Book Review: Crazy Rich Asians

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan centres around the story of Rachel Chu, who was born in China, but brought to the United States as an infant by her single mother. Rachel, who is a young professor at NYU, has been dating Nicholas Young, another NYU professor, for almost 2 years but has never met his family, who still live in Asia. As the summer approaches, Nick invites Rachel to travel Asia with him, starting in Singapore where his family lives. When they arrive in Singapore, Rachel quickly finds out that not only are Nick’s relatives wealthy, they are crazy rich.

Book Review: Crazy Rich Asians | kathleenhelen

The Book: Crazy Rich Asians

In Crazy Rich Asians Kwan introduces readers to a new world of the uber wealthy that is reminiscent of the Upper East Side found in Gossip Girl. Only in Singapore, a few million dollars in the bank means nothing.

This novel satirizes the world Kwan, a born and raised Singaporean, grew up in. It’s a snappy and fun read that, although over 500 pages in length, will be read fairly quickly. If, like me, you missed picking up this novel when it was published four years ago, this makes a great summer read that still feels fresh and new.

This novel is most definitely best categorized as chick lit, and like any good, indulgent chick lit, reviews on Goodreads are very conflicting. They range from 1-star scathing reviews through to 5-star glowing ones. There are a lot of characters which makes it a little confusing to follow, especially in the beginning, but this also helps to understand and empathize with Rachel and how overwhelmed she must feel meeting all these people for the first time. The vast collection of characters is undoubtedly an attempt to flesh out the world, but the sheer number of subplots does tend to detract from the Rachel/ Nick story. In addition, Rachel is repeatedly described as extraordinarily intelligent and perceptive, but she’s kind of blind and passive to everything that happens to her. Not the most interesting main character out there, but the story that is woven around her is very intriguing.

My Recommendation

I would definitely recommend this novel to fans of Gossip Girl (the books or the show!) and anyone looking for a light-hearted summer beach read but will warn that it should be picked up cautiously. This is chick lit about the uber rich of Asia and immerses the reader into the superficial and traditional world. This isn’t a book that’s going to change your outlook on life, but it should provide you with a few hours of amusement.

I gave Crazy Rich Asians 4 stars out of 5 on Goodreads because I really enjoyed it. It was entertaining, although I did find the number of subplots somewhat detracting. The book is also being turned into a film, with principal filming already completed, though still no release date. I’m super excited to see the movie, decided to pick the book up now in anticipation, and have zero regrets about it!

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Book Review: Crazy Rich Asians | kathleenhelen

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