Rich And Pretty By Rumaan Alam - The frikilife.comWomen are on center stage in Rich and Pretty , a novel whose title says it all: One luxuriates in her wealth and the other in her beauty, both rubbing up against an age when shiftlessness begins to lose its appeal. I felt unable to write a book about gay men, which I am. I felt unable to write a book about gay fatherhood. Lauren, one of the protagonists, has this suburban chip on her shoulder. Living in Brooklyn with his husband and two children, about whom he memorably wrote in the New York Times , Alam had to work with his husband to reorganize his life in order to complete his novel. And that is how I got through the sheer act of sitting at the computer and writing, is by taking other things off of my plate. Time is a finite resource.
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As close as sisters for twenty years, Sarah and Lauren have been together through high school and college, first jobs and first loves, the uncertainties of their twenties and the realities of their thirties. Sarah, the only child of a prominent intellectual and a socialite, works at a charity and is methodically planning her wedding. Can two women who rarely see one other, selectively share secrets, and lead different lives still call themselves best friends? Is it their abiding connection—or just force of habit—that keeps them together? Sarah and Lauren have grown up and grown apart. Sarah was born into money and her regal parents have taught her certain opinions and mannerisms that are often only emulated by the upper class sniff, sniff.
Thank you! This debut novel about two close childhood pals trying to maintain a friendship as their adult paths gradually diverge has an amiable familiarity. Lauren and Sarah have been BFFs since sixth grade, when Lauren, an year-old from a middle-class New Jersey family, snagged a scholarship to a fancy private school in Manhattan and was immediately befriended by popular Sarah, her ambassador to the world of the wealthy. Sarah is rich. Lauren is pretty. Sarah volunteers for worthy projects and works part time in a charity thrift store, goes to the gym, lunches with friends, has Sunday night dinner with her conservative political adviser father and her mother, a retired singer of moderate renown, in their large, eclectically elegant home.
Alam fully commits, carefully navigating such third-rail subjects as body image and female libido as he sees a female friendship from its vibrant, vital inception through to a complacent early middle age. During this same period, Lauren gets promoted out of the cookbooks division of a New York City publishing house and remains almost entirely untouched by the marriage plot. Though she has boyfriends, one named Gabe whom the reader barely meets but whom Sarah is pretty sure Lauren should have married, Lauren never quite embraces the idea of the LTR. As a child of privilege—the only child of a famous warmongering statesman and a Venezuelan-folk-singer-turned-socialite—Sarah has no choice but to get married. Though it sometimes bumps awkwardly against class difference, the friendship is not shaped by this difference so much as by a desire to keep open a path to prelapsarian girlhood:. At its best, this friendship allows Sarah and Lauren to transcend their present situations, to understand their lives as including but ultimately not being defined by the current moment.