Who Is Rich?
Every year, Rich Fischer leaves his family behind to teach a class on cartooning at an annual week-long summer arts conference. Amy O’Donnell is a student in narrative painting, the mother of three, married to a brutish Wall Street titan who runs a multi-billion dollar private equity fund. Rich and Amy met at the conference a year ago, shared a moment of passion, bonding over the shock at how their lives had turned out, then spent the winter exchanging hot texts and emails. Now they’re back.On the first day of the conference, at the annual softball game, Amy trips on second base and breaks her wrist, and is taken off the field by paramedics. Beside himself with guilt and longing, torn and confused about how to comfort her, Rich wanders into a jewelry store and accidentally buys a bracelet, wiping out his family’s checking account, which is also their savings account, and was supposed to pay for his daughter’s preschool in the fall. He then accompanies Amy through a near-death country-doctoring to complete the most arduous seduction in history. At this point, Rich comes to realize that all anyone needs for wild sex is two people who know each other just well enough to feel safe but don’t share a kitchen. In the delightfully wicked events that follow, these people entirely unravel.This is an unforgettable tale of love and adultery, set against the landscape of a New England fishing village, with pornographic sunsets and The Sea Breeze Motel. Because of its location, the conference has an easy time attracting poets, skitterish teenagers in search of illicit pleasures, old guys, driftwood sculptors, printmakers, actors, and playwrights. On the faculty are Nobel Prize-winning storytellers, talented performers, biographers, addicts, drunkards and perverts, one hit has-beens, mid-list somebodies, and legitimate stars. There is a kind of heated, inordinate bonding that happens among grown-ups, forced out of their decorous privacy, into visceral closeness, that has the feeling of an open air loony bin.Who Is Rich? is a study in midlife alienation, erotic pleasure, envy, and bitterness in the new gilded age. But the novel also addresses deeper questions of family, monogamy and the intoxicating beauty of children within a confusing domestic alliance.

Who Is Rich? Details

TitleWho Is Rich?
Author
FormatHardcover
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 4th, 2017
PublisherRandom House
ISBN0812997980
ISBN-139780812997989
Number of pages352 pages
Rating
GenreFiction

Who Is Rich? Review

  • Larry H
    April 18, 2017
    If people were happy with their lives, if they weren't having to deal with crises of conscience, relationships, and faith, what would that mean for the state of fiction? Much in the way that evil characters are more fun to read (and write) about, unhappy characters definitely provide a richer mine from which to build a novel.Rich Fischer, the protagonist of Matthew Klam's Who is Rich? , is definitely unhappy. At one point he was a cartoonist of some renown, but he now works as an illustrator at If people were happy with their lives, if they weren't having to deal with crises of conscience, relationships, and faith, what would that mean for the state of fiction? Much in the way that evil characters are more fun to read (and write) about, unhappy characters definitely provide a richer mine from which to build a novel.Rich Fischer, the protagonist of Matthew Klam's Who is Rich? , is definitely unhappy. At one point he was a cartoonist of some renown, but he now works as an illustrator at a magazine which covers politics and culture."Illustration is to cartooning as prison sodomy is to pansexual orgy. Not the same thing at all."The only thing really left from those better days is that every summer he travels to New England to teach a four-day cartooning workshop at a week-long arts conference. It's not the most fulfilling opportunity, but it does get him away from his family and from the constant problems weighing on his mind and his psyche."I wasn't a teacher. I didn't belong here. I'd ditched my family and driven nine hours up the East Coast in Friday summer highway traffic so I could show off in front of strangers, most of whom had no talent, some of whom weren't even nice, while I got paid almost nothing."Rich and his wife Robin are unhappily married and on the verge of utterly resenting each other full time. Their two young children have their own dysfunctions, and how the couple chooses to handle (and/or ignore) these issues adds more strain to their exasperating relationship. Money is always tight, their sex life is almost non-existent, and both are often bitter, about their relationship and their lives."Was it a good life? Was I more joyful, sensitive, and compassionate in my deeply entangled commitment to them? Was there anything better than seeing the world through the eyes of my nutty kids? Was my obligation to Robin the most sincere form of love?...Was this as close to love as I was ever going to get? The closer I got, the more I wanted to destroy the things I loved. Something rose up in me, threatening me. I had to deflect it somehow."There is one bright light drawing him back to the workshop this year—Amy. Amy is a painting student whom Rich met at last year's workshop, and they shared a flirtation, a little bit more than that, and then spent the winter alternately texting and longing to see each other, and punishing themselves for wanting this. She lives in a wholly different world than Rich—Amy is married to an extremely wealthy, reasonably loathsome Wall Street magnate who is barely home, and rarely pays attention to her and their children when he is. And as much as Amy wants more, wants something different, she isn't sure if she deserves that, and if so, if Rich is that something different.This is an interesting meditation on monogamy, marriage, children, middle-age, financial success, and whether abandoning your dreams for something more stable makes you a sell-out or a failure. It's also an exploration of what kind of happiness we should expect from life—should you take what you're given or should you hope for more?Klam is an excellent writer. I read his story collection, Sam the Cat: And Other Stories , about 17 years ago, and he's been one of those writers I've been waiting for years to write another book. This definitely didn't disappoint, although it's a bit more of a downer than I expected. Given the subject matter, it's not too surprising, but I felt the book flowed a lot more slowly because of its morose tone. There are moments of lightheartedness, even humor, but the dilemma that Rich and Amy find themselves in, and Rich's own struggles tend to take more precedence, at least early on. Who is Rich? definitely made me think, and helped me keep the challenges of my own life in perspective. And isn't that why we read sometimes, to make us feel better about our lives than those the characters are living?NetGalley and Random House provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available!See all of my reviews at http://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blo....
