I read Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan in a matter of days, racing through the 400-ish pages in the heart of cottage country, Muskoka. It was a fitting place to read a book titled ‘Rich People Problems’ considering that’s about all I encountered while there. Complaints I overheard at a restaurant included: “My boat isn’t fast enough, my cottage isn’t big enough, and my driveway is too small to fit all my cars”. Talk about first world problems! But this strata of rich is nothing compared to the characters of Kwan’s latest book, these are the richest people in Asia, and I’m no economist, but I’m guessing Asia is home to most of the world’s billionaires, so these are the richest of the rich, to say the least.
In case it wasn’t obvious in my introduction, this book is fiction. It’s chick-lit* at it’s finest: romance, fashion, and overblown family drama-what’s not to love? The third in a series featuring many of the same characters, this book is all about the estate of Tyersall Park, and who it’s going to be bequeathed to as the matriarch of the family, Su Yi is on her deathbed. There is a dazzlingly large and complicated family around Su Yi, so big that the family tree is laid out at the beginning of the book to help readers along (personally, I referred to it over and over again to just get my bearings about who was who). While people are vying for Su Yi’s love, there is lots going on in the background including a cursory look at Singapore’s history, sex scandals everywhere you look, and fish getting plastic surgery. There seems to be something for everyone here.
One of my favourite things about this book are the little footnotes that act as asides from the author, or translations of some of the more colloquial sayings. These are just hilarious, and it feels like the author is winking at you saying “aren’t these people crazy?” as you read about the latest escapades of each character. Kwan clearly doesn’t take his writing too seriously (thank god), so you’re able to sail through these books without much thought to the moral, ethical or environmental implications to all this excess. Obviously this kind of easy breezy style won’t appeal to everyone, but all three books in the series are bestsellers, and his first in the series Crazy Rich Asians is being made into a movie. So there you have it; not for everyone, but many will enjoy it, just like I did.
*I feel the need to mention the fact that I don’t call this chick-lit in a condescending manner. Chick-lit is an extremely successful and worthwhile genre. I enjoy reading it, as do millions of other people (not just women), so please understand I use the label ‘chick-lit’ with love and respect 🙂
Great review! This book is my favorite of the three. I enjoyed this one the most.
thank you! I never read the second one, but I’m starting to think maybe I should!
You totally need to read the second one! I read the third first and then the second which was actually helpful – I really knew the characters because of the family tree in the third. I’m sad we won’t hear any more from these characters!
I’m surprised Kwan didn’t include a family tree with every book! It would have really helped lol
I like your chick lit note – right there with you.
I had no idea Muskoka was so ritzy!! I always think of the Guests of War trilogy when I think about Muskoka.
I basically want to go back and start these all over again. I miss the characters.
Gates of War? Never heard of it. And oh yes, Muskoka is EXTREMELY ritzy. Lots of hollywood celebrities have places there, it’s where I served Kate Hudson ice cream back in my summer job days 🙂
You’ve never heard of the Guests of War trilogy? And you call yourself Canadian?!
sigh-I know! And i’ve never read an Anne of Green Gables book, and I call myself Anne????
I’m jealous of your cottage time! (My family has a place in the Kawarthas – not so fancy but equally lovely cottage country.) I read and didn’t love Crazy Rich Asians but I know many have enjoyed this series.
The Kwarthas is pretty famous for their ice cream though 🙂
Oh, I’m so glad now that I’m not rich! Imagine the trauma of discovering my boat wasn’t big enough… *shudders*
I know right? Lol
I’ve seen this around and the title was so funny that I almost bought it, but I wasn’t sure, Sounds like fun though, although it’s been so long since I read a chicklit book!
it’s great for a nice break from heavy reading. Like watching sex in the city or something…
This book has been under my radar for quite some time given how popular it’s become in the few weeks since its release. After reading your stunning review I’m definitely going to be adding it to my TBR now!
I look forward to more of your posts in the future… Happy Reading! 🙂
Thanks so much for reading!
I just got a copy of the book. I read the first two already. Super excited!
I’m sure you’ll enjoy it, the books are perfect beach reads too!