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Review: Alam explores female friendship in ‘Rich and Pretty’

Brooklyn BookBeat

June 9, 2016 By Lincee Ray Associated Press
Brooklyn author Rumaan Alam. Photo: David A. Land
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Brooklyn author Rumaan Alam transforms a whimsical beach read into compelling literary prose in his debut novel “Rich and Pretty.” Alam allows his two main characters, Sarah and Lauren, to maneuver through decades of friendship, chronicling the paths each woman takes and how their relationship vacillates between their different seasons of life.

Lauren is a single girl working for a publishing company and always seems to have her eye on a new guy. Sarah works for a nonprofit organization and is engaged to a man who is adequate in Lauren’s eyes. The two have been friends since junior high, but it’s clear that with Sarah’s pending wedding, Lauren is about to be left behind. Things are already weird between them. It feels as if the wedding is going to sever their bond for good.

This possible reality doesn’t stop Lauren from forcing herself to participate in prenuptial frivolity. She is the maid of honor and it’s her duty to give Sarah the best bachelorette party ever. She even volunteers to help with the rehearsal dinner. As the celebrations leading up to the big day unfold, Lauren realizes that she and Sarah aren’t the same people they used to be. In fact, both wonder if their friendship is more an obligation forced out of habit.

“Rich and Pretty” is a realistic look at female friendship. No one can blame Sarah and Lauren for growing apart, but after Alam takes readers on a historical journey of their relationship, we can’t help but feel invested and root for the friends to end up living next door to each other in a New York suburb.


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