Wednesday, June 8, 2022

House of Hilton: From Conrad to Paris: A Drama of Wealth, Power, and Privilege

House of Hilton: From Conrad to Paris: A Drama of Wealth, Power, and Privilege by Jerry Oppenheimer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This gossipy tale of the Hilton clan is fun trash.

Heavy on the gossip, not light on the trash, either.

Look, I enjoy the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Which didn't exist at the time this book came out in 2006 to capitalize on Paris Hilton's notoriety, but went on to eventually include all three of the Richards sisters and ample mentions of their late mom, Big Kathy, who floats through the reality series and into our homes like the ghost of Dysfunctional Hollywood Momager Past. 

The first half of this book serves plenty of dirt on the sisters Richards, being Kathy (aka Mrs. Richard Hilton), Kyle and Kim. It focuses more on Kathy (of interest as mother of Paris) and quite a lot on her own mother, Big Kathy, thought to have been a driving force in pushing her daughters not only into showbiz at young ages, but into a hunt for mega-rich husbands. And of course it covers "Little" Kathy's daughter, Paris (who doesn't interest me much other than seeing how a vacuous, self-centered mother raised her own duplicate), a tiny bit about her other daughter, Nicky, and a bit about her sisters Kyle and Kim as well. These morsels were my reason to buy the book.

I dropped out at halfway through when it skipped back to the history of earlier Hiltons, whose escapades sparked no interest in me. I was there for the reality TV linked dirt, not the antics of hotel-empire playboys past.

The book helped me understand the dynamics of the sisters better. It, combined with what I know from the Housewives show, left me feeling Kim is a sociopath, Kathy's a self-centered idiot, and Kyle, for whatever flaws she may have, is the responsible anchor who tries to hold it all together for everyone, and as such is overwhelmed with anxiety (I can relate hard).

It's a fun read if you're interested in the Hilton aspect or the Housewives aspect or the Paris of it all. Take it with a grain of salt, as it includes hearsay and gossip (along with a few interviews with some who knew the subjects well, as well as a lot of gossipy staff who knew some details but far from full stories).

The author clearly skipped over things that would've shown a kinder side of his subjects. For instance, the book details Kathy Hilton as cheap and unhelpful with her step-father, Ken Richards, who had cancer and no financial resources to pay for treatment or even living costs (this I can believe, seeing over the years how much Kyle has helped Kim, with little indication of their richest sister, Kathy, going to the same degree of trouble or expense).

However, it seems like Kyle did help her ill father, but that's glossed over. The book mentions Kyle getting her dad admitted to Cedars Sinai for a three-week stay and radiation treatment, which probably wasn't an easy task considering he had no means to pay. The book never mentions who paid, though, and since we know he was flat broke, one would think that Kyle and her husband probably did. Even if they didn't, they at least found a way to get him admitted. Any details that might make the family seem other than unrelentingly awful are omitted. Just keep that little nugget in mind as you go.

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