Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians, #1)by Published 11 Jun 2013
|Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians, #1).pdf|
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.
Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians, #1) Reviews
With Crazy Rich Asians hitting the big screens in a few short weeks, many readers have decided to re-read this 2013 release – or, as in my case, have finally decided to read it. This, of course, has also been reflected not only in social media trends but on the New York Times bestseller list where Kevin Kwan’s debut novel has again easily nabbed a spot, despite having been originally released five years ago. I, myself, fell casualty to an impulse all book lovers are prone to: buying a book because of its cover! I bought a copy of Crazy Rich Asians when it was first released because the sparkly gold cover drew my eye – and my wallet, apparently – like a magpie to all that glitters. So, when I put out the poll last month for which book I should read next, I was glad that this one won (by a LANDSLIDE, mind you) because I already had a shiny copy with an in-tact spine on my shelves ready to read!
Crazy Rich Asians is exactly what you’d expect with such a loud and gaudy title and the sparkly cover to match. The gist of the novel is that the ultra hunky Nicholas Young falls in love with Rachel Chu and decides to bring her to Singapore for his best friend’s wedding of the century event to introduce her to his folks…and all of the lavishness that comes with it. Rachel, having never known her beau was FILTHY RICH is shocked by what she finds—and the viciousness of his family and friends—toward her when she arrives. A series of comical events ensues over this few weeks, which we, the readers, are privy to.
The first thing you’ll notice, from page one, is that Crazy Rich Asians is ALL THE WAY OVER THE TOP as if Kwan just threw every lavish thing he could think of in there, including the deluxe, chef-grade kitchen sink! But, isn’t that what we picked this novel up for – a fun, feisty read that can be enjoyed simply for the setting and hilarity of it. This book was soaked in Asian culture, which was an added bonus I absolutely loved—from the Hokkien and Mandarin slang littered throughout the pages (thanks, Kwan, for the footnotes!) to the description of native dishes and cultural values. The scale of wealth, customs and rituals Kwan shows us is larger than life in all the most uproarious ways.
Of course, let’s be honest here: a novel like this is bound to be a bit over-embellished, like biting into a too-sweet Godiva chocolate bar, and that it was. But I enjoyed that bit of decadence; in that way, this book really lived up to its name – and the hype!
I will say that there were WAY too many POVs and unnecessary story lines here, which certainly contributed to the extravagant and superfluous page count. At times, pages upon pages were spent just describing the luxuriousness of these characters’ surroundings. In a single paragraph you’ll find references like: Venus de Milo, Battenberg lace tablecloth, and Louis Quatorze chairs in royal blue brocade. (And I found that by flipping to any random page lol.) Yet, to go along with this over-the-top style of writing—that we’ve all come to love enough to want to go see the film about it—the dialogue within these pages was always light and realistic, outrageous and totally hilarious. Yes, the ending was sopped in melodrama, like a Taiwanese soap opera, and rushed, as if Kwan suddenly realized he was over or nearing the 400-page mark for this novel and suddenly decided to STOP and continue on with it in book two. BUT, in the end, Crazy Rich Asians delivered all that it promised: the humor and the fun along with the crazy, the rich and the Asians. And for that, I serve up on a Harry Winston platter 4 sparkly, Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrera-covered stars! ****
FOLLOW ME AT:
The Navi Review Blog | Twitter | Instagram
I think another Goodreads reviewer said it best: "Shallow characters don't mean shallowly written characters."
And in the case of this book, the author didn't pick up on that memo. Shallow characters can be delightfully, wickedly compelling when they're written well. I mean, look at Anthony and Gloria in Fitzgerald's "The Beautiful and Damned", or Becky Sharp in "Vanity Fair" or heck, even Blair Waldorf in the "Gossip Girl" series if you're looking at more "chick-lit" examples. But the characters in "Crazy Rich Asians" are so two-dimensional and flat you just can't care about them.
Also, a pet peeve of mine is when a writer TELLS me something rather than SHOWS me something. This entire book is all tell, no show. Except to show off the author's knowledge of designer labels. Slow clap.
Yes, this is a rather scathing review but I really don't understand all the hype surrounding this book, and I was hoping for more, well, substance (yes, from a glittery gold and hot pinkbook called Crazy Rich Asians, I know. But I think the setting and characters had some originality, timely relevance and promise and the author didn't deliver). Definitely disappointed.
I am Asian, I lived in Singapore, and I am not crazy rich - but I certainly heard of enough people on that tiny island who are. Ten years ago, I remember being addicted to a blog (now defunct) called "pinkshoefetish" where one Daphne Teo of Singapore documented every single materialistic extravaganza in her life - endless Tod's bags, Chanel, the luxurious apartment she (or her parents) rented when she was at Purdue (no stinky student dorms for her), her endless jet-setting to the most expensive hotels and restaurants in New York, London, Paris, etc. At that time, I wasn't even sure I could afford to go to college, so Daphne's blog was pure escapism (if not a source of resentment). I don't remember what her parents did to afford that lifestyle, but anyway, my point is - the crazy rich Asians of East and Southeast Asia do exist, and man do they live large. When I saw that a Singaporean had written a novel about them, and that it was in the hands of a major NYC publishing house, I couldn't wait to read it, to see what had caught the attention of these editors, so much that they were willing to take on a book about Asians, set in Singapore.
