This is probably the first story I’ve read where I don’t understand the Asians in the story. It’s because they’re super rich and I’m not super rich. It’s because it takes place in Singapore and honestly, I don’t know much about Singapore outside of their food.
However, what I did understand is that this story is about a couple who is ready to take their relationship to the next level and really being met with some pretty huge hurdles to jump. I think that’s something everyone can agree on.
Synopsis (from Goodreads.com)
When Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home, long drives to explore the island, and quality time with the man she might one day marry. What she doesn’t know is that Nick’s family home happens to look like a palace, that she’ll ride in more private planes than cars, and that with one of Asia’s most eligible bachelors on her arm, Rachel might as well have a target on her back. Initiated into a world of dynastic splendor beyond imagination, Rachel meets Astrid, the It Girl of Singapore society; Eddie, whose family practically lives in the pages of the Hong Kong socialite magazines; and Eleanor, Nick’s formidable mother, a woman who has very strong feelings about who her son should–and should not–marry. Uproarious, addictive, and filled with jaw-dropping opulence, Crazy Rich Asians is an insider’s look at the Asian JetSet; a perfect depiction of the clash between old money and new money; between Overseas Chinese and Mainland Chinese; and a fabulous novel about what it means to be young, in love, and gloriously, crazily rich.
Rating: 4.5/5 mother-in-laws
I thought a lot about this book after I put it down. I thought a lot about the lives they lived and the sacrifices they’ve had to make. And while I don’t fully understand the whole importance of money with these families, I do understand the pressures of marrying the right person. I understand the pressures of having a life set out by you by your family, by your parents, by the constant peer pressure. And I bet you that you’ve felt the same way too.
Writing wise, it’s beautiful and eloquent. Kevin Kwan tries to immerse you in the culture speaking both in English and using some popular phrases in all the different dialects. Even the little footnotes to give a little background on some of the meanings and food that’s mentioned is just a little opportunity for you to understand a little bit more.
I want to give this book its full marks, but I don’t think it’s 100% perfect. It’s really well done and a great read, but I honestly wish it was a bit more from the perspective of Rachel. This book is almost like reading Game of Thrones. There should have been a family tree at the beginning so I can refer back to it. There are so many family members interconnected with each other in some way, I’m surprised that Kevin Kwan was able to keep track of all of it in the way that he did.
I think that’s the one thing you can definitely get out of this; understanding. If you go into this book with an open mind and a learning mind, I think you’ll find yourself learning a little bit more about Asian culture. While I didn’t fully resonate with the story going on, I did understand some of the biases and thought processes because they are the same as the ones my family has.
That’s the thing with diverse reads. You end up learning way more about yourself and how you’re not so different from the person sitting next to you. We’re all the same people with the same kinds of lives. And if it’s not the same or if there’s nothing in common, then you’ve just learned something unique and different about it.
Anyway, I really did enjoy this book despite my chagrin on social media (if you follow me on Insta, you might know what I mean). When you finally get a chance to sit down with it, you find yourself engrossed in the story. It’s like watching a little Korean drama. Every vignette feeds into a bigger story and everyone is so involved with each other it’s a little scary.
I’m super excited about the movie! It’ll be the first all-Asian cast coming out of a major Hollywood production company. And also starring my favorite actress, Constance Wu! I can’t wait!
What were your thoughts on Crazy Rich Asians?