22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
This City will Eat you Alive,
This review is from: Five Star Billionaire: A Novel (Hardcover)
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Ever read one of those books that is extremely well written, but you just didn't love it? For me, this was that book.
First the positives:
This is a sweeping and timely novel. The author takes us to the brittle glitter and glamour of what is arguably one of the most sophisticated cities in the world. Although I've never been to Shanghai, it's on my travel list and I feel like I know it after reading this book. Shanghai is a character unto itself here. It lives and breathes.
In addition, the author is well spoken. The book is intelligently written and the characters are complex. Rather than a beach read, the book demands you pay attention to it.
So why didn't I love it?
In spite of the timeliness of the book, it felt somewhat dated. I know that's a bit of a paradox, but it reminded me very much of the way that people used to talk about New York. All the books and movies where the small town kid would move to the big city, forget who they really were, and let the city break them. A little Valley of the Dolls meets A Chorus Line (without the lush musical numbers).
The book depressed me a little. Shanghai, with all its glitz and glamour seemed to be that city that would break you down and eat you alive. In spite of money and fame, none of the characters seemed to ever be happy or really find what they wanted or needed.
I leave this at four stars. It is a very good, well-written book. However, now I feel like I need to read something about puppies and rainbows.