In Crazy Rich Asians, Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer with her boyfriend of two years Nick Young, at his childhood home in Singapore. Nick is going to be the best man in his best friend’s wedding and Rachel is eager to meet all his old friends. She expects a quaint, traditional family in a modest home, even braces herself for the trip to be a little boring.
What she gets is the complete opposite. Nick may be an only child, but he has tons of extended family, all of whom are ridiculously rich, wear designer clothes and live in lavish homes. When they are not traveling between private islands on their private jets, they are gossiping ruthlessly about one another, and Rachel is their new target. Nick conveniently forgot to mention all of this to Rachel, so it’s up to her to navigate these crazy, rich Asians and hopefully make it out unscathed.
Likes: This book was fast paced and very witty. The writing was so detailed that I could easily picture everything the characters were wearing, eating and seeing even though I have never been to Singapore. The use of Cantonese, Mandarin and Malay words and phrases (translated at the bottom of each page) really added to the authenticity, too. I loved that it pivoted between characters; one of my favorites was Astrid Leong, but I also loved Piek Lin and her family, too. At the very end of the book there were two huge plot twists that really shook the story up. The only bummer was that they were at the very, very end of the book and it felt like it took forever to get there.
Dislikes: At certain times the book felt a little long. At about three hundred pages in, it seemed to drag just a little. I really did not like Nick by the end of the book. I have a hard time believing that he would have been so oblivious to his family’s lifestyle that he would not have been aware of what a culture shock it would be for Rachel. He redeemed himself only slightly when he stood up to his mother and his grandmother, but what really hit it home was his going to see Rachel’s mom in California and bringing her back to Singapore. Rachel was a bit over the top in her reactions to everything surrounding Nick’s family, but maybe that’s why she and Nick are such a good match?
Crazy Rich Asians is the first in a trilogy by Kevin Kwan. I’m looking forward to reading the next two books!