Sharon Pomerantz’s Rich Boy (2010) Is about both the lack and overabundance of money. Robert Vishniak grew up in a poor neighborhood. His Jewish family was obsessed with saving money. Many details of family life in the 1970s are expertly recounted through the eyes of the young main character.
When Robert goes to college, his roommate is so wealthy that he buys new clothes rather than taking the time to wash them. Robert is exposed to the leisure class, this knowledge alters him forever. Twice in relationships with wealthy women, he constantly feels money pressure.
Rich Boy is over 500 pages long, and I enjoyed almost every word. With insights such as “Barry had already caught on to what it took Robert years to realize–that the rich liked to consider themselves middle-class. The idea comforted them in some strange way and was about the only thing that they shared in common with the poor.p.409” This novel is a fascinating look at secular Jews both rich and poor.
Yet after finishing this novel I was left unsatisfied. The ending left no surprises, the action was sparse. I wanted more from Rich Boy but only because I loved the characters and the setting. It’s a well-written character-driven novel about the American dream. It was recommended to me by a friend who is related to the author. I would definitely read another book by Sharon Pomerantz, her writing is insightful and compelling.