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  • Liz
    June 12, 2017
    Who is Rich? Well, no one I really want to spend any time with. He's unhappy, self absorbed, whiny and boring. He can't accept that his 15 minutes of fame is over and done. The beginning of this book reads like one long moan. I wanted to put it down and never pick it up again. I persevered, because hope springs eternal and I kept wanting to see if it would ever improve. Rich is back teaching cartoon drawing at a summer conference. Five days on Cape Cod while his wife stays at home with their thr Who is Rich? Well, no one I really want to spend any time with. He's unhappy, self absorbed, whiny and boring. He can't accept that his 15 minutes of fame is over and done. The beginning of this book reads like one long moan. I wanted to put it down and never pick it up again. I persevered, because hope springs eternal and I kept wanting to see if it would ever improve. Rich is back teaching cartoon drawing at a summer conference. Five days on Cape Cod while his wife stays at home with their three small children. The prior year he had an emotional affair with a student that continued over the winter and she's back again. She's unhappy and rich. He's an ass, not to mention stupid. And it's not like any of the other characters are any more sympathetic. I enjoyed the writing. The descriptions are well done. But it couldn't make up for my dislike of the main character and the drudgery of his narrative. This was not to my liking, but I appreciate netgalley and Random House providing me with an advance copy of this book.
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  • Mary
    May 24, 2017
    I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.I didn't enjoy reading this book. I almost didn't finish it.. Several times. After I was done I really wondered why I had bothered. There was not one character I could say was ok. Rich was a creep. A cheater. Selfish. Nuts. Amy was no better. Robin was also self absorbed and they all deserved the crappy life they all got. There were some moments of hilarity, humor....but the rest of it seemed like a free flow ner I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.I didn't enjoy reading this book. I almost didn't finish it.. Several times. After I was done I really wondered why I had bothered. There was not one character I could say was ok. Rich was a creep. A cheater. Selfish. Nuts. Amy was no better. Robin was also self absorbed and they all deserved the crappy life they all got. There were some moments of hilarity, humor....but the rest of it seemed like a free flow nervous breakdown ending with a trip to the mental ward. And then I needed a shower. This book just wasn't for me.
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  • Kasa Cotugno
    June 6, 2017
    In a book I reviewed earlier this week, I pointed out the need for a male version of chicklit, and here is another example. Another reviewer of this book in particular did suggest a cruder name, but I think I'll just call it guylit. Rich is a cartoonist, 42 years old, returning to an annual four-day conference that draws artists in all fields to an idyllic Atlantic seaside town (I like to believe it is in Rhode Island). Last year he had a "thang" with Amy, a stunning lecturer that evolved into a In a book I reviewed earlier this week, I pointed out the need for a male version of chicklit, and here is another example. Another reviewer of this book in particular did suggest a cruder name, but I think I'll just call it guylit. Rich is a cartoonist, 42 years old, returning to an annual four-day conference that draws artists in all fields to an idyllic Atlantic seaside town (I like to believe it is in Rhode Island). Last year he had a "thang" with Amy, a stunning lecturer that evolved into a text flurry and several unsatisfactory meetings. It doesn't hurt that thanks to her financier husband Amy is megabomb rich. In fact, there are multiple billionaires present here, and Klam details each scene and experience in such minute detail the reader feels they're present. As for Rich, the only thing rich about him is his name (and possibly his talent). At home in Baltimore is his family, wife Robin and two small children. Robin is probably one of the most well developed women in any guylit book, and her accomplishments and character beg the question, why does Rich look elsewhere? Rich faces some hard decisions, and while he slips on many occasions, when it comes to the big stuff, he chooses the high road. Interestingly, in other reviews, men are generally more sympathetic and award more stars, while women, not so much. The harshest reviews are those by women. Probably not a surprise - as I said, guylit. Men, if they read chicklit, tend to be harsher in their assessment.
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  • Glady
    May 11, 2017
    I received a free ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an impartial review.It is a falsehood to have Who Is Rich? posted on my READ shelf; it belongs on my Did Not Finish shelf. I tried really hard and read about 20% of this first person narrator novel. The problem was that I didn't enjoy any of it.There is a danger with first person narrators - they can be oblivious to their frailties and are somewhat self-centered. In this novel, graphic novelist Rich Fischer is a returning teacher at a summer a I received a free ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an impartial review.It is a falsehood to have Who Is Rich? posted on my READ shelf; it belongs on my Did Not Finish shelf. I tried really hard and read about 20% of this first person narrator novel. The problem was that I didn't enjoy any of it.There is a danger with first person narrators - they can be oblivious to their frailties and are somewhat self-centered. In this novel, graphic novelist Rich Fischer is a returning teacher at a summer arts conference. Wife and children, along with the day-to-day realities of family, are left at home while Rich does the conference. Rich questions the future of his marriage while reminiscing about a flirtatious encounter with a past participant at the summer arts conference. His one semi hit graphic novel propelled him toward other opportunities but he has been unable to capitalize on these. Rich, personally and professionally, appears caught in a perpetual state of ennui.Characters and plot line were not interesting enough to get me to continue on.
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  • Petra
    April 6, 2017
    Who Is Rich? Rich is a committed father of two kids under the age of five. Rich is a somewhat less committed husband to an angry wife. Rich is unhappy. Rich is dejected because his marriage has become a sex-free environment. Rich has money problems. Rich was a once promising cartoonist but is now a struggling illustrator. Rich is stuck. Rich has an affair with a woman who doesn't have money problems but husband problems. Rich is spending a week away from his family at an annual summer school/con Who Is Rich? Rich is a committed father of two kids under the age of five. Rich is a somewhat less committed husband to an angry wife. Rich is unhappy. Rich is dejected because his marriage has become a sex-free environment. Rich has money problems. Rich was a once promising cartoonist but is now a struggling illustrator. Rich is stuck. Rich has an affair with a woman who doesn't have money problems but husband problems. Rich is spending a week away from his family at an annual summer school/conference where he meets up with Amy, the aforementioned woman. Rich likes extensive descriptions of people and his surroundings and reading his rambling introspection for 350 pages was the dullest thing I've done in a while. Couldn't wait to get to the end. I tend to enjoy these mid-life-crisis 'male-lit' type of books because it's an interesting change from the more frequent female POVs, but this one wasn't right for me. There were some fleeting moments of wit and admittedly, bits of the writing were good. I didn't have an issue with the adultery theme. If anything that was the most interesting aspect of this book. But overall, there was too much inconsequential rambling. All those background characters? There were moments when I could relate to Rich. Married life with two under fives and financial worries can be a strain. Been there, done that. But ultimately, there wasn't enough there to make me care. When I finally got to the end, I was mainly wondering what the actual point of it all was?I received an ARC via NetGalley. Thank you and sorry.
