and even friends out of a lot money. If I didn’t know it was a true story, I would think this could

    My Friend Anna is a non-fiction true crime book describing Rachel Deloache Williams account of being conned by Fake Heiress Anna Delvey. When I saw this book it seems so familiar -I can’t recall if I’ve seen this story on a documentary or it seems like I’ve seen a movie about it but I can’t recall. Anna Delvey was a con artist who pretended to be a German heiress and swindled a lot of hotels,banks and even friends out of a lot money. If I didn’t know it was a true story, I would think this could never happen. While I applaud the author for telling her story, I suppose it was due to her youth and inexperience that she was overly trusting of her “friend’ Anna. They were trying to live a lifestyle of extravagance that neither could afford. I wish that Rachel had listened to those warning signs she had early on about Anna and not mixed friendship with money. While I don’t read a lot of Nonfiction, I enjoyed this story a lot. I think there is a Netflix series based on this story and I would like to see it. I give this book 4 stars.

  • Stella

    I was captivated by this story when I read the Vanity Fair article, so when I saw the author wrote a book, I was in! The story is nuts and the events seemed unbelievable as they unfolded. I couldn't figure out how the author was going to stretch it into a novel-sized book but I quickly learned she interspersed chapters with her own personal story. There were moments when that was frustrating because I was super invested in how the Anna Delvey story was unfolding and it felt distracting, but by t

    I was captivated by this story when I read the Vanity Fair article, so when I saw the author wrote a book, I was in! The story is nuts and the events seemed unbelievable as they unfolded. I couldn't figure out how the author was going to stretch it into a novel-sized book but I quickly learned she interspersed chapters with her own personal story. There were moments when that was frustrating because I was super invested in how the Anna Delvey story was unfolding and it felt distracting, but by the end of the book, I was just as interested in Rachel and how she managed this crazy drama. Some circumstances feel completely unbelievable and I had a hard time feeling sorry for the author because of the choices she made but as the insanity unfolds, it's easy to get sucked into the excitement and glamour that Anna's life seemed to possess. Also, if you have ever had moments in your life where money/paying bills was stressful, this book will bring all of that anxiety back. Overall, this fast-paced story was an easy read with ongoing news articles to search what has happened beyond the end of the book.

  • Dion Lim

    The first part of this book was interesting as it was fast-paced and painted a fascinating picture of how complex Anna the con-artist was. The relationship she had with the author, Rachel Williams was complex as well, and as Rachel recalled dining and drinking at fancy restaurants and working out with celebrity trainers, it felt like I was a fly on the wall to reality TV. The fact Rachel worked for Vanity Fair and mentions celebrities she's worked with on photo shoots was equally as intriguing.

    The first part of this book was interesting as it was fast-paced and painted a fascinating picture of how complex Anna the con-artist was. The relationship she had with the author, Rachel Williams was complex as well, and as Rachel recalled dining and drinking at fancy restaurants and working out with celebrity trainers, it felt like I was a fly on the wall to reality TV. The fact Rachel worked for Vanity Fair and mentions celebrities she's worked with on photo shoots was equally as intriguing.

    The part of the book that got frustrating and a bit tedious for me was after the Morrocco trip where Rachel was stuck with a massive bill. The constant calls and texts asking Anna for payment felt old and I kept feeling like the "victim" card was being played a little too much and it played out back and forth for too long. While I respect the decisions the author made during this undoubtedly stressful journey, I think it could have been told a little less liner way or with better pacing. The resolution of Rachel's credit card bills and when Anna was sentenced also felt a bit anticlimactic.

    Overall, I couldn't stop reading and would recommend this as a fun and at times fascinating summer read!

  • Kirsta

    I was only slightly aware of this trial as it happened when courtroom antics regarding the fashion of the defendant kept popping up in the headlines. Anna Delvey seemed like a despicable person and I just wasn't sure why people were interested in her. But I am always interested in victims, and especially these stories of victims who have suffered true harm and get made out by defense attorneys and the media to have brought the pain on themselves. When I saw this book, I had to know the other sid

    I was only slightly aware of this trial as it happened when courtroom antics regarding the fashion of the defendant kept popping up in the headlines. Anna Delvey seemed like a despicable person and I just wasn't sure why people were interested in her. But I am always interested in victims, and especially these stories of victims who have suffered true harm and get made out by defense attorneys and the media to have brought the pain on themselves. When I saw this book, I had to know the other side of this obnoxious criminal. There's a decent amount of this book that is solely the text messages between the two. It's hard to listen and not fall into the trap of wondering how DeLoache Williams could let herself get into this situation. But how she represents her side in the end, ultimately, makes you realize that you would much rather be the person who believes in people and could find yourself in this situation. Her writing is also notable and I'd be interested to hear more about her interesting life.

