Book Review: Rich People Problems

I might be one of the only people who has never read Crazy Rich Asians or China Rich Girlfriend, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan which was a part of BookSparks summer reading challenge for the month of May.

What the book jacket says: When Nicholas Young hears that his grandmother, Su Yi, is on her deathbed, he rushes to be by her side—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.

First things first: if you’re battling a cold, hangover or generally not feeling well, Rich People Problems might be difficult to follow—the expansive family tree prior to the first chapter should serve as a warning. There’s a lot of characters to keep track of—not as many as the Game of Thrones series—each with their own distinctive quirks and connections with Su Yi. 

With this being my introduction to Kevin Kwan’s writing, I can easily see why his other books are highly recommended by so many people. Every character has their own individuality and speaking style, which doesn’t always happen with novels with this many memorable characters. There are no fluff characters, and each serves some sort of purpose in propelling the plot forward, which was probably my favorite thing about this book.

The book read like a movie, complete with characters who behave so badly you’re embarrassed for their significant other and/or children. Having never been to Asia, I really felt like I got a sense of what it’s like.  The phrases in Malay, Cantonese, Hokkien, Singlish, and Mandarin were not only purposeful but added to the richness of the story. At first, because I wasn’t feeling 100%, the sporadic use of use languages was confusing and I continuously lost my place between where I had read and the explanation or translation in the footnotes.

Even though I read the series out of order (Rich People Problems is the third book in the series), I didn’t feel it was necessary to put the book down and read the previous two in order to figure out who these people were and why they’re an important part of the story.

Like so many other’s, I recommend Rich People Problems and will no doubt be checking the first two books of the series out from my local library.

Books coming up: The Night The Lights Went Out, The Seven Husband’s of Evelyn Hugo, and The Best of Adam Sharp.

What are you currently reading?