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  • Don Gorman
    April 13, 2017
    (1 1/2). To say this is not my style is an understatement. This is one of those tortured, obsessive, angst driven, woe is me type of narratives that is totally self indulgent. It is well written, so I will be kind and round it up to two stars. An interesting lead character, who manages to make his life as complicated as he possibly can. If you are into introspective narratives this is for you. Stories like this leaves me cold at best.
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  • Lauren
    June 9, 2017
    I struggled with this book. My first response to Who is Rich? Rich is an asshole. I wanted to give up on this book so many times because the main character is so completely unlikable. I almost didn't make it past the first 20 pages because he came off as a sexist, selfish asshole who seriously needs to get over himself. But I trudged on and Rich's rants get a little more soft-edged, more introspective, more self-critical. Rich is a middle-aged cartoonist, married with two young children. He's un I struggled with this book. My first response to Who is Rich? Rich is an asshole. I wanted to give up on this book so many times because the main character is so completely unlikable. I almost didn't make it past the first 20 pages because he came off as a sexist, selfish asshole who seriously needs to get over himself. But I trudged on and Rich's rants get a little more soft-edged, more introspective, more self-critical. Rich is a middle-aged cartoonist, married with two young children. He's unhappy. Well, more, he's stuck. And he goes to his annual writer's workshop/conference where he teaches to get away from his family. He seems to be a work at home dad, and his wife, who works in television, is usually the one away on business while he deals with the kids. And this is his chance to get away and have some me time. He finds himself at a crossroads in his life, career changing/dwindling, marriage stagnating, stuck in a rut. So he does the guy thing and cheats on his wife. I wanted, I tried, to enjoy reading this, but I just couldn't. It's a book about a middle-aged white guy and he's not a man's man, and he's not suffering from testosterone poisoning, and he thinks, and he questions himself, which are all good things. And there are times when this book is beautiful, and spare, yet abundant. Ultimately, though, I struggled through it and I'm struggling to find a positive outcome of having read it. I received a digital copy of this through Penguin's First to Read program.
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  • Lolly K Dandeneau
    April 13, 2017
    via my blog: https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com“… as I struggled to stay the course, all this goodness and responsibility; it seeded an impulse toward endless badness and rebellion.” Who is Rich Fischer? He is many selves struggling with each other, full of desires that go against the ‘goodness and responsibilities’ of a husband and father. He is tied down and yet when let loose to teach a conference on cartooning at a week-long conference, full of like minded artistic individuals he is reuni via my blog: https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com“… as I struggled to stay the course, all this goodness and responsibility; it seeded an impulse toward endless badness and rebellion.” Who is Rich Fischer? He is many selves struggling with each other, full of desires that go against the ‘goodness and responsibilities’ of a husband and father. He is tied down and yet when let loose to teach a conference on cartooning at a week-long conference, full of like minded artistic individuals he is reunited with his lover, Amy. Too, he is disappointed in himself and his cartooning. Once a success, that part of his life seems to be dwindling and his failure is like a poison seeping into his marriage. Crazy in love with his children but wondering if his very family serves as a block to another life, to his creativity. “Was this as close to love as I was ever going to get? The closer I got the more I wanted to destroy the things I loved.” A man who acts out against his marriage, causing rifts. Getting older, life closing in, his creativity possibly dying, envious of those just starting out and with much more success than him, disappointing with himself this conference feels like an alternate universe. This is where people can set their true bohemian selves free, indulging in every pleasure while focusing on their art, or on forbidden partners.Does fate punish the adulterers, serving as a wake up call to hold fast to the life they themselves chose to make? Is it possible to rein in one’s nature and desires in order to sustain respectability, to be a loyal spouse and exemplary parent? This novel doesn’t just expose the longings Rich struggles with, it’s about how diminished marriage can make a solitary person feel, how it can chip at one’s creative side, burying any mysterious parts some of us wish to cling to. Marriage splits you open from the skull down, there is nothing that goes ‘unmeasured’. The very moment you have children, you are exposed and open to judgement. You are both a success and a failure. It’s hard to be charming and deeply fascinating when your partner knows your bathroom habits, when you’ve let them down countless times. But the flip side is the comfort of knowing you are loved despite all the disgusting parts of your nasty self. Children are a chance to live your childhood over again, to be someone’s hero. In Rich’s life, they keep him grounded in his marriage, and expand his heart to bursting. But Rich is conflicted. It’s easy to fall passionately in ‘love’ if you can call it that, with someone you don’t have to share the bleaker side of life with. What bigger indulgence than sharing passion, and having another person to complain about the crappy things in your lives without having to truly be there through the ugly stuff? It’s fantasy, isn’t it? Fantasy made flesh, but are he and Amy ever fully present in each other’s lives enough to really be ‘in love’? Yet there is intimacy, with Amy he can empty so much of himself that needs to be let out. “Giving voice to every thought in my head, having a place for that, meant a lot to me.” In every marriage, bills, children, work, life takes over, wears you down and it’s not always easy to be an ear, especially when you are resentful of your spouses laziness or failures. Sex, the sex that starts to feel monotonous, if you’re even having it because with the demands of life and young children sometimes you just don’t feel erotic and sex is the last thing on your mind. So many marriages have such intermissions from intimacy, we’re all human.When Amy is injured playing softball, his feelings are in turmoil. To make things better, he purchases a bracelet for his lover that costs his family, emptying