WRITING STYLE: 4/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 4.5/5
“I’m telling you; this so-called ‘prosperity’ is going to be the downfall of Asia. Each new generation becomes lazier than the next. They think they can make overnight fortunes just by flipping properties and getting hot tips in the stock market. Ha! Nothing lasts forever, and when this boom ends, these youngsters won’t know what hit them”
― Kevin Kwan, Crazy Rich Asians
I recently came across the movie Crazy Rich Asians on Netflix. Now, I knew that it is a movie that comes from a really popular book but I had never put much thought into reading it. On a whim, I decided to pick it up and wow! I was surely amazed by it all.
Read on to know what I think about this incredible book and why exactly it should be on your TBR lists.
What to Expect?
Crazy Rich Asians is an ideal mix of romance, comedy and some good old family drama. That the book is about Singaporeans and Chinese makes it all the more interesting.
Essentially what it offers is a unique peek into the high-flying world of ‘Crazy Rich Asians’; people who would easily give the Waltons and the Ambanis of the world a run for their money. These are people who literally control the financial heart of Asia.
Who Can Read?
The book can be picked up intermediate level readers and up. Beginners might find the language (mixed with an overwhelming amount of local slangs and influences of Hokkien, Cantonese, Mandarin and Malay) a bit cumbersome.
Let’s Talk About the Storyline
Nick and Rachel are both professors at the prestigious NYU.
Rachel is the daughter of a Chinese immigrant who came to America in search of better prospects and independent life.
Nick is a Singaporean who came to America for a different kind of exposure. They both are in love and Nick now wants to take Rachel back to his home in Singapore where his best friend Colin Khoo is getting married this summer. Rachel agrees but only after Nick exercises his charms and his excellent powers of persuasion.
As they both get on this journey, anticipating about the future and looking forward to the summer ahead, they both have no idea about the stir that they have unknowingly caused in Nick’s family and society.
In addition to that, there is another small twist. Rachel has no idea that the ever so humble Nick is actually a ‘Crazy Rich Asian’.
Unknown to Rachel, he is the heir apparent to one of Asia’s richest financial kingdoms and with his remarkably handsome looks, he is undoubtedly Singapore’s most eligible bachelor.
What follows in the story is a never-ending party of jealous spinsters, scheming mothers and filthy rich men each trying to outdo the other.
How Good are the Characters?
The characters are probably the most amazing thing that this book offers to its readers.
They are so many of them; with different family lines spread across generations and footings all over the world, it does take a while to get to know the characters.
But once you are through with the important ones, there is no holding you back.
You will be thrilled, surprised, charmed and scandalized by them. What strikes you the most is how all the characters appear so similar from the outside and yet they are so set apart in their own ways and life.
What About the Writing Style?
When it comes to the writing style, Kevin makes good use of the local influences to bring about that extra jazz in the narration.
His character portrayals (especially introductions) are terrific and the attention to detail is applaudable. The incessant name dropping gets a little too much but I guess when one is talking about the filthy rich, name dropping comes naturally.
His descriptions of Singapore are quite something and the reader will soon find herself dreaming of visiting all the places that are being spoken about with much gusto.
I also loved how he effortlessly blends the local language influences in the narrative to give us a distinct flavour of the life and culture of Singaporeans.
The detailed background information about South-East Asia’s geography, cuisine, culture and politics is also something to look forward to.
What I Absolutely Loved?
The book manages to wow you from the very first page. All the brazen display of Singaporean and especially Chinese wealth might put you off in any other book but Crazy Rich Asians does it just right.
It is like a roller coaster ride in an unchartered territory that will thrill you to no end.
What Could Have Been Better?
I would have loved it if the book were a little less descriptive. Reading the book felt like going back to the Fire and Ice series by George R.R. Martin.
The painfully articulated details of the sets and the scenes, the rooms and the kitchens, the house and the gardens are something that did not excite the reader in me.
How Good is the Climax?
The climax, unlike many other romantic comedies, is quite predictable.
Sure, there are twists and turns all along the way but once you get to the end, the fate of the main characters is easily discernible.
It all Boils Down to the Entertainment Quotient
Crazy Rich Asians is one book whose appeal lies in its many unique points. It is a book that is geographically and racially so diverse that the world that it talks about is not just exclusive but also scandalously tempting.
Studded with an awesome string of characters most of whom are filthy rich in their bearings, the book manages to combine humour, drama and romance in just the right doses.
In short, it is entertainment at its best.
My Final Verdict
Definitely read it!
Pick it up if
- You are looking for a fun and frolic kind of read.
- You are looking for a book that has the right combination of drama, humour and romance.
- You are someone who likes diversity reads.
- You want to read about money, especially Asian money.
- You like reading books based in different countries.
Skip it if
- You don’t enjoy romance and drama.
- You are looking for something more profound and serious.
Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of Crazy Rich Asians using the link below.