Book Review: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan ★★

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“That’s what I want for my kids. I want them to love their family, but to feel a deeper sense of pride in who they are as individuals, not in how much money they have, what their last name is, or how many generations they go back to whatever dynasty. I’m sorry, but I’ve had enough. I’ve had enough of being around all these crazy rich Asians, all these people whose lives revolve around making money, spending money, flaunting money, comparing money, hiding money, controlling others with money, and ruining their lives over money.”

I really went into this with an open mind. I was excited to read it and I wanted something different from what I normally read, a light, fun, contemporary about a culture I am not overly familiar with. I gave it my best effort, but I just didn’t care for it 🤷‍♀️. Glad I only spent a dollar on it!

The best part of this book was the tongue in cheek commentary on certain Asian cultures. Coming from an own-voice author, the story cleverly poked fun at different parts of the Chinese, Singoproean, and American ways of life. The footnotes at the bottom of some pages were both helpful for Western readers and very funny words from the author himself.

However, I think this would have made a better novella or essay, versus a 500+ page novel (let alone a trilogy!!). What made parts of the book funny and interesting were then bogged down and overshadowed by an overwhelming amount of drama. It was wayyyy too much. Yeah, yeah I get the point of the novel was to have dramatic and money-obsessed characters. But this was so beyond over the top that I quickly grew tired of the gimmick. The above quote pretty much sums up my thoughts around page 250 🙄. I was so over it.

The writing was decent when it was describing Singapore and, as stated, in the footnotes, but even those grew to be pretty tedious at times. And the rest of it was pretty mediocre. I know this is just a light-hearted contemporary, and I shouldn’t take it too seriously, but parts of it were just not great. It was quick to get through, once I made myself pick the book up each time, but it had an overall rather juvenile tone to it. Some of the descriptions of people were inconsistent (she was so voluptuous one second and the next she was so tiny). The dialogue was the worst part though. Many of the things the characters said were so cliche and oftentimes downright cringey.

For most of the book, I was just bored. I don’t care about shopping or couture or petty catfights or rich-people egos. Like at all. Shame on me for choosing to read this book, I guess, but come on! I was trying to broaden my horizons. The whole concept to me felt so absurd. All of this drama and chaos to stop one guy from marrying a girl that his mother disapproves of. That’s ridiculous. And it all felt very unorganized. There were SO MANY points of view and different characters featured that none of it flowed together and it kind of felt like a big mess. Many of the numerous POVs could have been left out and it would have made no difference to the story. The two main main plots, Rachel and Nick coming to Singapore to meet his family, and Astrid thinking her husband is cheating on her, were more than enough to fill the novel at a reasonable length (even if they were both inane plots to begin with), without adding in extra crap for the sake of more pages.

The characters were awfullllll. SO unrelatable. They were basically all caricatures. They were not compelling, had no charisma, and did not make me care about their stories. Rachel was supposed to be the one we rooted for and wanted to support, but she was extremely annoying. She was very over the top with her emotions and reactions. Like really, she was constantly shaking or pale or fainting or giggling or sucking up or being super mad. At one point, she literally wonders if her life would be better if her arms were chopped off like the Venus de Milo. What!? No, you friggin dingus, it wouldn’t be!! 🤨🙄 What kind of dumb shit is that?? She was so naive.

And Nick was no better: clueless, whiny, always blushing. He could have honestly avoided so much shit if he had just talked to Rachel and his family in the first place. Unnecessary drama because of lack of communication is one of the most irritating tropes. It took them both way too long to talk to each other and to figure out what was going on with their families. Astrid started out cool and pretty down to earth, despite her millions of dollars spent on couture dresses, but she became just as frustrating as the rest of them. Her situation was so stupid too. Why wouldn’t you talk to your husband!? Why would he fake an affair to get out of a relationship because he was sad he wasn’t as rich as everyone else?!? It was all so unrealistic. And Astrid just up and leaves her baby all the freaking time without a care in the world. Mother of the year! No one else need be named; they were all a blur of exaggerated, stereotypical, cartoonish characters fitting some role in the narrative. Too too many to remember or care about.

And lastly, this might be kind of nitpicky, but certain things the author wrote/some of the phrases used just did not sit well with me. The whole dog fighting scene just seemed really out of place, gross, and gratuitous. It felt wrong. Same thing when the fashion designer was dressing Rachel and he called her a “bok choy that got gang raped.” Like ew? No? Maybe don’t say weird, offensive shit like that in a book that definitely does not have that tone throughout. It was evident again in the threesome conversation and when Rachel’s mom was explaining why she didn’t get pregnant from the first guy. Each instance was handled poorly and it seemed like the author just threw them in for some extra shock value or spicier gossip. They stood out in a negative way to me from the rest of the book/tone, and I was not a fan. Poor choice by the author there.

Despite all of this and my clear personal taste, I do see why people enjoy this book, the movie, and the sequels. It can be fun to step into a world that we are unfamiliar with and be in the head’s of characters who live far above our own means. Even if they are terrible people. It’s sinful, delightful, scandalous. So I get the appeal and everything; it’s just not for me. Needless to say, I will not be continuing with the series.

Speak for yourself, human. I’m ready for some luxury in my life.

Did you guys enjoy this one? Let me know down below! I love to compare opinions/thoughts with you 😊. Thank you so much for reading!

Title: Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians #1)
Author: Kevin Kwan
Genre: Contemporary | Fiction | Romance | Women’s Fiction |Chick Lit| Culture – Singapore, China, Asia | Humor
Publication Date: June 11th, 2013
Page Count: 546
Buy It:  Book Depository Wordery

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