out their bank account. Amy O’Donnell’s life is much more comfortable than Rich’s- a mother of three, married to a distant, unloving Wall Street titan but she isn’t any happier. Yet this purchase cost even his daughter’s preschool fees in the fall. Is he unraveling, letting his passion get the best, or worst of him? ” My thoughts were slow and bleating and obstructed, but I noted, finally, that Amy had been a kind of home, a vessel for my discombobulated mind, that my own family treated me like a footstool but this stranger had cared for my soul.” Does Rich just enjoy suffering? Interesting how he relates to Amy’s complaints, likely similar to how his own wife Robin often feels about him. There is a lot about Robin too, because he does love her. Early in their relationship he notes, “I would miss her and then forget her, and have to remember her all over again.” More, he felt “Welcoming Robin back into my life was like rejoining a cult: special rules, rituals, foods, a certain way of speaking, figuring out what was permitted, how to avoid those actions now deemed wrong.” The same can be said of any relationship and more, of our our own families, we are all little cults. What a fantastic insightful thought!Rich’s love for his children is evident in the beginning of the novel. “Their lightness and willingness and spirit and stupidity surprised me, their readiness to bravely step into a world they couldn’t understand, packed with swimming pools, speeding cars, blazing sun, fanged dogs, stinging bees, heat, silent anger, slammed doors….” any man that sees through his children’s eyes this keenly is crazy about his family. As Rich fights himself, we get a heck of a glimpse into the mind of a man as he enters the middle of his life and questions everything he has made of it, and decides what is to come. He is selfish, kind, tender, cold, wise, stupid, and as bumbling as any of us. Well done.Publication Date: July 4, 2017Random House Publishing
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  • BabeOBooks
    April 17, 2017
    If you like books about self-absorbed, middle-aged, adulterous white men mourning their lost youth, then this is the book for you. Although the main character, Rich Fischer, spends most of the book whining about his first-world problems, WHO IS RICH? is strangely compelling, perhaps because some of Rich's angst is shared by most of us who have survived married life with small children. A washed-up cartoonist, Rich is broke, with an angry wife and two kids under the age of five. His mistress is t If you like books about self-absorbed, middle-aged, adulterous white men mourning their lost youth, then this is the book for you. Although the main character, Rich Fischer, spends most of the book whining about his first-world problems, WHO IS RICH? is strangely compelling, perhaps because some of Rich's angst is shared by most of us who have survived married life with small children. A washed-up cartoonist, Rich is broke, with an angry wife and two kids under the age of five. His mistress is the wife of a billionaire and Rich spends much of the book careening between desire, envy and disgust with regard to her. Klam is a talented writer but ultimately, I just wanted Rich to pull himself together and act like an adult. Fans of THE CORRECTIONS and WONDER BOYS will enjoy this book.
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  • Philip Bailey
    April 8, 2017
    If you are from or know of coastal New England you can almost guess the town. Sort of a rambling account of an indecisive guy who loves his wife one minute and is jumping into an affair the next. Too much mental contemplations for my taste as it winds through the action parts. Interesting enough to keep me engaged to the last page but no rush to read it again
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  • The Blonde Bookworm
    June 29, 2017
    I typically try to look for the good in a book even when I don't really enjoy it as a whole, but I have to say that I really couldn't think of one thing that I enjoyed about this book. Maybe when I got to the last page and it was over? Is that harsh? Maybe, but Rich just was not an interesting character and I really disliked reading about his shenanigans. Rich is a failed cartoonist/artist who teaches at a summer camp every year. He has an attitude, he is self-absorbed, and he really didn't ente I typically try to look for the good in a book even when I don't really enjoy it as a whole, but I have to say that I really couldn't think of one thing that I enjoyed about this book. Maybe when I got to the last page and it was over? Is that harsh? Maybe, but Rich just was not an interesting character and I really disliked reading about his shenanigans. Rich is a failed cartoonist/artist who teaches at a summer camp every year. He has an attitude, he is self-absorbed, and he really didn't entertain me at all. I kept reading really hoping that the novel would pick up, but it never did. I did think the writing and descriptions were nice, but the story as a whole wasn't for me. I did read several really nice reviews about this novel, so don't let me review scare you off. This just didn't happen to be the book for me, but you could love it. Thank you so much to NetGalley and Random House for providing a copy for review.
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  • Kim
    June 21, 2017
    won this book off of www.librarything.com back in May.
  • Toni
    May 4, 2017
    We're (society) not used to men whining about their careers and family life. It's okay, they should let off a little steam, with other men, but we don't want to hear you complain about your wife who's home breastfeeding a 2-3 month old baby, while caring for two toddlers under five! A ravaged body, sleep-deprived, milkprocessing operating, school/nursery teacher women, trying to survive day after day! (been there, done that.) I understand Rich, you're having a career slump right now, but uh go s We're (society) not used to men whining about their careers and family life. It's okay, they should let off a little steam, with other men, but we don't want to hear you complain about your wife who's home breastfeeding a 2-3 month old baby, while caring for two toddlers under five! A ravaged body, sleep-deprived, milkprocessing operating, school/nursery teacher women, trying to survive day after day! (been there, done that.) I understand Rich, you're having a career slump right now, but uh go spend 2 hours at the library or a coffee shop, and put some effort into it. It's tough, we know, but flirting with a woman at the conference is not helping anyone in the long run. You still have to work, snap out out of it, get some counseling, antidepressants, take a free art class for graphic arts, etc..In a blink of an eye you're kids are going to be teenagers. It's real but tough to read, however the writing is Great.Thank you Netgalley.
