I’ve read all the books in the CRAZY RICH ASIANS series not because I’m Asian and it’s a book about Asians. I honestly don’t relate to these people at all and that’s mostly because I don’t come from money. However, it’s like watching an episode of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous where you get a glimpse into that world. Instead of using white people from America, Kevin Kwan decided to use one of the wealthiest countries in the world for his backdrop; Singapore.
Each book has been unique and having Rachel, the only character who wasn’t rich, was like having a guide while you popped into these lives. However, I was a little bit disappointed by RICH PEOPLE PROBLEMS. I’ll get to that in a minute.
First, here’s a little bit more about the book:
When Nicholas Young hears that his grandmother, Su Yi, is on her deathbed, he rushes to be by her bedside–but he’s not alone. It seems the entire Shang-Young clan has convened from all corners of the globe, ostensibly to care for their matriarch but truly to stake claim on the massive fortune that Su Yi controls.
With each family member secretly fantasizing about getting the keys to Tyersall Park–a trophy estate on 64 prime acres in the heart of Singapore–the place becomes a hotbed of intrigue and Nicholas finds himself blocked from entering the premises.
As relatives claw over heirlooms, Astrid Leong is at the center of her own storm, desperately in love with her old sweetheart Charlie Wu, but tormented by his ex-wife–a woman hell bent on destroying Astrid’s reputation and relationship. Meanwhile Kitty Pong, married to billionaire Jack Bing, finds a formidable opponent in his fashionista daughter, Colette.
RICH PEOPLE PROBLEMS was a tad disappointing for me. I honestly thought it was because the story about Rachel meeting Nick’s rich family for the first time wrapped up at the end of CHINA RICH GIRLFRIEND. However, this book started off strong with Su Yi getting sick. This is supposed to be the penultimate point in their lives; waiting for this super rich grandma to die. It seemed a little bit petty, but from the characters that we’ve already been introduced to, it made sense with their personalities.
What I found the most interesting was reading about Su Yi’s life. How she escaped to Thailand during Japanese occupation. How she saved ambassadors from other countries by keeping them at Tyersall Park. I felt like this book could have been a flashback between her younger years and the final moments she’s spending with her family.
Obviously Kevin Kwan’s writing was just as witty as it was in his last two books. I’m not a huge fan of footnotes, but he definitely got me into them. However, I felt this book was a little too long and a little too drawn out. I thought everything leading up to Su Yi’s death made sense, but for some reason the end took forever to get there.
It definitely felt like this book was wrapping up every loose end. Of course, the big plot point was figuring out who would be getting the house. It was the jewel of the family’s eye and everyone wanted a piece of it. Once they found out who got the house, then the story became a bit convoluted and long. Even in the book’s timeline, it took months to raise enough money and it took months to decide on which plan to go with. It was exhausting and if this was my grandma’s house, I would want to speed this up as quickly as I can. I think it only took a week for my family to take care of my grandfather’s stuff when he died. Then again, I’m not rich.
This is that constant thread that runs through the whole story and quite honestly, boring without Rachel as the foil. That’s right. I said it. Rich people are boring. Reading about them spending money and spending some more money and making rash decisions to spend money is not compelling writing. I think Kevin Kwan hit a sweet spot with Rachel and Nick. The young woman who comes from no money inundated with the super rich and how she tries to navigate through that. That’s compelling stuff! Reading about rich people getting richer or even getting a little poorer isn’t that entertaining.
I honestly wished that maybe one of those super rich folks would go bankrupt and learn how to live on a budget or try and get a real job. When I think of rich people problems, I think of them losing all that wealth. I guess that does happen in a way, but it doesn’t seem like a real struggle or conflict for anyone involved.
Also, there was a ton of sabotage. I don’t remember the last two novels being so wrought with sabotage, but people were backstabbing like it was going out of style. It was really frustrating to read someone as good as Astrid being smeared because she loved the wrong person. It was super frustrating to read Eddie’s attempts to thwart Nick out of Su Yi’s will. I understand that that kind of thing exists when it comes to money and getting money, but it seemed so petty and a little bit too dramatic.
Flaws aside, I did rate this book at three stars. It did wrap up the CRAZY RICH ASIANS stories with a cute little million dollar bow, but I feel like maybe Kevin Kwan was struggling a little bit with figuring that part out. It was fun while it lasted, but like money, it doesn’t last for long.
- Hardcover: 398 pages
- Publisher: Doubleday (May 23, 2017)
- Rating: 3/5 stars
- Buy Rich People Problems on Amazon
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One thought on “Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan”
I just finished the first one last week. Though I enjoyed it a lot, I’m in no hurry to read the sequels. It was a fun book and a great way to get a glimpse of their crazy Rich lives. I think it was a tad bit too long for me and there were too many characters /plots to keep up with. I agree with you though. Astrid’s story made me super sad 😢