Rich People Problems
by Kevin Kwan
E-book, 416 pages
Published May 23rd 2017 by Doubleday
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. It seems the entire Shang-Young clan has convened from all corners of the globe, ostensibly to care for their matriarch but truly to stake claim on the massive fortune that Su Yi controls.
With each family member secretly fantasizing about getting the keys to Tyersall Park–a trophy estate on 64 prime acres in the heart of Singapore–the place becomes a hotbed of intrigue and Nicholas finds himself blocked from entering the premises.
As relatives claw over heirlooms, Astrid Leong is at the center of her own storm, desperately in love with her old sweetheart Charlie Wu, but tormented by his ex-wife–a woman hell bent on destroying Astrid’s reputation and relationship. Meanwhile Kitty Pong, married to billionaire Jack Bing, finds a formidable opponent in his fashionista daughter, Colette.
I DID IT GUYS, I FINISHED ANOTHER SERIES!
Crazy Rich Asians is one of my favorite series: it’s crazy and ridiculously over the top, but all drama aside, at its heart this series is a story about family. And this book is no different.
At the start of the book, Shang Su Yi got a heart attack and from there, her condition went downhill. The whole branch of the Shang, Young, and T’sien descended on Tyresall Park in hopes of getting a scrap of Su Yi’s wealth. Meanwhile, Astrid is finally having her chance with Charlie, but have to deal with the thorn that is Michael, and Kitty is embattled with her new step daughter.
Based on the description, you can expect some crazy drama and plotting happened in this book. Yet while some people willing to do ANYTHING to get Su Yi’s $$$, most of the family actually truly concerned about Su Yi. It’s interesting to learn more about the matriach herself and her relationships with her children. We know from the beginning that she is an imposing figure, strict and controlling. But at the same time, we saw some of her soft side (especially with Nick and Alix) and the fighter in her. I said it once and I will say it again: Shang Su Yi is an amazing woman. She may be born with a golden platter on her mouth, but she is also a fighter and a selfless woman.
I’m happy we did not focus on Nick and Rachel, but more on the big family. Especially now, we got to see the relationship between the Young siblings. Each of them are so different with each other, but each of them also had different treatment from Su Yi. One thing for sure though is they love each other, their mother, and revered their father.
As this book focused more on the whole big clan, there are barely any focus on a certain character, with the exception of Su Yi. However, I am less pleased with Astrid and Kitty’s story line in this book. Astrid felt really out of character to me. Yes, she’s a super easy going person, but I don’t believe she’s that laid back that she would leave the deathbed, and being careless so many times to get into the whole mess. Kitty’s character also lacks the depth that she acquired at the end of China Rich Girlfriend. Where is the woman who wants to have a better life? Now all she do is spent her money and get into petty rivalry with Colette, it’s sad because she became another spoiled rich character.
Overall, I think Rich People Problems is a perfect ending for the trilogy. It was as lavish as the previous books, but not as crazy and actually have a pretty great focus on family. This book totally brings the series to a full circle: it starts with a wedding, and end with one. I am so happy that I read this series!
OVERALL THOUGHTS ON THE SERIES
My absolute favorite things in this series is the Chinese tradition and how much it is highlighted, explicitly and implicitly. From the legendary and complicated New Year the family must’ve been going through, the grave cleaning, the food, the pressure for a grandchildren from Eleanor Young, to a more subtle one like how they all respect their parents, no matter how much they disagree with them. Like, did you ever see Nick slamming the door or swear at his parents or Su Yi? Or the Young siblings to Su Yi?
At its heart, despite the whole glitz, glamour, and brands, this series is about family: CRA is about Rachel and her mother, Nick and his family; CRG is about Rachel’s dad family; and this book is about the Young family. Therefore, I feel like Su Yi disapproval of Rachel was not because she’s lower than the family. My thoughts are confirmed in Rich People Problems with some revelations, but that aside, I also think it’s because of her “unclear” family. In my country, we have a saying that when you get marry, you should know who the other’s family is. Like, it’s really important (I can’t translate the exact meaning). And I think it’s true for other Asian cultures, as the whole clan tend to get really involved in wedding planning and have important part to plays during the ceremony. For someone as old school as Su Yi, with how strong her traditional values and her mistakes had shaped her, it wouldn’t be a surprised. After all, in the end, we saw how much she appreciated her maids and in turn, how much they grieved for her. And how she tolerated Eleanor. And how she accepted Rachel in the end. So I don’t believe it’s about status, it’s more of her experience and family. I never saw her as villains, nor did Eleanor. Each of them has their own motives, but never a bad one. The ways the use are wrong, but they did not intent that much harm.
And finally, I noticed that in this book that many of the children inherited their parents fear i.e. Astrid with her perfect facade and fortress of privacy. They may have all the money in the world, but they are also limited by the expectations and fears set up by the parents. This includes Nick and Carlton’s girlfriend. Overindulgence, such as in Eddie’s part, also stems from his parent’s fear of not giving enough towards their children. While being pushed to the background, this series definitely explore the complexities of being a parent and what does it means for your children.
Have you read this series? What is your favorite family traditions?