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  • Tonstant Weader
    June 17, 2017
    Who Is Rich? has a deeply authentic misery at its core. Matthew Klam’s first novel tells the story of Rich Fischer, a graphic novelist whose best days are in his past, his books out of print, and the only remnant of past glories is an annual invitation to teach autobiographical cartooning at the Matticook College Summer Arts Conference. His marriage is unsatisfying, passion buried under parenting. The glimmering bits of excitement come from a more off-again-than-on affair with Amy, a woman he me Who Is Rich? has a deeply authentic misery at its core. Matthew Klam’s first novel tells the story of Rich Fischer, a graphic novelist whose best days are in his past, his books out of print, and the only remnant of past glories is an annual invitation to teach autobiographical cartooning at the Matticook College Summer Arts Conference. His marriage is unsatisfying, passion buried under parenting. The glimmering bits of excitement come from a more off-again-than-on affair with Amy, a woman he met at the conference a year ago, an affair of texts, e-mails, and guilt.The entire story happens during this short five-day conference. The affair stutters off and on and off again while the on is filled with sublime sex and the off with guilt and dislike. Amy is the wife of a billionaire. She gives away millions of dollars to charities to deflect from the guilt of their parasitic source of wealth and the hatred and alienation she feels in her marriage. Rich loves, desires, and hates her in equal measure.His wife Robin is a television producer whose gone from traveling to dangerous places around the world to exploitive and soporific true crime series. Rich has gone from graphic novelist success to writer’s block and magazine illustration. Their saving grace is their children whom they love and struggle to parent.This is not a novel full of action. It’s one man’s running commentary on life, politics, the economy, love, marriage, parenthood, and the stultifying boredom of being an adult. Rich is not particularly nice, he is cheating on his wife after all. But he is funny, wry, and a wicked observer of life’s absurdities. He is not a bad man, he wants to be kind and supportive and his children melt his heart into a puddle.Frankly, the story itself is not that interesting. Sad and disillusioned middle-aged man dithering about feeling sorry for themselves are a dime a dozen. What makes Who Is Rich? special is the prose, the brilliant arrangements of words, the way modern American absurdity is captured so vividly and succinctly. I found myself frequently marking whole paragraphs to recall later. The illustrations by John Cuneo also were a fabulous addition.To give a brief example, Rich wanders about the house waiting for his son who woke in the night to start crying again after being soothed and fed, waiting and wandering until he “split the worry into so many pieces it started to glitter.” He wonders whether he still has stories to tell, though also thinks that he will be relevant as long as people “want to cram their spouses into a dumpster.”The title asks us Who Is Rich? but it’s asking two questions, really. Who is Rich Fischer? and who is rich in the things that matter. Amy has billions, but she is miserable. It’s a title, so the words are capitalized, but maybe the question is not “Who is Rich?” but “Who is rich?” It’s hard to tell, particular when Rich is telling the story…is he honest about his life? Who can tell, after all, as he tells us there is no such thing as a reliable narrator.Who Is Rich? will be released July 4th. i received an advanced e-galley from the publisher through NetGalley.https://tonstantweaderreviews.wordpre...
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  • Vishaka Rajan
    June 16, 2017
    This novel is really out of my comfort zone. It's a novel that is all about infidelity and family and sexual pleasure. It's not something I have ever been comfortable reading about but I like to give new things a try and I wanted to broaden my reading range. So thank you to the First to Read program for giving me the chance to read this ARC in exchange for my honest review!This book ... well, it was definitely not a favorite for me. I don't think there was a single thing I liked about this novel This novel is really out of my comfort zone. It's a novel that is all about infidelity and family and sexual pleasure. It's not something I have ever been comfortable reading about but I like to give new things a try and I wanted to broaden my reading range. So thank you to the First to Read program for giving me the chance to read this ARC in exchange for my honest review!This book ... well, it was definitely not a favorite for me. I don't think there was a single thing I liked about this novel. I went for it because I thought it would be an interesting perspective on adultery and lust. Instead, I was stuck with a novel that had terrible characters and self-indulgent narratives. I hated Rich for being so whiny and selfish and horrible. I hated all of the other characters for the same reason. I liked the writing style but the story itself was seriously not great and I am struggling to think of even one good thing to say about it. This book was just not for me but maybe someone else will enjoy it more. For more reviews, visit: www.veereading.wordpress.com
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  • Anne Foster
    April 25, 2017
    What am amazing writer Klam is! Through the eyes of Rich, a once-famous cartoonist--now considered a 42-year-old "has been," we see what it is like to be in the midst of a mid-life crisis while he is teaching at his yearly conference of the arts. Worried about his wife who no longer seems to love him, his two young children whom he adores but feels their energy sapping his life force, he falls into the arms of the young woman he met at the conference the year before. Both have marital issues, bo What am amazing writer Klam is! Through the eyes of Rich, a once-famous cartoonist--now considered a 42-year-old "has been," we see what it is like to be in the midst of a mid-life crisis while he is teaching at his yearly conference of the arts. Worried about his wife who no longer seems to love him, his two young children whom he adores but feels their energy sapping his life force, he falls into the arms of the young woman he met at the conference the year before. Both have marital issues, both desire sexual intimacy, both push and pull leaving them alienated from each other and the society to which they crave to belong. Adultery, monogamy, children, depression, pain...what doesn't this book address? Anyone who's felt alone in a marriage or relationship can relate to this novel--or really anyone who's human--Klam's biting humor is relentless as he addresses what it's like to be human and attempt to relate to other flawed humans.
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  • Papa Woodie
    April 12, 2017
    An overall enjoyable read, well narrated and smoothly written from a talented author. Interspersed with swirls of humor and veins of anguish, this remains nonetheless a deeper study of the bittersweet triumphs and conflicts of daily modern (American) life.A reflective introspective ramble analyzing of the character's own life - his faults, desires, dreams, and ambitions - with deep insights into the complex psyches of his wife, his lover, and to some degree, his contemporaries.
