Paris The Memoir by Paris Hilton
Anyone who paid any attention to Paris Hilton in the early 2000s. My guess is you probably don’t know the whole story.
In a nutshell:
Paris Hilton – known as a party girl who lived it up with Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan – shares her story.
“Terrible things can go fuck themselves.”
Why I chose it:
It’s a celebrity memoir written by a woman. Like, obviously I’m going to read it.
What it left me feeling:
Well that was unexpected.
Paris Hilton and I are basically the same age, and so while I didn’t follow her life (never watched her TV shows or listened to her music), I lived in the world and was aware of pop culture enough to be familiar with her story. Or so I thought. I’m certain that the less kinder me of my 20s probably cracked a joke or two about her intelligence or her style. It’s wild to think how that was just how people made money; paparazzi photos, gossip websites following, reporting on, and ultimately making as much fun of famous young women as possible. We’ve recently seen people acknowledge it when it comes to Britney Spears.
Hilton comes across as someone who is sweet and who just didn’t quite fit into how society wants people to live their lives. Obviously she is super rich and comes from a wildly famous and successful family — and she never pretends that isn’t the case. But the book talks about how her undiagnosed ADHD made so much of her childhood difficult, and how she had things she wanted to do that conflicted with what her parents wanted for her. Of course, she was very young when these conflicts arose, so its understandable that her parents were distraught at their inability to keep their daughter safe, as Paris was constantly sneaking out.
But what her parents did next is what many parents who believe they are at their wits end do: they sent her away to the equivalent of reform school. I’d heard of such places before, where they come and literally kidnap children in the middle of the night. It’s criminal, frankly, and while I cannot claim to understand what it is like to be the parent of a teen who is in need of help the parents can’t give, paying someone to tear their child (especially a teenage girl, given the fears of sexual assault so many live with) from their bed in the middle of the night by masked men is just unfathomable to me.
About 1/3 or more of the book focuses on Paris’s year at this horrible reform boarding school. The treatment she underwent – and that children are still undergoing now – is so vile, heartless, and deeply fucked up. Beatings, sexual assaults. Staff lying to her parents about what really was going on at the school. Staff forcing their captives to turn on each other, hurling venom and cruelty at them nightly. I just … I can’t imagine how people survive that, and she did, and that trauma has impacted her entire adult life. I appreciate her sharing it with the readers, and I think it’s wonderful that she is advocating for legislation to shut down these schools and better regulate others.
Paris also talks about her life as a party and it girl of course, and at times uses language I find jarring to hear. Referring to one’s self as an icon and girl boss unironically isn’t really something I’m supportive of, but she embraces that part of herself. She also has no qualms kindly calling out those who profited from her challenging times. Like, famous people who made jokes or wrote songs about the sex tape that she most definitely did not want released, and that was recorded when she was a teenager.
She also acknowledges her own faults and role she played in things. She apologizes for transgressions in her youth, including a culturally inappropriate Halloween costume. At times it feels like she’s not entirely taking full responsibility for her actions – her DUI from ‘one margarita’ comes to mind – but even there she isn’t flippant and seems to be offering explanations as opposed to excuses.
I absolutely cannot relate to Hilton in most aspects of her life. She is someone who is pushing NFTs and cypto hard, and I find that concerning. When she speaks of her business and work in ‘the metaverse’ I definitely find it off-putting, especially as the language choices sound a bit like a parody of what a Harvard MBA would say to try to impress someone on a date. It’s a world I both don’t understand and don’t think is a net positive, especially as I don’t think people should be allowed to acquire hundreds of millions of dollars of wealth.
There are so many stories out there, and I’m sure many people think it odd to spend my time listening to this one, but I also think its a great example of how what we read online and what is shared with us about anyone — famous or not — is likely nothing close to the full story.
Recommend to a Friend / Keep / Donate it / Toss it: