Review: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Reviewed by Debz

You will not believe how excited I was for this book to be made a movie. I had just finished reading the trilogy when it was announced that the first book would be made into a movie. I was ecstatic. I googled everyone announced to be in the movie and singlehandedly watched the trailer more than 50 times. I made sure I was free on the day it came out and pestered my local cinema for a week to make sure it was coming out on the day they said it was coming out. I watched it twice, consecutively and loved every minute of it.

After my haze of obsession has worn off, I have come to the conclusion (and this is the right conclusion guys, don’t argue) ……Nick Young is a wuss. The first time I read this, I swooned over Nick. Gorgeous, rich yet humble, good friend, good son, yet good boyfriend. The list goes on and on, but after 2 viewings and 1 extra reading, his shortcomings just shine through, and all I could do was scoff and roll my eyes. How does he not prepare Rachel for any part of his life in Singapore? How is he okay with throwing her to the sharks and just hoping she survives? He literally tells her how about how hard something is going to be one scene before it actually happens and expects her to just ride with it. Dick move Nick, dick move.

Nick Young and Rachel Chu have been dating for a couple years and he wants to finally introduce her to his family. Luckily, his best friend is getting married back home and this seems to be the perfect time to do that. Plot twist though, his family is the most influential family in Singapore so this is not going to be a normal meet the family story.

The thing I found most frustrating/difficult to wrap my head around was the amount of characters in the book. Don’t get me wrong, as a Nigerian, I am used to unusually large families, so that was not a problem, but the story telling from different characters’ perspectives got a little clunky for me. It was seamless in its transition, but it was a little difficult for me to juggle and care about all the side stories interwoven into the central plot. I had to take a picture of the family tree to use as a guide when I was reading. I never could figure which Aunty was speaking, who her children were, and why I should care about them.

Another little problem was the language barrier. Many phrases were in Mandarin/Cantonese (not sure really) and had their translations at the end of the chapters, so reading this book physically would have taken its toll. Luckily, I read with an e-reader so I was able to use the hyperlinks to get the translations STAT. My friend, couldn’t get a handle all the back and forth, and sadly she never finished the book.

All that being said, it was a lovely story. Rachel Chu is my hero. She is an amazing girlfriend and she was willing to sacrifice everything for Nick’s happiness (don’t go that far again, sis). Nick was also magnificent. If we erase from our memories that he was a spoiled mama’s boy who introduced the love of his life to his grandmother as his “good friend”, he was an all round good boyfriend and their love story was super interesting.

I loved, loved, getting a glimpse into another continent and culture, and I loved the similarities between what I was seeing and my actual culture. Those text chains and Whatsapp groups are real, guys, and it was like an expose into my culture. It was very cool to see the similarities in different cultures, especially on the big screen. It was also interesting to see the juxtaposition of old money, the restraints that come with it, and new money and the power to flaunt it to high heavens.

Before I forget, the first scene in this book was one for the ages. Nothing better than bringing a racist down a couple pegs. I know I have never experienced this explicitly, but it must hurt to be denied a room you’d already booked or any service ever just because you don’t look like the ideal clientele.

Final verdict; I loved it so much. Nick is a wuss. Rachel is bae. Read it and/or watch it!!!!

Rating: A

Click to purchase: Amazon

Crazy Rich Asians
by Kevin Kwan
Release Date: June 11, 2013
Publisher: Doubleday

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