  • Emily

    I’ve been chewing on this book for a while. Not because I liked it, although I did like it, but because of its unbearable bleakness. Look, this book was always bound to be bleak despite the tawdry true-crime appeal of Anna Delvey. But I truly could not have anticipated a more demoralizing or dystopian portrait of youth in the big city in twenty-first century. Williams’ world is one where everyone is underpaid and overworked, to the point where people abruptly drop off the map, where dream jobs s

    I’ve been chewing on this book for a while. Not because I liked it, although I did like it, but because of its unbearable bleakness. Look, this book was always bound to be bleak despite the tawdry true-crime appeal of Anna Delvey. But I truly could not have anticipated a more demoralizing or dystopian portrait of youth in the big city in twenty-first century. Williams’ world is one where everyone is underpaid and overworked, to the point where people abruptly drop off the map, where dream jobs still leave you with double digits in your bank account and the appearance of scrappiness and humility matters far more than the possession of them. I mean, even before Anna begins paying for everything, Williams spends triple digits on single yoga classes and spa visits. I’m not so cruel as to judge her for her spending; as a young New Yorker, I spend my money on silly things all the time. But it’s a stark portrait of the specific kind of status-consciousness that people like Williams and myself wear like an affliction. We work in glamorous industries in a city rife with excesses of old and new money alike. Hot new brunch spots compete with old world glamour and have one thing in common: you aren’t the person who can access them. Maybe if you wore a Batsheva Hay dress and a Susan Alexandra handbag and Intentionally Blank mules. Maybe if you were thinner or had the hair lasered off your chin or purified your insides with $15 Sweetgreen salads or weekly infrared sessions. The prospect of an easy ticket to status (and not just normal status, but the status to like, wear sweatpants to Le Coucou and be let in anyway!) and a key to those closed-off places is intoxicating. In a setting like this, the question isn’t “how could anyone get fooled by Anna Delvey”, but rather “how could you not?”

  • Katie

    I struggled between two and three stars for this book. It was a really hard read, for reasons I'll outline, but at the end of the day, the juiciness of it tips it over into a three-star. A fast, easy read for summer, at least, even though it genuinely stressed me out and sort of disgusted me.

    I found myself having an incredibly hard time with the narrator. It was, to put it mildly, extremely difficult to have a lot of sympathy for her. And this may be because I, too, lived my twenties in NYC, wit

    I struggled between two and three stars for this book. It was a really hard read, for reasons I'll outline, but at the end of the day, the juiciness of it tips it over into a three-star. A fast, easy read for summer, at least, even though it genuinely stressed me out and sort of disgusted me.

    I found myself having an incredibly hard time with the narrator. It was, to put it mildly, extremely difficult to have a lot of sympathy for her. And this may be because I, too, lived my twenties in NYC, with vague connections to celebrities and the mega-rich, and that makes me give a lot of side-eye to her behavior. But, more than her behavior, it's her painting of the events that make me think she's learned literally nothing from this experience.

    Her descriptions of Anna are rooted in her comparisons between her and herself. Anna is mean, nasty sociopathic, cares about material things, about looking cool and being "seen." Ms. Williams stays friends with her because she is just so patient with her, she was raised right, she cares about the right things, you see, and she just cares about her so much that she puts up with her behavior. However, it's a cop-out. She describes what a brat Anna is from the start: actually calling people "peasants," behaving so rudely to Uber and Lyft drivers that it becomes 50/50 as to whether or not they'll actually pick her up. She's quick to describe how much Anna drinks, and even, when Anna acts strangely at a party, uses the phrase, "I was raised to . . .," immediately constructing herself, in the mind of the reader, as wholesome and innocent.

