Kevin Kwan, bestselling author of Crazy Rich Asians and China Rich Girlfriend, is back with an uproarious new novel featuring a family driven by fortune, an ex-wife driven psychotic with jealousy, a battle royal fought through couture-gown sabotage, and the heir to one of Asia’s greatest fortunes locked out of his inheritance.
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. The entire Shang-Young clan has convened from all corners of the globe to stake claim to their matriarch’s massive fortune. With each family member vying to inherit Tyersall Park—a trophy estate on sixty-four prime acres in the heart of Singapore—Nicholas’ childhood home turns into a hotbed of backbiting and intrigue. As Su Yi’s relatives fight over heirlooms, Astrid Leong is at the center of her own storm, desperately in love with her old sweetheart Charlie Wu but tormented by her ex-husband—a man hell-bent on destroying Astrid’s reputation and relationship. Meanwhile, Kitty Pong, married to China’s second richest man, Jack Bing, still feels upstaged by her new stepdaughter, famous fashionista Colette Bing.
In this sweeping tale that takes us from the elegantly appointed mansions of Manila to the secluded private islands in the Sulu Sea, from a kidnapping at Hong Kong’s most elite private school to a surprise marriage proposal at an Indian palace that is caught on camera by the telephoto lenses of paparazzi, Kevin Kwan hilariously reveals the long-buried secrets of Asia’s most privileged families and their rich people problems.
As much as I love Astrid updates, Rich People Problems felt like a real throwaway. With the numerous POVs and the short chapters, it felt like Kwan didn’t have a clear vision to finish this series.
Eleanor continues to be a nasty piece of work. At least that rings true – the genuinely terrible never learn a lesson and become better people. If you ever needed proof that Nick and Rachel are pushovers, look to the fact that they refuse to cut her out of their life. I don’t care what the cultural norm is or how badly you want grandchildren; Eleanor crossed a serious line into the level of abuse in this regard.
I know I said I’m here for the Astrid updates, but after everything she went through to find happiness, I feel like her ‘happy ending’ is a cop-out. Having to change your entire life and personality to be ‘free’ isn’t true freedom. Astrid deserved better.
As much as I enjoyed the rivalry between Kitty and Colette, I couldn’t stand when their crossfire hit other characters. It was interesting to see what they would do next, but it seemed awfully unfair when others, especially Carlton, took the brunt of the hit.
Once again, everyone except Charlie and Astrid is the absolute worst. Michael is complete garbage and gets worse with every imaginary breath he takes. Also, using Isabel’s mental illness as an excuse for her poor behaviour seemed like lazy writing. Although I’m not so naive that I believe wealthy people are ever held accountable for their actions, I don’t know why I’m consistently disappointed that the ones in this series continue to get away with awful behaviour.
As I’ve said before, when reviewing this series, representation is important. I wish more ‘normal’ people had been represented here, not just this twisted, wealthy view of the world.