Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan

Can you go through a sophomore slump with your fourth book? If you count Crazy Rich Asians, China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problems as one book, and I tend to see series that way, then yes, a sophomore slump with your fourth book is totally possible. I tried really hard to like Sex and Vanity, even contemplated quitting the book about a third in, but it's Kevin Kwan, right? So I persisted.

The book opens in Italy with an elaborate over the top wedding and the extravagant events leading up to it, so we're still looking at life through the crazy wealth lens. And that would be fine if the story line and characters weren't so dreadfully boring. Kwan spends a great deal of time telling readers what schools each character attended, from nursery school all the way through college or finishing school. Honestly, who cares? It didn't make any of them any more interesting.

The most interesting characters, in that they weren't so boring, so bland, SO vanilla, were the protagonist's mysterious love interest and his mother. Even the protagonist, Lucie, is boring. Though she's biracial (white and Chinese), her world is ridiculously white and she absorbs microaggressions daily from her family and friends without ever clapping back. I just ... Kevin Kwan, what were you trying to do with this book? Because you didn't.

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