Book Review: Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians
“Nowhere in the world are there to be found people richer than the Chinese” — Ibn Battuta
I knew I had to read Crazy Rich Asians as soon as I heard the movie was out. Reading the book triggered fond memories of my Asian flatmates back in the day, in England. I usually woke up to boxes of Louis Vuitton, Channel, Prada goodies in front of our door. Those guys shopped without a care in the world. We went shopping once and I came back thinking about my life – my parents should have been Asians. I couldn’t but agree with Ibn Battuta quote at the beginning of the book.
Crazy Rich Asians is deliciously funny. I don’t think there could have been a better title to describe the book. It’s the cliche Cinderella, boy meets girl story, with a twist. When Rachel Chu agrees to follow her boyfriend of 2 years, Nick to Singapore for his best friend’s wedding (the Asian’s version of the wedding party ), she couldn’t have dreamt of the roller coaster of events and emotions that her decision would kickstart. She arrives at Singapore to the discovery that her boyfriend is actually the scion of an extremely wealthy family. In fact, wealthy does not seem to describe how rich the Youngs are. While reeling from the discovery, she has to deal with his scheming mom, over bearing grandmother, the nosy family friends as well as the jealous drama queens fighting to win him over. She is not accepted because she is “American Born Chinese” and considered below his class. The tension builds up until it all comes to a messy point when a long buried family secret is revealed. In the end, love conquers all.
The characters are so extra and hilarious. I fell in love with Astrid and I couldn’t help but sympathize with her when her husband left. I found characters like Kitty Pong (the gold digging actress engaged to Alistair), Oliver T’sien (the forever gossip), Casssandra Shang (Radio One Asia) and the bat shit crazy friends of Eleanor Young hilarious. The desire to outshine each other and their crazy show of wealth is outlandish. These people have climate controlled closets where clothes and shoes are maintained at a particular temperature. Talk about being extra!
I love Kwan’s style of writing. It keeps you wanting more. I also love that he put footnotes that provided translations for unfamiliar words and customs. Each of the chapters are devoted to the characters and it reads as one seamless story. He addresses the issue of class in China as well as the constant tension between old money and new money in a fun way.
I didn’t want the book to end, yet I couldn’t wait to get to the end of the story. I was so captivated by the storyline that i felt it ended abruptly. I can only hope that the remaining books China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problems of the trilogy will also be satisfying.
I will rate this book 5🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟.
I can’t wait to watch the movie at the cinema. If you have read the book and watched the movie, do you think the movie did justice to the book? Let me know what you think in the comments below.
Yejide Adewakun is a lawyer with extensive experience in corporate and commercial legal practice. She is also a serial entrepreneur as well as a sickle cell advocate with the Sickle Cell Aids Foundation. An ardent reader of books, she finds expression for her creativity by reviewing books on her social media handles @sophiebello.