Book Review | Crazy Rich Asians

Friday, August 15, 2014

Ah with the below seasonal drop in temperatures everyone is thinking one thing, and one thing only, fall in coming; and even more disturbing than that is the thought of summer reading coming to an end. This is horrible I still have so many books left on my summer reading list, not to mention all the novels I reread each year, this is what I get for having a ridiculously long list. Anyway, to beat those inevitable summer reading over achieving blues I'm back with another book review.

I recently read Kevin Kwan's debut novel Crazy Rich Asians, which was highly entertaining and surprisingly funny. Crazy Rich Asians is about three ultra-rich Chinese families who uses their money and connections to rule all of Singapore. Like any super-rich Chinese family they will stop at nothing to maintain their lifestyle as well as groom their first born sons to inherent the family fortune. For one family all their efforts have been scratched as the heir to one of Asia's biggest fortunes brings home his American born Chinese girlfriend to attend the social event of the year.

When one of New York's brightest young economist professors, Rachel Chu is invited to spend the summer in Singapore with her longtime boyfriend Nicholas Young, she imagines a quiet trip fulled with authentic Chinese cuisine, days spent exploring the island and of course quality time with the man she loves. Rachel soon finds out that the ever humble love of her life has grown up living an entirely different life than what she imagined. As it turns out Nick has grown up living a life of luxury, riding in more private planes than cars, and living in a house so big that it resembles a palace. When Rachel arrives in Singapore on the arm of one of their most eligible bachelors she immediately becomes a target for every socialite on the island, not to mention Nick's mother, Eleanor, who believes no women will ever be good enough for her son especially not a gold digging American born economist from New York.

Throughout the story we, the reader, are introduced to many of Nick's family and friends. Cousins Astrid, Singapore's It-Girl, and Eddie, social climber extraordinary as well as Nick's best friend Collin Khoo. This book is seriously addictive and entertaining. Kwan does a remarkable job of providing an inside look at the lifestyle of Asia's rich and famous, as well as depicting the Chinese take on the war that is old-money verses new money. Crazy Rich Asians is a delightful and enjoyable story on what happens when crazy rich socialites let their money and power stand in the way of young love.

Now let's get a bit serious, despite the lack-luster ending I can honestly say that I liked the book; however I kind of found Rachel to be a boring one-sided character as she could have used some more sass. I mean I would have liked for her to stand up for herself a bit more throughout the story, nobody enjoys watching a someone be stepped on over and over again even if they are trying to take the high road. I could have also used some closure for some of the Characters. I would have liked to know if Nick was able to mend his relationship with his family or if he actually chose true love over family values, which let's face it, is a bit of a pipe dream as something like that doesn't boat well in traditional Asian families, as Nick would have soon been disinherited. In addition, I would have also liked to know if Astrid was successful in fixing her marriage, as divorce isn't typically accepted in the society in which she is from. I understand that some authors like to leave an air of mystery at the end of their novels but in this case I was pretty annoyed.

Let me know if you ever read of book that left you wanting closure and if you think Nick and Rachel could really last? I mean the romantic is me wants to believe it but the realist in me has other thoughts. 

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