High Society

China Rich Girlfriend

What’s it about?
Did you read Crazy Rich Asians? China Rich Girlfriend is its sequel. We met Nick’s family in the first book, and this time we meet Rachel’s. She discovers her birth father (she was raised by a single mother in Cupertino – just down the street!), and it turns out that he’s one of the new Chinese billionaires. Which allows our author to explore Shanghai society in this book like he explored Singapore society in the last one.

I should note that Rachel is not the China Rich Girlfriend. She discovers she has a half-brother; his girlfriend is the titular character.

Why should you read it?
You should read it because you read and enjoyed the first book. It’s not as good, but it is still fun. Kevin Kwan – the author – was raised in Singapore and clearly has first-hand experience of a lot of that city; he researched Shanghai.

But overall China Rich Girlfriend is a relaxing beach/vacation/holiday read. (I’m not saying much, but there’s not a huge amount to say – which isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes an entertaining fun read is all you want.)

A real unreliable narrator

Oh the glory of it all

What’s it about?
Oh, The Glory of It All is a memoir about growing up in one of San Francisco’s elite families. There is a headline-grabbing messy divorce, a possibly narcissistic mother, a father who cares far too much about his position in society, a step-mother who may or may not be evil, and the son (the author) who fell through the parenting cracks. He does not hide how messed up he was, and a good chunk of the book is him figuring out how to become a normal person. How much blame to put on everyone… that’s an open question.

Why should you read it?
I read it because I have an idea for a character for a NaNoWriMo book, and she needs to be both a) messed up and b) from an elite San Francisco family. So this was great research for that.

You should read it if you like Vanity Fair articles about society people and their weird, weird lives. Or if you enjoy books like Crazy Rich Asians, which poke fun at Society and show how money can distort otherwise normal people. It’s also a portrait of San Francisco before the tech boom of the late 1990s started to change the entire SF Bay Area. If you’re interested in any of those things? This is the book for you.