For my birthday, my children gave me the trilogy box set of Crazy Rich Asians as I had enjoyed the film so much that I wanted to read the books. I decided to make Kevin Kwan’s first book in the trilogy, Crazy Rich Asians, my second read for the year 2019.
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance
When New Yorker Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home and quality time with the man she hopes to marry. But Nick has failed to give his girlfriend a few key details. One, that his childhood home looks like a palace; two, that he grew up riding in more private planes than cars; and three, that he just happens to be the country’s most eligible bachelor.
On Nick’s arm, Rachel may as well have a target on her back the second she steps off the plane, and soon, her relaxed vacation turns into an obstacle course of old money, new money, nosy relatives, and scheming social climbers.
I saw the movie before I read the book and it did spoil the novel on some level for me as I knew many of the scenes already, as well as the climax of the story. However, the book does have more than the film (as is always the case) so there were some new events for me (though not much). Some events in the film were not as described in the book – and I preferred the way Kwan had chosen to portray these happenings.
Reading the book was such fun and within the first few pages I was laughing. Kwan has included footnotes in his writing and these are perfect to translate Cantonese or Hokkien expressions, as well as any actions that readers may not be familiar with. I loved these footnotes and often found myself smiling at the outrageous behaviour or expectation described.
Crazy Rich Asians is definitely a fun read – but it is also a romance. A romance that has not often been described in mainstream novels as it is of a culture that has been sidelined in the past. Even though it is funny and describes outrageous behaviour, Kwan is not cruelly mocking the rich Asian set. Instead, he gives us a snapshot of a sub-culture within a particular society.
I enjoyed reading of the American Born Chinese, Rachel Chu, who is totally unprepared for her entry into Singaporean society. Her experience describes so much the experience of the Chinese born out of China – an experience my husband himself has lived through. Kwan’s characters were believable to me because because of my observation of many Asians born in western countries.
I was definitely holding thumbs for the two main characters in the novel: Rachel Chu and Nick Young. They should be together and yet there are so many obstacles in their way. Their story does not end in this novel as described in the movie and I knew at the end I had to delve into the second book of the series.
The first novel in the Crazy Rich Asian series was a great read filled with humour and romance. It is a perfect ‘chick-lit’ novel.
I give this novel ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 stars
© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019
(This novel was the 2nd in my book pledge for 2019)