Crazy Rich Asians By Kevin Kwan
Crazy Rich Asians #1
Published 11 June 2013 by Doubleday
Summary: Crazy Rich Asians is the outrageously funny debut novel about three super-rich, pedigreed Chinese families and the gossip, backbiting, and scheming that occurs when the heir to one of the most massive fortunes in Asia brings home his ABC (American-born Chinese) girlfriend to the wedding of the season.
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.
This book is over the top dramatic.
I had initially pinned this as an Asian version of Gossip Girl, and yes, it read like gossip, but it was just so over the top. I am a Singaporean, born and raised and we often hear about this top few percent of billionaires so it was quite intriguing at first.
What I hadn’t imagined was this entire cast of madness. I came in thinking this book would be about Nick and Rachel and how they navigate returning home to Singapore for the wedding of the year and surprise! Nick is crazy rich. Except… Rachel doesn’t know it, and quite frankly, Nick doesn’t seem to realise he’s extremely rich either. The book was flamboyant, irritating at times and just so unnecessarily complicated.
I kept reading for one reason only: I wanted to know what was this deep secret that everyone seemed to know about Rachel Chu. Her family background. And when I found out, I felt empty. The ending made me feel empty, like I’ve been working so hard chasing after nothing. I just wasn’t impressed. It left me hanging, thinking, huh, that’s it? After all that drama towards the end, all for it to end up like this, neatly wrapped and everything is okay. It just didn’t blow me over.
I initially started listening to the audiobook of this, read by Lynn Chen but I didn’t like the way it was read (too difficult to listen to, all the characters sound the same) and there were too many characters being introduced for me to properly catch on. So I switched to the book and eased myself into the story again. Fairly disappointed at the audiobook — considering people were raving about it but it just really wasn’t for me. As someone who lives in Asia and can differentiate different dialects very well, I just don’t think the narrator does any of it much justice or even has a clue. Too much switching, too many bad attempts at dialects and Singlish (Singaporean English). Overall would not recommend you getting the audiobook (I believe she’s the only narrator for Crazy Rich Asians) at all and opt for the book instead.
Enjoyed the book as a whole, but got lost in too many insane characters and felt that Nick and Rachel’s relationship got lost in the process, being completely overshadowed by other colourful characters. Reminds me of Gossip Girl meets Sarong Party Girls (by Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan, which I read and devoured this year — a total must read, especially if you’re living in Singapore or Asia!)
Still very excited to see the movie! Very curious to see how all this will be interpreted for the big screen!