I recently received and read an ARC of Rumaan Alam’s Rich and Pretty.
I enjoyed reading this novel, but ultimately, don’t know that I am actually a fan of it. The writing is fairly good. The characters are well crafted, the manner in which those characters act and the dialogue between them is realistic, resulting in a feeling of authenticity while reading.
Yet, much like reality, the book ended, and I felt as though the novel’s action and dialogue had been meandering and ultimately, without any purpose. A book does not need a lesson or a moral to impart to the reader, but this book felt more like an unfinished exploration of an idea. Which is better – to be rich, or to be pretty? What if there were a pair of best girl friends, with one defined by one of these traits, the other defined by the other?
Apparently, what would happen is the two friends would be like most good friends, and slightly misunderstand, and slightly envy, the other, while continuing to love that other friend. Which is great (yay, friendship!)… but, ultimately, when the novel ends, the ultimate meaning appears to be: We all have our hardships, but hardships are a lot easier to bear when you have A LOT of money. In addition, I find it difficult to believe that both of these women do not possess quite a bit of money, since they can both afford to live in New York, where even a shitty apartment is going to be expensive on a single budget, and have the ability to save up to buy designer handbags.
I suppose if you are in the mood for a beach read that is not necessarily well written, but is written beautifully, that takes place in a world that feels very white, rich, and privileged, then this book might be a good fit for you. It is certainly not a book that I regret reading; I simply regret that the promise offered by the dialogue, characterization, and word choice was not ultimately delivered with respect to plot.
For those who have read Rich and Pretty, what were your thoughts? Did you like it more than I? Did you like it less? If you haven’t read Rich and Pretty, are you looking forward to its’ release? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!