I got an ARC of the book from eBay and devoured it in two days. And, perhaps I am biased because of who I am and my (slight) exposure to that world, but I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT. It satirizes the crazy rich Asian universe, but even with the exaggerations, my college friend, who is part of the Hong Kong version of the Wealthy Asian Club, would recognize so many aspects depicted in the novel - the lightning speed at which gossip travels, the focus on bloodlines and marriage, the clash between old money and new, and - most important I think - the tension between mainland Chinese and overseas Chinese, a phenomenon that is very real, very common, very much discussed in Asia, but pretty much unheard of in the West. When Singaporean Chinese "blue blood" Nick takes his American Chinese girlfriend Rachel home, his family is concerned that, yes, she might be a gold-digger, but their suspicions are heightened by the fact that she was - to their horror - born in mainland China, to a single mother (more strikes against her!). I laughed when I read that, because I was brought up in Asia where those prejudices are part and parcel of everyday life, but an American reader might find it offensive and racist - which it is, but in a "Chinese" sort of way that is not so much about hatred. The book shows how those prejudices are challenged as mainland Chinese grow richer and more influential, and the author sympathetically portrays both sides.
As for the actual storyline - it's a roller coaster ride that might be hard to keep up with at the beginning because of how many characters are introduced (and I always had my finger on the family tree Kwan provides in the book). I found it ridiculous that Nick and Rachel could have dated for years without her finding out about his background, but this is chick lit and so I willingly suspended disbelief and just let myself get carried along into the world of chili crab and nasi lemak. Kwan's writing is clear and breezy and skips along very well, and in the end I was left feeling like Rachel must have when she was plunked into this whirlwind world - amazed, dizzyfied, enlightened.
And it makes me want to go back to Singapore.
A great summer read!
(Oh - the gold and pink hardcover release is cute, but I love how the galley cover plays with the Hermès box design. Clever!)
This was a really fun read. I went into it with the intention of consuming it just for entertainment purposes and not quality/depth which I think is the best mindset to read this story in.
CW: racial slurs, homophobia slurs, talk of cheating, prejudice/classism
I did not love the writing style of this novel (which I expected before going in.) The syntax was fairly weak and the voice of individual characters was not that strong. Also regarding the characters, the author has this habit of jumping between perspectives without warning? Each chapter begins with a description of what character point of views will be followed but throughout the chapter, but it changes frequently with no distinction. For example, a conversation may begin from Rachel’s perspective and describe her thoughts and internal reactions but two lines later without any indication, we will be in Astrid’s head. Of course, multiple perspectives are commonly featured in fiction, especially in third-person narratives, but the lack of structure and awareness for the reader was quite jarring and nonsensical.
Crazy Rich Asians is absolutely a plot-based series. You read it to follow these unique characters across this absurd journey of wealth, extravagance and drama. I will add that I particularly enjoyed the heavily influence of Chinese and Singaporean culture, albeit the wealthy side of that culture, because it is not something I am frequently exposed to. It’s fun, entertaining, and gripping. I did not expect to be as invested as I was!
I’m not particularly taken with many of the characters although I see their individual value to the story. Rachel was obviously the most enjoyable character of the story and I did end up really liking Nick, though I remained furious at how he handled exposing Rachel to his family situation for the entirety of the story. I have sympathy for Astrid and enjoyed the comic relief added by Peik Lin and Charlie. Though this is not the most ground-breaking cast of characters I’ve ever read, I can see myself becoming more invested in their lives as the series progresses.
I really enjoyed my time reading Crazy Rich Asians. I initially went into this book thinking I would be satisfied reading just the first installment and not finishing the series, but after finishing, I absolutely need to know where the story goes. If you’re a “trashy fiction” lover, this book is for you.
nothing like a bunch of crazy, rich asians to make me feel like a boring, poor white girl. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
gosh, this book is wild. its a story lush in couture, and drama, and private jets, and drama, and more money than one even knows what to do with. oh, and did i mention the drama? its basically high-class catty gossip and i am here for it. such a funny and entertaining story that deserves all the attention its been getting recently!
also, i do think its worth mentioning that i saw the film before i read this. and i know i am committing blasphemy by admitting it, but i actually think i prefer the film. not that the book isnt good, i just think that when it comes to a certain level of cattiness and gossip amongst 20+ characters where body language and looks are significant, its much easier to translate across a screen and more effective for the story. it also helps to see a visual of all the luxury to really get an idea of the type of wealth that is exhibited in the novel. so i highly recommend the movie! the book too, but definitely the movie!
↠ 4 stars