Book Review: Good Rich People by Eliza Jane Brazier

A wealthy family. An unsuspecting target. A twisted game in the Hollywood Hills. Don't miss Michelle Carpenter's review of Good Rich People, the new page-turning novel from Eliza Jane Brazier.

Not all games are fair, and sometimes the players find that out the hard way. In Eliza Jane Brazier’s novel Good Rich People, two characters are thrust into a dangerously unfair game where they are fighting for their lives. Alternating between the perspective of main characters Lyla and Demi, the plot follows these women of starkly different circumstances who are “playing” to retain the life of luxury that has come to consume them.

Lyla is a beautiful, rich, and jaded housewife who spends her days in her Los Angeles mansion drinking Moet and finding ways to stem the boredom of her privileged existence. Although Lyla puts on a front of blissful ignorance to the world around her, she came into her wealth through marriage, and she is acutely aware of what it has cost her. 

My relationship with Graham has always been a throuple: me, Graham and boredom. It was there the day we married, warming itself in the backseat of the Rolls-Royce as we drove down a lane of sparklers, silver cans rattling in our wake. It was on the private island on our honeymoon swimming circles around us in the bathroom bleach blue water. It was waiting for a turn, every time he took me to bed. It is especially present at anniversaries and birthday parties and holidays. Anytime we are expected to be happy, our third raises its head.

 

It was Margo herself who sat me down one afternoon and told me how to get rid of it.

Lyla’s husband, Graham, and his mother, Margo, hold the key to Lyla’s comfortable life. However, the life she is accustomed to comes at a price, and that price comes in the form of the Game. The Game was created by Margo and Graham as a source of amusement, something to pass the time when money can no longer buy anything as entertaining. The crux of the Game is that it will always involve someone who is set up to lose. When Margo and Graham instruct Lyla that it’s her turn to play, no one realizes that the “loser” of this game is a more worthy adversary than they have ever encountered.

Her face is round. Her eyes are wide, blackish in the dark and filled with something: thrill, like we have collided on a fast train. Maybe she is drunk. Maybe she’s high. She never seems to sleep.

As Brazier brings the narrative back and forth between Lyla and Demi the reader can see an intricate dance unfold. Lyla is hunting Demi, but Demi has been in survival mode her entire life. The story continues to unfold, and you soon start to understand the complexity and dysfunction of Lyla’s marriage and how that marriage has driven her to this point. Demi, on the other hand, has never had anything handed to her, and entering Lyla’s world feels like a dream at first. As the pace of their dance quickens, Demi realizes that this dream might actually be a nightmare.

All in all, Good Rich People is a fast-paced and thrilling read for anyone that enjoys a departure from the typical homicide. Brazier paints a picture of the lives of those who are wealthy to the point of boredom, contrasted to those who live every day wondering if it’s their last. The novel speaks to the striking disparity between these worlds in Los Angeles, and what happens when those worlds are forced to collide. I would recommend Good Rich People to anyone looking for an intelligent and thought-provoking page-turner that keeps you on the edge of your seat until the very end. 

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