I only have myself to blame for reading these books, nor did I stop after one, I finished them both. It was like stuffing yourself with cotton candy, insubstantial, cloying and regret thereafter. I chose these books because I had many hours of air travel last week and remembered that the first of the trilogy was kind of fun (Crazy Rich Asians) as was the movie. These books served their purpose in that they lasted the length of the flights, kept me mildly amused, and felt only mildly nauseous when finished.
For those of you who are old enough to remember the television shows Dallas and Dynasty, China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problems are more of the same, just a different decade and different part of the world. The amount of ink dedicated to describing obscenely expensive couture, watches, real estate, furniture, OMG it goes on and on and on. The characters are cartoonish to say the most. Rachel and Astrid are the “good women” although incredibly beautiful and imbued with good taste (of course). The rest of the women are also gorgeous, but they are bitchy, jealous, crazy and/or insipid. Mothers and Grandmothers are manipulative. The men are no better, Nick and Charlie are wealthy, handsome good guys, Carlton, is also good looking and rich transforms from brat to nice guy. Michael is good looking and sinister, Eddie is a buffoon. Children under 13 exist in the stories, but seem interhangeable. While everyone is super rich, they don’t seem super smart, or super hard working.
For those who did read or see Crazy Rich Asians, China Rich Girlfriend begins two years later with Rachel and Nick planning on getting married despite his mother (Eleanor) efforts to thwart the wedding. In the meantime there is a ne’er do well young man from Shanghai who has caused a fatal car accident in London. Through a connection with Nick’s cousin, Eleanor gets involved in the young man’s recovery. Improbable family relationships are revealed, plotting and politicking ensue. I can’t remember where Girlfriend ended and Problems began, but needless to say, there are poisonings, family reunions, an attempted suicide, embarrassing videos disseminated on the internet, absolutely every ridiculous plot is engaged. Crazy Rich Asians was described as satire, and it was a fun romp. Two more volumes didn’t add anything new to the satire, it is the same shallow characters and after hundreds of pages they just wear thin.