book reviews

Book Review: L.A. Candy Should Have Been Titled Free Candy

A couple weeks ago, I picked up Lauren Conrad’s (from The Hills) new – and first – book, L.A. Candy, from my local library.  After reading about individual taxation and capital gains & losses all day, I occasionally like to lose myself in a mind-numbing chick-lit book, and I knew L.A. Candy would be perfect for the job.

If you’re a fan of The Hills, you’ll probably like this book.  However, if you are also a personal finance nerd and/or blogger, then this book will be like fingernails on a chalk board for you.  More on that later…

In case you haven’t heard, the book is based on a new “reality show star” who “recently moved to L.A.” with one of her “gal pals” to “live the Hollywood dream”.  What that really means is that the story is about Lauren Conrad’s road to reality stardom, just with a different name attached to the character.

So, did it satisfy my chick-lit craving?  Yes.  Did it drive me so crazy that I wanted to reach into the book and smack the leading lady?  Double yes.

But, here’s where it ties to personal finance: these girls do not pay for anything.  Well…in the book, they didn’t pay for anything, and I’m assuming the same holds true for the actual reality-show stars.

Here’s a few scrumptious tidbits about their freebies (spoiler alert!):

  • When Jane (the main character) and her friend move to L.A., they’re originally holed up in a crappy apartment with a bad view.  However, when they sign on to film for the reality show, the network they are working for has them move to a swanky new apartment in a nicer area that they don’t have to pay for…at all.  No rent, no utilities, no anything.  Score!
  • Since the network needs good footage for the show, they often set them up with the royal treatment at the hippest nightclubs in L.A.  They get the best table, complimentary bottle service, free entry, etc.  Remind you of all those times that Lauren & Heidi ruled the roost at places like Area and Le Deux on The Hills?
  • Jane goes on a couple dates and she never pays.  I didn’t notice if it said her date or the show paid for the dates…but, I’m assuming the show did.
  • Once Jane and her friends become “stars”, they start getting all sorts of free clothes in the mail so that designers can get free advertising and the girls can look fabulous on-screen.  Ever wondered how Lauren always looked so polished on The Hills (aside from the fact that her parents are loaded)?  She was probably get tons of free clothes from designers.

If you like chick-lit and want an easy, fun read to curl up to this winter, this book will do the trick (although the writing is first-grade level, so it will only take you a couple days to get through).

I’m glad I read this book, though.  Sometimes it’s easy to be envious of girls that seem to get everything handed to them on a silver platter like those reality show starlets – especially when you’re working so hard to financially support yourself.  But, their fame is short-lived, and once they have to fin for themselves, they’re going to regret ever being on a reality show.  They won’t know anything about real-life and how to handle their money and they’ll still be waiting for someone to pay their rent every month.

I’ll take my simple, budgeted life over their “reality” life any day, thankyouverymuch.



  • Preach it! When the reality tv show contract runs out (for LC it was $75,000 per episode) and the free clothes stop coming, then how will she support herself?

    I may go pick up a copy, at the local library.

  • Ha ha, Carrie…BF and I love The Hills. 🙂 He’s been a fan since the days of Laguna Beach! I’ll probably get it…from the library, of course!

  • Okay, I’ll admit it: I’m a huge fan of Laguna Beach, and I do like The Hills (though not as much as its OC predecessor), but I couldn’t believe it when I heard LA Candy was coming out!! It’s like a fictionalized non-fiction account of her time on the Hills, right? I totally hear you on losing yourself in chick-lit (I’m a huge fan of Confessions of a Shopaholic), but I know that if I read this I will just get depressed at how little money I have compared to Lauren. LOL. “Real Housewives of Orange County” already makes me feel butt poor. 😛

  • I can’t stand any of those shows for long, but once in a while I wonder what it’d be like to be ME but in that situation. You know, my brains, their body/situation. Kind of like the would you rather be old with a young mind or young with an older mind?

    Could you imagine how much money you could save at 75k an episode?!?

    [Then my brain fritzes at the images of how much I’d have to change to be the girl who could be on one of those shows and then I have to give up. Back to my real life. :)]

  • I just found your site through Caitline (healthy tipping point). I’ll definitely be coming back – I love your humor, and I love personal finance. haha do I sound nerdy? oh well…my husband is a CPA so what can I say? 🙂

    • Aww thank you! That’s so sweet!!! Welcome to my blog! I LOVE Caitlin’s blog! Sounds like your hubby is a smartie! 😉

  • Great review- I’ve been wanting to read this book, plus I love chick lit especially since my life is serious enough- it’s nice to get away into someone else’s fantasy life 😀

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