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  • Jonathan
    June 7, 2017
    Sometimes it is difficult to rate a book, this being among those times. As I read through I had to weigh out technical aspects I didn't like vs my own sense of what a story "should be", and my own sense of morality. In that way, it's good, it makes you ask questions, and the writing is technically sound. However, there is quite a bit, despite the crisp writing, that detracts from the story as a whole."Who is Rich?" Is basically about a broken family life, and an ongoing affair to "deal with the Sometimes it is difficult to rate a book, this being among those times. As I read through I had to weigh out technical aspects I didn't like vs my own sense of what a story "should be", and my own sense of morality. In that way, it's good, it makes you ask questions, and the writing is technically sound. However, there is quite a bit, despite the crisp writing, that detracts from the story as a whole."Who is Rich?" Is basically about a broken family life, and an ongoing affair to "deal with the lack" that comes from the main character's marriage. Outside how he writes about his children; there isn't much likable about him. He's: Self-loathing, jealous of the students he is trying to teach, or anyone else who has a modicum of success. A part of him hates his Republican squeeze who has more money than God and her ever-shifting politics. Most other characters in the book hardly exist. They are background characters who come through together, squeezed into a sardine can of dismissal meandering prose, each bleeding together until you can hardly keep track of anyone other than the wife, her kids, and his adulterous relationship. A lot of this feels more like padding than anything else, sometimes taking up 20 pages or more as a meandering stroll into some sort of mini-oblivion until we return to the main plot points. Maybe there is a point to these pages existing, an attempt to juxtapose the "unreality" of everyone else he comes into contact with, but this could have been done with fewer pages, more clarity, less jumbled jumping around.The affair itself, and the relationship with his family, despite the book's few flaws, are the strong points. However, by the end, even these are left unresolved; and the ending becomes anti-climatic through this lens, waxing into tropes of poeticism of us "All being connected and made of stardust." The book, to some degree, seems to make a farce of itself. Others might very well have more appreciation for the entanglements of married life, the reactions to it, the politics the book covers, and the axiom: "There are two ways God punishes us, not giving us what we want, or giving us exactly what we want." (This is covered through one of the more successful characters, who only exists as the antithesis of the main character's struggle, but still isn't satisfied, feeling, now, he has nothing left to give and that everyone merely wants a piece of him.) But, as I've said, I found some of the more widespread chapters a bit difficult to follow, and it seemed they could have been covered in shorter order, and more effectively. In the end, Klam is a decent, even a good writer, the book just tried to cover a bit too much, and left too much unresolved my for personal tastes.
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  • Chaya Nebel
    June 23, 2017
    This was not an enjoyable read for me.The protagonist, the eponymous Rich, is a middle-aged has-been in the world of comics and graphic novels. He had a meteoric rise to fame 6 years previously, but his career has stalled. In addition, his marriage is deeply flawed and his relationship with his wife on the rocks. There is mutual resentment of each other's work and general frustration at the burden of caring for their two young children. they communicate in barbs and put-downs, mostly.Rich finds This was not an enjoyable read for me.The protagonist, the eponymous Rich, is a middle-aged has-been in the world of comics and graphic novels. He had a meteoric rise to fame 6 years previously, but his career has stalled. In addition, his marriage is deeply flawed and his relationship with his wife on the rocks. There is mutual resentment of each other's work and general frustration at the burden of caring for their two young children. they communicate in barbs and put-downs, mostly.Rich finds himself back at a summer arts retreat where he's been teaching, along with other semi-luminaries in the artistic fields, where he meets up again with a woman with whom he started an affair the previous summer. The plot of the novel focuses on their relationship during this summer. Rich is not a nice, likable, relatable fellow. He's morose, depressed, scared, cynical, unkind and unhappy. He colors everything in this gorgeous location with a gray paintbrush, and therefore the prose suffers because of his point of view. He's unhappy in his marriage, unsuccessful at his profession, jealous of his students, lackluster about the arts classes he's teaching, cynical about his prospects, and overall gloomy.He should be a sympathetic character -- after all, we have all experienced professional and personal ups and downs. But he comes off as whiny and morose, and not very relatable. There's nothing redeemable about his life, to him. He calls home to be berated by his wife for not being there and to receive updates about his demented mother-in-law, whose husband is not able to care for her. The adulterous relationship is equally messed up. There's no sense of fun or even romance -- at one point Rich thinks he "likes" Amy. He hates her money; she hates his wife. They're mean to each other as well. I also have little sympathy for an adulterer, especially one like Rich who barely countenances a guilty thought about what he's doing. The plot is nonexistent, focusing on character and the illicit relationship.So this just didn't cut it for me. Thank you to the author, publisher, and LibraryThing for a review copy.
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  • Sharon May
    June 21, 2017
    Thanks to NetGalley, the publisher and author for the opportunity to read and review this book.I thought that the writing in this book was great, very descriptive, loved the addition of graphic drawings since the subject was a cartoonist. But I just didn't like Rich so it was hard to get into this book too much.Rich is a cartoonist who had a lot of success early on but is now struggling just to make ends meet in a world that is increasingly going away from print media. Every year, he goes to a s Thanks to NetGalley, the publisher and author for the opportunity to read and review this book.I thought that the writing in this book was great, very descriptive, loved the addition of graphic drawings since the subject was a cartoonist. But I just didn't like Rich so it was hard to get into this book too much.Rich is a cartoonist who had a lot of success early on but is now struggling just to make ends meet in a world that is increasingly going away from print media. Every year, he goes to a summer arts conference in a scenic New England town where he teaches cartooning. The same cast of characters teaches at this conference - it is portrayed as a grown-up version of spring break, where everyone can escape from their normal (read horrible) lives.Rich leaves at home a wife, also struggling to get back to her career, a young daughter and an infant son. At home, he's on the night duty, struggling to attend to a son who never sleeps. Both parents are obviously sleep-deprived and at their wits end so attending to their marriage is not on the top of their list. When Rich reconnects with Amy, the wife of a billionaire who pays no attention to her, the affair they started last summer and continued through a series of affirming texts all year, heats up.While we all can understand the draw of someone paying attention to us while we slip away from the mind-numbing details of our real life, everyone in this book came across entitled, selfish, whiney, and incapable of making good decisions.The writing was top-notch but hopefully the author's next book will contain characters we can get behind a bit more!