    And so there it is: You put up with her behavior because you're so kind, yet . . . you were okay aligning yourself with someone who so blatantly wasn't that way? There's more to the story than this. It's extremely, extremely easy to see that

    . A Cool Girl. That's it. That's the story. And honestly? To admit that would be totally fine. We all go through that, wanting to be awesome and popular. But I found it incredibly distasteful that she gleefully describes what a shitty person Anna is, and then how she would just NEVER act like that, and meanwhile . . . she's your BFF? Come on. It's so transparent! If she was such an awful person, any person with morals or ethics would not be hanging out with her. I find it telling that she just skims over the part where the other people in her friend group with her and Anna fell away - there were no conversations? You didn't ask anybody why they wouldn't come hang out with you and Anna any more? Literally no one in that friend group was like, "Eh, she's not really that nice, I don't like hanging out with her"? I find that hard to believe. What I think is more likely is that plenty of people did not like Anna, Ms. Williams herself was very aware that she was NOT a good person, but made the decision to ignore her instincts (and, honestly, her actual friends) in order to indulge in spa visits and personal training with celebrity workout instructors. She frequently alludes to Anna having no friends, and being lonely, but uses that fact as a reason for her feeling bad for her, as opposed to a tip-off that she ignored. Yes, so again, she didn't hang out with her because was loaded and ate at THE places and went to THE spas, it's cause Anna was so lonely she felt bad for her. Got it.

    Again, if she would just admit how driven she was by her own insecurity and vanity, I honestly wouldn't think anything of it. That's a totally normal, human thing way to behave. But the lengths to which she goes to paint herself as The Perfect Victim made me extremely uncomfortable and actually sort of upset. Because the truth is: the author herself makes sure you know exactly which restaurants she was going to, which spas, and what she was wearing (and how her taste was better than Anna's; when Anna tries to give her a thousands of dollars worth of clothes from Morocco, Williams sniffs that she didn't like any of them). Every single celebrity she had even the slightest bit of contact with for work (Vanity Fair photo assistant) warrants a mention, even though they have absolutely zero to do with anything. I'm a huge Annie Leibovitz fan, but I didn't need to know her entire schedule for the period during which the events of this book take place. Williams herself claims to not care about these things, but there it is in black and white: endless descriptions of "fancy" stuff that has zero to do with the story. It was totally eye-roll inducing. (Just as a side note to those writing about upper-crust NYC: literally nobody outside of Manhattan has heard of the places you're mentioning, and most likely the majority of Manhattanites don't know them either.)

    It is actually worrisome to me how little self-awareness she shows when it comes to dealing with the financial mess she got herself into (allowing use of and signing for $70,000 worth of charges because she thought Anna would pay her back). Each time she calls AmEx to look at her case again, a paragraph surrounds the incident detailing how unfair it is, and WHY CAN'T THEY SEE? Honey, all they see is that you charged money and signed for it. That's literally it. There's such a stink of privilege, I could barely read straight.

    The truth of the matter is this: if the author had been an average person who charged a crap-ton of money (or even a little bit of money) onto her credit cards because her friend said she'd pay them back, she would've wound up in civil court with legal bills - and if the friend had been broke, as Anna was, she wouldn't have seen a dime. And let's face it: truly average people literally can't afford to do what she did. Williams wants to paint her doing so as her being nice, when it isn't about being nice or accommodating, it's about literally having the privilege to slap down a credit card - and not wanting trouble/stress on your luxurious Moroccan vacation. And I resent her presentation of The Incident as a display of compassion as opposed to one of total privilege. This privilege included the fact that she was lucky enough to work at a major magazine and have major connections that led her to the D.A.'s office. She was even lucky that Anna's crimes were so huge and sweeping that it took her to the federal level of charges; otherwise, I highly doubt AmEx would have waived the money. I have a strong feeling that, having been made aware that their client was entangled with a major news story and had connections to a huge media outlet like Condé Nast, they had, ahem, motivations to just forget the whole thing.

    The author never goes into how in the world she still had a job after handing over her corporate credit card and charging $16,000 onto it. How is that possible?! Again, the level of privilege made me wince. She doesn't mention getting called into HR, having to explain herself, nothing. How is that possible? The average person would have been thrown out immediately. You just can't do that! Then again, Vanity Fair was the first to publish her stories regarding her relationship to the Hashtag Fake Heiress, so that might be a clue. There isn't a word of gratitude about it either. She frequently mentions emotional support from friends and family, but seems to have zero perception of how, just due to her status in life, she got off in a way that very few people would. It's actually the exact same privilege that put her in Anna's sights to start with.

