Author: Rumaan Alam
Title: Rich and Pretty (2016)
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Sarah is rich. She has a privileged life, high profile parents a steady boyfriend. Lauren is the beauty, she works hard for her living, is doing very well. She is not able to sustain a relationship much. Sarah and Lauren have been friends since school. They have kept in touch throughout their twenties and thirties as well. Yet, it is Sarah who is the manager of this relationship. She is the one who calls Lauren, fixes lunch appointments, keeps connected. Lauren seems merely to respond.
Lauren has many temporary relationships, which seem to go well at the outset. Yet the minute Sarah starts feeling that this one is real for her friend, Lauren breaks up. It is almost as if Lauren cannot stand any scrutiny of her personal life by her friend and set out to destroy it. It is almost as if Lauren does not really want to be friends with Sarah, it is like Sarah does not want to let her go.
There is no particular plot in the book, it covers a few decades in the lives of Sarah and Lauren, from growing school girls to young women in their thirties. They keep true to their types throughout. At the end of the book, Lauren is more committed to being friends with Sarah, she is the one anchor in her life. She is her family and her center.
This is art imitating life. Our life has some milestones, but our stories do not 'end' at any particular point, unless you start with birth and end with death.
Alam is able to be in the moment and describe whatever is happening with conviction. Whether we are looking and Sarah and Lauren playing as school girls, or Sarah declaring her engagement to Dan (her long time boyfriend). We get a distinct impression that we are trespassing on the lives of two good friends with the help of the author.
I read this book a while ago and was impressed by it. Even though at times I felt like it was flat reading, understandable, as the intent of the author is not in giving us 'hooks' and 'denouements'. Instead we are allowed to travel with the girls for a few decades of their lives.