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  • Sandra
    June 28, 2017
    Monday, June 26, 2017Who is Rich? By Matthew Klam : an honest review for Penguin Random House's First Read.Who Is Rich? Rich is a man suffering from an average life with middle age anxiety.Who has an affair and buys a $3,000.00 bracelet just to get back at his wife and then gives to his extremely wealthy paramore who doesn't need a gift at all! I have to be honest, this book was not for me. I tried to read it and give it a chance as the writing was quite well done. Matthew Klam has a way with sp Monday, June 26, 2017Who is Rich? By Matthew Klam : an honest review for Penguin Random House's First Read.Who Is Rich? Rich is a man suffering from an average life with middle age anxiety.Who has an affair and buys a $3,000.00 bracelet just to get back at his wife and then gives to his extremely wealthy paramore who doesn't need a gift at all! I have to be honest, this book was not for me. I tried to read it and give it a chance as the writing was quite well done. Matthew Klam has a way with spinning a yarn. I know I will have to read more of his work. However, I am not sure if it was the bouncing back and forth between Rich's memories between his relationship with his wife or the affair with Amy, that I just couldn't stomach the subject matter. I am not often approached to read adulatory stories. The love Rich has for his for children was heartwarming. His desire to feel needed, vaguely familiar as emotions I have seen with family members who has strayed from their spouse, and his lust for physicality was just heartbreaking to me. I am not sure if it is best for a couple to stay together just because of the kids as both Rich and Amy do in their prospective marriages. I felt as I was reading the book that Rich ponders over the same issues over, and over again in the matter of a space of 96 hours that he is becoming pandantic and pathetic. He definitely was not my type of man. Maybe this book goes over better when a guy reads it? Sorry. I really wanted to like it, I just didn't. It is with sadness that I rate this book 3 stars as the writing, as I said before, was well done. Thank you First Reads for giving me a chance to read and review this book.
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  • Milli (MiracleMilliReads)
    May 15, 2017
    Oh Boy..... Well. Ok. Um.This book was just.... not my type, but relatively good at certain points. After reading this book, I had to take time to grasp in my thoughts and how I would put my thoughts into words. I wish I could rate this book higher, but I just couldn't. This story contains a small message, but a whole lot of drama.Who is Rich? Rich is a 42 year old man who is unsatisfied with his life, family, and marriage. He used to be a famous cartoonist, but now a is broke with no fame. He h Oh Boy..... Well. Ok. Um.This book was just.... not my type, but relatively good at certain points. After reading this book, I had to take time to grasp in my thoughts and how I would put my thoughts into words. I wish I could rate this book higher, but I just couldn't. This story contains a small message, but a whole lot of drama.Who is Rich? Rich is a 42 year old man who is unsatisfied with his life, family, and marriage. He used to be a famous cartoonist, but now a is broke with no fame. He has a wife who is angry all the time, two kids who he feels drain his creativity, and a mistress who has a husband with two kids. Rich teaches a cartoon class for four days every year in a convention where he see's his mistress Amy. Rich is lost out of his mind and does everything bad not realizing he is hurting his family. Rich spends the whole story making it about himself and being so self centered that drove me insane. This story was not really for me, but I liked a few parts of it. The ending took way to long and made me so uninterested that I skipped like a few chapters. I like that each character is flawed just like us humans are and even though we think we are happy about a certain thing that it can also be wrong for us too.https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCADH...
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  • Sunshine
    April 23, 2017
    I received an ARE of this book on NetGalley from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions/thoughts expressed are my own.The writing style was very meandering. The character was meandering through his life as well, so it fit.A man who is in his forties and classically going through a mid-life crisis in my opinion, he is wandering around and hurting people without really meaning to. He is hurting his wife, his children, his mistress and her children, the mistresses hus I received an ARE of this book on NetGalley from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions/thoughts expressed are my own.The writing style was very meandering. The character was meandering through his life as well, so it fit.A man who is in his forties and classically going through a mid-life crisis in my opinion, he is wandering around and hurting people without really meaning to. He is hurting his wife, his children, his mistress and her children, the mistresses husband too. I have a real issue with books like this because adultery is so stupid. Why do people do it? Why not just get divorced if you are *that* unhappy? It doesn't make any sense to me...I digress...The book itself is extremely well written. The author takes his time in explaining what is happening, but the pace is a bit odd. Jumping from one scene to the next made it difficult to really get into, the character was very hard to relate to (deliberate?), and the self-pity and loathing the character feels made it a hard novel to really sink one's teeth into.It was a worthwhile read. The tone reminded me a bit of a mix between "The Slow Regard of Silent Things" by Patrick Rothfuss and "Dark Matter" by Blake Crouch.The story weaves and shifts and kind of just keeps happening.The siren call of how stuck the main character, Rich, feels practically jumps off the page.Rich is stuck in his career, his marriage, his fatherhood, his life. He only wants what all humans want, not to suffer and to be happy.He seeks out this happiness the wrong way by sneaking around with a woman named Amy. Rich teaches a class on graphic novel drawing, struggling to publish another graphic novel again after his fifteen minutes of fame of years ago, which he looks forward to teaching every summer.Amy is the married into wealth, mother of her absent husbands children, who emails and messages with Rich all the time until they are able to see one another in person.This "forbidden romance" stems more from an intellectual and emotional level for both of them than a real and true physical/lust one. Amy is lonely and craves the touch of a man and Rich just longs to be allowed to touch a woman. Rich's wife, Robin, busts her ass taking care of their two children and has body issues and her own past traumas to deal with. She is so wrapped up in her own problems, she doesn't realize that Rich is as unhappy as he is. Robin is not made to take blame for this in the novel, Rich acknowledges his own failures as a husband and as a man in general.Like I said, not a happy read at all.The adult tone of this one is set from the beginning. Many characters are introduced almost in a toss off sort of way, and that reminded me of the Netflix show Bojack the Horseman. The vibe of the opening credits of that show, where the main character Bojack just sits still while the world and characters around him move and change and he is sort of just there is the best analogy for Rich's character I can think of.The entire book of course can be read on two levels. Who is Rich? As in the character himself. Who is he? Also as "Who is Rich?" Like about money as the financial differences between Rich and his mistress are brought up quite a bit.Check this one out if you want to dive into a long read, and it does slog about at times, dealing with the mindset of a forty-some male character that meanders about. The characters are all too human, flaws and all, and the ending is much like life...not a tied together pretty bow; rather a sort of just pause type of ending where you can sort of imagine how you think everything went from there.Read about other books I have reviewed here:Blog
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  • Becky Baldridge
    June 26, 2017
    Who is Rich? is very well written and Klam's story-telling is often quite compelling, but the inner dialogue of this character quickly became tedious. Rich is sad and unhappy in his life. He can't accept that his time in the limelight of being a published graphic novelist may be over, that kids and responsibilities often come before intimacy in marriage, and things aren't always just handed to you. Instead of doing something about his sad life, he is whiny, self-absorbed, at times petty, indecis Who is Rich? is very well written and Klam's story-telling is often quite compelling, but the inner dialogue of this character quickly became tedious. Rich is sad and unhappy in his life. He can't accept that his time in the limelight of being a published graphic novelist may be over, that kids and responsibilities often come before intimacy in marriage, and things aren't always just handed to you. Instead of doing something about his sad life, he is whiny, self-absorbed, at times petty, indecisive, and when he does manage to make a decision, it's often the wrong one, which leads to more whining and inner turmoil. He waffles back and forth between his wife and his mistress, and in all honesty, I found them as sad as he is. Several times, I laid this one aside because I just couldn't take any more of Rich's angst. I did push through, hoping for a good outcome, but didn't find any improvement in this man's life when I turned the last page. For me, it became one long, depressing story. I felt as though I could skip any given part of this book and pick back up with Rich still complaining about everything wrong in his life. As I said in the beginning, Klam's writing is very good and I would read another book by him, but this one just wasn't for me.