    Near the end of the book, Williams continues to bemoan, mainly, 1.) people making joke tshirts that say "Free Anna" and "I can wire you $30,000" (LMAO!!!!!), and 2.) Anna being found not guilty of the charges in Williams' circumstances. It's just . . . how can you be so clueless? This story is a story of someone of privilege being taken advantage of because she was so desperate to remain in privilege. It's about someone with nothing fooling the wealthiest of people - those who break the rules every fucking day and get away with it to spend their summers on yachts while some people don't have health insurance - and living a life of luxury without spending a cent. Yes, people find that funny. People find it amusing that you willingly had your credit cards charged $70,000 - that you were in position that you could even HAVE THAT AMOUNT CHARGED and WAIT to be paid back!

    To solidify my suspicions about her status before and after the whole debacle, her friend mentions how Williams could sublet her apartment and move in with her, saving her tons of money, and while Williams describes how lovely that is, it doesn't seem like she does it. In fact, she doesn't mention any sort of thoughts regarding how in the hell she would pay all of this money back, should her statement not be cleared. It makes me feel weird: did she get an agent fast enough to know this would all be taken care of after her book deal? Or was that the one thing she was genuinely naive about? She discusses how much she cries and frets, but never does that include, "I'm going to have to move back to Tennessee and live with my parents/I'm going to have to get a second job/I'm going to have to move out of Manhattan to Jersey and have seven roommates," like literally all of the thoughts a person would have. It actually, I think, would have helped her image, that she was actually having to do things she didn't want to because of her mistake.

    She describes finding an agent with the same wide-eyed innocent posing she uses throughout the book: why, she HAD to! These people just keep calling her! What else could she do? She was completely indignant when the defense lawyer pointed out her HBO and book deals, as well as how happy she was to, like, NOT pay for things for the majority of her friendship with this woman. My knowledge of law consists primarily of whatever constitutional law statutes were cited by Sam Seaborn on "The West Wing" and I can tell you that absolutely, that is not only the FIRST thing that they would go after, but that the public at large are going to be snickering a bit. If nobody told her that, she hasn't surrounded herself with the right people.

    That doesn't mean it isn't traumatic and stressful. That doesn't mean that I'm glad she's depressed or upset. Quite the contrary. But again: self-awareness. It seems like Williams has little to no acknowledgement of how she comes off and as a result, this book may honestly do her no favors in the future - except, of course, in the circles she cares about most. After all, when she confronted Anna with two others at her side - one who had never even met Anna before - the result was the new person paying for Anna to stay at a nearby fancy hotel because she had nowhere to go. Imagine that: in this universe of the uber-rich, you sit in on a person confronting another for stiffing her for $70,000 . . . but, poor her, she has no place to go, but of course, you must be so stressed stealing all of that money, better make sure I book you for a place with a spa! Mind-blowing. All of that, I DO feel sorry about. I feel sorry for her that she hasn't gleaned any kind of wisdom out of this whatsoever, that she can't see the absurdity and patent unfairness that colors every single letter in every single word of her story.

    Finally, aside from contriving an image of herself that only a middle schooler would fall for, the writing itself is . . . bad. Like, very bad. Near the end, she goes to Café Gitane with her brother and upon looking at the menu and realizing the food is French-Moroccan, takes it as a sign that she would finally tell her him what happened with Anna. Good God. Even I've been to Café Gitane - more than once (there's my I-Lived-in-Mahattan brag!). YOU KNEW THE FOOD WAS FRENCH-MOROCCAN BEFORE YOU SAT DOWN, THAT'S WHAT THEY'RE KNOWN FOR, COME ON THAT DID NOT HAPPEN THAT WAY. Ugh. It's that, times every paragraph.

    Overall, I think an editor really should've steered this book into another direction. A simple pass through a rough first draft should've been indication enough that the tone was all wrong. The best parts were the pages, at the end, when Anna's overall dealings were laid out in detail, with zero perspective from the author. It's truly astounding, and I hope a crime journalist at some point writes a book that is a bit more objective and focuses more on that.

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