Crazy Rich Asians
by Kevin Kwan
I was motivated by two factors to pick up Crazy Rich Asians. The first (and redundant) reason was The Skimm. 😉 They recommended the sequel, China Rich Girlfriend, a while back. I was really intrigued, so I looked it up, found out it was the sequel, looked up the first book, checked Crazy Rich Asians out of the library, and started reading it (this was well before we moved in Oct!). I was really enjoying it, but I had a large stack on non-library books that I wanted to read before the move, so I paused reading and returned it. Somehow, my brother and I got talking about the book and he shared that he had read it, loved it, and had no idea there was a sequel (which he presently bought). As a result, I was even more interested in reading it. And bonus, he had both books so I could borrow them from him! Fast forward to now, we’ve settled into our house and I finally got to pick back up Crazy Rich Asians. Happily, I really enjoyed it and it was totally worth the wait.
Kevin Kwan is brilliant. He has a depth of detail that is both interesting and overwhelming. [He elaborates on the varied Asian cultures, down to different dialects, foods, slang, and nuances one normally wouldn’t pick up on, and as a result, it was very interesting and also overwhelming at times.] Kwan’s characters are varied and dimensional, his plot is extremely clever, and his writing was both humorous and touching. The general plot follows Rachel and her boyfriend Nick. They are both professors in NYC and Nick convinces Rachel to spend the summer with him in Asia where they will meet his family, spend time where he grew up, and attend his best friend’s wedding. What he, rather unwittingly, leaves out is that the wedding is THE wedding of the year, he is himself one of the most eligible bachelors and mothers and daughters throughout Asia are competing for him, and his mother is quite particular about who is with her son (to put it mildly). SPOILER: all of this culminates to make Rachel’s treatment by Nick’s family horrendous–from a rotten, mutilated fish in her purse, to ex’s dishing on their history with Nick, to being blatantly told that she cannot ever marry Nick by his mother and grandmother. In a plot twist, Nick’s mother earths up Rachel’s birth father (whom Rachel thought was dead) and discovers he is a criminal in prison. When all is thought to be lost between Rachel and Nick, the plot twists again and Nick fights for Rachel and discovers that her real birth father is someone else entirely (a long story told by Rachel’s mother, recounting her horrors as a young woman married to an abusive man and how another young man helped her escape-and was unknowingly Rachel’s real father). In the end, Nick sticks by Rachel and essentially leaves his family because of how awful they were to Rachel.
Summing it up: I really liked Crazy Rich Asians. While it took me a little while to really get into the book, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I would definitely recommend it!
All the best, Abbey