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  • Pam Herald
    May 23, 2017
    I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. The best part of this book is the humor. It is written through the eyes of the main character, Rich Fischer. He is a 42 year old cartoonist who peaked early in his career and then fizzled out. Now every year he attends an arts conference, and teaches a 4 day workshop. He is unhappily married to Robin, with two small children. Money is an issue for them and they basically tolerate each other. Enter Amy, who Rich had a fling with at I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. The best part of this book is the humor. It is written through the eyes of the main character, Rich Fischer. He is a 42 year old cartoonist who peaked early in his career and then fizzled out. Now every year he attends an arts conference, and teaches a 4 day workshop. He is unhappily married to Robin, with two small children. Money is an issue for them and they basically tolerate each other. Enter Amy, who Rich had a fling with at the conference the year before. She is married to a Wall St. magnate who ignores her when he is even home. When she shows up at this years conference, they reconnect, and as you can imagine, a little chaos ensues. The writing is done well, but it was not my kind of book. Rich is very whiney, I found myself calling him Eeyore about half way through. The characters are interesting and as I said there was a good bit of humor throughout the story, it just was not my cup of tea.
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  • Jane
    May 21, 2017
    I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.This was just not my kind of book. I didn't like the man character Rich or anyone else in the book. Rich is a one-hit wonder cartoonist that leaves his wife and young children to teach at a week long summer conference. During this long week, we learn that Rich is obsessed with a rich woman that he met at the last conference. He has been having an affair with her since the last summer conference and in her sees a I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.This was just not my kind of book. I didn't like the man character Rich or anyone else in the book. Rich is a one-hit wonder cartoonist that leaves his wife and young children to teach at a week long summer conference. During this long week, we learn that Rich is obsessed with a rich woman that he met at the last conference. He has been having an affair with her since the last summer conference and in her sees an escape from the life that he has become increasingly dissatisfied. The book is just one long whiney, self-indulgent rant by a man that is not happy with himself, his life, his family and his career. He is self-destructive, a narcissist and makes one bad decision after the next. It just wasn't pleasant to read and I found myself skimming large sections just to get through the book. The writing is well done and there is probably a market for this book. I'm just not it.
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  • Susan
    June 26, 2017
    I think this book is expected to be received as some great existential view of that period in life where you realize the glamour is over. Rich is a past his prime cartoonist whose wife is home breastfeeding one offspring while the other one throws fits. In the meantime, Rich is teaching others how to create cartoons and having an affair with a return student. He spends a majority of the book telling himself he is in love with Amy, the married student, or whining about the unfairness of her havin I think this book is expected to be received as some great existential view of that period in life where you realize the glamour is over. Rich is a past his prime cartoonist whose wife is home breastfeeding one offspring while the other one throws fits. In the meantime, Rich is teaching others how to create cartoons and having an affair with a return student. He spends a majority of the book telling himself he is in love with Amy, the married student, or whining about the unfairness of her having money and him being broke. The levels of self-absorption in the book was an instant turn off. Sure, a person can struggle with where life finds them, but the whining needs to be broken up with some type of enlightenment. There is none in this book.A copy of this book was provided by NetGalley and Random House in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Melany
    May 28, 2017
    I'm giving this book a 1.75 out of 5 stars with the extra .75 because it was well written and I did like hearing a male POV which is different from the books I normally read. I was really excited when I received this ARC but about 30% in it was hard to finish. To say this is not my normal read is a big understatement. Rich was a selfish creep of a cheater who continued to complicate his life and truly Amy and Robin weren't much better. This was a hard book for me to read and too much longer than I'm giving this book a 1.75 out of 5 stars with the extra .75 because it was well written and I did like hearing a male POV which is different from the books I normally read. I was really excited when I received this ARC but about 30% in it was hard to finish. To say this is not my normal read is a big understatement. Rich was a selfish creep of a cheater who continued to complicate his life and truly Amy and Robin weren't much better. This was a hard book for me to read and too much longer than it normally takes to read a book but the characters and plot line were hard for me to really get into it. If you into introspective narratives this ones for you. Me? Not so much.
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  • Angela Mcvay
    June 9, 2017
    Thank you Netgalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. The writing is actually quite good but the subject matter couldn't hold my interest. I finally just stopped reading at 30% on my kindle. I rarely give up on a book, but I could not relate to any of the characters in this book. Rich, Robin, and Amy are some of the most unhappy dysfunctional, fictional people (I hope), that I have read about in a long time. Please don't allow my review dissuade you from giving this one a Thank you Netgalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. The writing is actually quite good but the subject matter couldn't hold my interest. I finally just stopped reading at 30% on my kindle. I rarely give up on a book, but I could not relate to any of the characters in this book. Rich, Robin, and Amy are some of the most unhappy dysfunctional, fictional people (I hope), that I have read about in a long time. Please don't allow my review dissuade you from giving this one a try. I recently read a book that received mediocre reviews that I absolutely loved as it spoke to me. One person's junk is another person's treasure.
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