Rich boy’s money made him poor. (Six Word Story #16)

I finished reading the novel Rich Boy by Sharon Pomerantz over the weekend and that six word story is one way to summarize the plot.

The first half of the book is about Robert Vishniak’s working class upbringing in Philadelphia and his college years at Tufts University, with the remainder of the book focusing on his life after he marries an extraordinarily wealthy woman and tries to make partner at a law firm. The book ends with the 1987 stock market crash.

Perhaps the most interesting insight from the book is when Robert, after several years of living and working with the affluent, notices the rich sometimes like to pretend they are middle class and this is the one thing they have in common with the poor.

Rich Boy is Pomerantz’s first novel and took her ten years to write. Below is a short video of her talking about the job she worked as a shoe shine girl in New York City, which brought her into the company of the wealthy men in the financial district about whom she would write in Rich Boy. She analyzes various pairs of men’s shoes and describes the wealthy men who wear them and describes how a shoe shine is a “shockingly intimate act” in the midst of a hustle and bustle environment like this. It’s interesting to watch even if you haven’t read the book:

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