Rich People Problems
By Kevin Kwan
398 pp. $27.95
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Reviewed by Kim Ode
If you've been awaiting Rich People Problems, then you know about Kevin Kwan's previous two novels, Crazy Rich Asians and China Rich Girlfriend. If you don't know about them but your friend next to you on the beach is half-engrossed/half-collapsing in laughter while reading Rich People Problems, go find the first two. It's essential.
Frankly, it'd be difficult for your friend to fill you in on the plot(s) because there are so many of them. But it's not even the plot(s) that have made Kwan's books million-sellers. Instead, it's his deft skewering of rich Asians, old families who are impossibly, improbably wealthy to the degree where they pity mere multimillionaires as impoverished.
These are people who demand filial loyalty with such lines as, "You're my son - I've watched nannies change your diapers, you know!" Kwan's satirical lance has become slightly more subtle, but no less deadly, over the course of the trilogy. The books are the essence of the beach read: lively plot(s), memorable characters, able to be read with adult beverages at hand.
This review originally appeared in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.