China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan
Best for: People who enjoyed the first in this series (Crazy Rich Asians)
In a nutshell: We follow many of the original characters — and a few new ones — in this second book in the trilogy.
Worth quoting: N/A
Why I chose it:
I bought this at the same time as I bought China Rich Girlfriend because I figured I was going to like that and would want to start the sequel immediately.
Review: (Spoilers below)
I feel like I’m reading an amazing soap-opera, and I continue to thoroughly enjoy it. Yes, it’s all over-the-top and ridiculous. Yes, some of the characters are horrible and unlikeable, but I appreciate how many of them are changing over the course of the two novels.
Before I get too far into this review, I want to say how much I appreciated that Mr. Kwan played around a little with the formatting of the chapters this go round. We still get different point of view chapters, but we also have some chapters that consists solely of emails, or diary entries, or text messages. One is even the instructions offered by a super-fancy life coach (I’m sure she’d cringe at that description of her role, but eh, that’s what she is in my view) to someone who is desperate to be accepted.
Okay, so the content of the book. As I said above, I like the evolution of the different characters. We see some parents taking dramatic steps related to their children. We see some formerly humble folks turn into nightmares, and some nightmares humble themselves. Estrangements still exist in some areas, but in others they get resolved.
From a storytelling perspective, I appreciate that the will they / won’t they of Nick and Rachel is handled quickly, and their wedding happens in the first third of the book. I also enjoyed most of the handling of Rachel’s relationship with her father and brother. I do think Rachel could bee built out more, but at the same time, it’s nice to have a character who isn’t completely beyond reasonableness. She is an economics professor; she’s a smart woman who doesn’t seem interested in drama. While I LOVE reading about drama, I wouldn’t enjoy it happening to me, so I like that she mostly rolls with things, and then occasionally, when appropriate, says exactly what needs to be said, regardless of the ‘appropriateness’ of it from the perspective of many of these extremely rich families.
Like I said, I’m still enjoying these books. I read the last few pages of this one while on the bus to pick up the final one, and I started it as soon as I walked out of the book shop. I’ll go back to my dense non-fiction books next week, but for now I’m loving spending some time in this world.