“Who Is Rich?” by: Matthew Klam

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.
Quick Facts:
Page Count: 352
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Random House
Genre: General Fiction(Adult), Humor
Expected Publication Date: July 4th, 2017

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