Book Review: Rich and Famous Like My Mom

October 9, 2010

Another street lady, I decided, and suddenly it seemed to me that I was peeking into another whole world. There we were, Mom and me with Agnes and Sebastian and Adolph, and all the kids at school with everything we needed and wanted, and right on the street, under our very noses, were all these people living in their own world.

richandfamousRich and Famous Like My Mom by Hila Colman follows Cassandra, daughter of world famous rock star Philippa, who, instead of living the life of glamour her classmates expect, is lonely and sheltered–until she meets homeless woman Mollie.

What I Liked

– Mollie. I really liked Mollie. What’s more is that it’s clear why Cassandra would be drawn to Mollie. She’s fierce, funny, self-sufficient, and a fighter. On more than one occasion, Cassandra compares her mother to Mollie, which is interesting, especially because her mom is absent for large chunks of the narrative, and Mollie barely gives Cassandra the time of day.

– I really appreciate that Cassandra doesn’t quite know how to help Mollie and that everything she thinks would be helpful really isn’t. It really drives home that Mollie is serious when she says she doesn’t want nor need help. Or at least not in the ways that Cassandra thinks.

– The relationships between Cassandra and her three mother figures are well set up and fraught with tension. Along with Philippa and Mollie, there’s also Cassandra’s relationship with her nanny and caregiver, Agnes.

– Cassandra’s evolvement into less of a wallflower at school because of her involvement with Mollie is realistic and well-handled.

What I Didn’t Like

– The relationships, well set up and fraught with tension though they are, are not sufficiently explored–especially the relationship between Cassandra and Agnes.

– The ending is pat and ridiculous, and, again, it fails to really explore the major relationships.

– There is a very, very stupid boy thing that is so stupid that I refuse to discuss it further.

– The beginning and middle of the novel are good, but once Cassandra ventures out of her shell and makes a friend her own age, things seem to fall apart. As a fan of female friendship, this does not make me happy.

In conclusion: The book is strongest when it discusses homelessness, but falls apart when the focus shifts from that topic.

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