The Truth About Diamonds

Why do I read such garbage? And then go back to it? I only read The Truth About Diamonds by Nicole Richie because I wanted to see what another woman masquerading as a novelist could come up with. After reading that other Nicole’s A Shore Thing earlier this year, I have concluded that two novels allegedly by two reality show nobodies is two too many. The Truth About Diamonds is 226 pages of mostly dialogue set on pages with w-i-d-e margins and yawning gaps between the lines. This is a novel, like A Shore Thing, meant for people who have neither attention spans nor discrimination for good taste. In its attempt to lure buyers, the edition I read has “The Sensational International Bestseller” written on the bottom of the front cover, and there are sixteen pages of vanity photos of Richie in the middle of the book. International bestseller? Where?

The Truth About Diamonds was published in 2005 and it dates itself by its repeated references to then-married couples like Britney Spears and Kevin Federline, and Avril Lavigne and Deryck Whibley as well as others from now-forgotten TV shows. The book is littered with countless brand names and product placements that only American Psycho can rival. The story is about Chloe Parker, who is modelled after Richie herself. They were both adopted as children, arrested several times, been in and out of rehab, starred in a reality TV show and spend most of their time in nightclubs. The novel however has Richie featured as a key character, so it was odd reading about Nicole and a clone of hers by the name of Chloe. Druggie Simone Westlake is the Paris Hilton character, who works with Chloe in a series of reality-themed commercials. The cast of friends who hang around with Chloe and Nicole are all drug addicts whose main purpose in life is to “be famous”. That aspiration was repeated over and over in The Truth About Diamonds. These nobodies go shopping at trendy boutiques and buy accessories that they will wear once before they go out of fashion.

Nicole (the character in the novel) is out of rehab and has seen life at its lowest point. She is happy to be sober and uses her experience to act as a mother hen to Chloe, who is battling her own drug demons. Chloe however must stay clean while under contract with a makeup company, which has made her sign a morality clause and also subjects her to random drug tests. She and Simone are the newest faces of Magdalena cosmetics and the public gushes over them with cultlike adoration. The company has hired both young women to represent them and they travel the country in a lavender limousine (think Richie and Hilton in “The Simple Life”) attending parties and posing for photo shoots, sucking up to executives and snorting coke on the side.

Various monkey wrenches are thrown into Chloe’s simple life: her biological father returns after she makes it big; a random drug test produces a positive result when Chloe was clean; her ex-boyfriend’s current girlfriend shows up and crashes her private party…such are the everyday hardships of millionaire airheads. The druggie dramatics sober out into a happy ending, entirely predictable and a relief to put down.

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