“Remember, every treasure comes with a price.”
My decision to read Crazy Rich Asians was pretty spontaneous and if I’m being honest, I didn’t even have any plans of ever picking it up. The main reason for that is I LOVE the movie (I would even go so far to say it’s one of my favorite rom-com films 👀) and was slightly nervous about whether or not the book would be a let down. I mean, as far as the movie goes, it was just such a fun time and full of ridiculous, extravagant characters whom you couldn’t help but love. I’ve watched the movie so many times at this point, and the thought of reading the book hadn’t even really crossed my mind.
BUT, I was scrolling through the Libby app on my phone to look for an audiobook I could listen to while working and Crazy Rich Asians was one of the only ones that really caught my eye. I decided to get it and…here we are! Hope you guys liked that (unnecessary) recount of why and how I read this book 🙃
When Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home, long drives to explore the island, and quality time with the man she might one day marry. What she doesn’t know is that Nick’s family home happens to look like a palace, that she’ll ride in more private planes than cars, and that with one of Asia’s most eligible bachelors on her arm, Rachel might as well have a target on her back.
Initiated into a world of dynastic splendor beyond imagination, Rachel meets Astrid, the It Girl of Singapore society; Eddie, whose family practically lives in the pages of the Hong Kong socialite magazines; and Eleanor, Nick’s formidable mother, a woman who has very strong feelings about who her son should–and should not–marry. Uproarious, addictive, and filled with jaw-dropping opulence, Crazy Rich Asians is an insider’s look at the Asian JetSet; a perfect depiction of the clash between old money and new money; between Overseas Chinese and Mainland Chinese; and a fabulous novel about what it means to be young, in love, and gloriously, crazily rich.
I was really surprised by how different the book seemed in comparison to the movie. Not in a bad way, though, because I feel the movie did a good job based off of the way the story is written. The novel is told from many point of views and a wide cast of characters, meaning there are no “main” characters. We follow Rachel and Nick a lot, yes, but we also get the perspective of Astrid, Eleanor, and so many more people both within Nick’s family and out. It was definitely a fresh take because Rachel is the character who I would’ve thought would be the narrator. She’s the one diving into this whole new (crazyyy rich) world whereas everyone else is used to it all. That being said, the way the book was written makes so much sense for what it is and really worked. It’s definitely more of a plot based and world immersive story than a character one. The movie translates well in that media format too and captures the essence of the book, so I think it is still a good adaptation even if they are not 100% similar.
Some things I liked about Crazy Rich Asians was the atmosphere and setting it created. Kevin Kwan did a great job portraying the lives of these people and how so many of them acted exactly the way I would’ve imagined. Eleanor, Nick’s mother, was obviously not a fan of Rachel and made that very clear. She had higher expectations for her son in terms of who he’d marry and settle down with, so I found it interesting to read about it from her perspective as well. Also, this book totally made me dream about being super rich (even though it does come with a lotttt of drama of its own) and I really appreciate how the author did that. None of the characters were written to be likable which leads me to my next point…
I was not a fan of Nick Young at all. Even in the movies his actions were a bit, uhm, ✨questionable✨ but in the books it was all that multiplied by 1000. I just got so frustrated at the fact that he didn’t warn Rachel at all about his family and didn’t even tell her that they are crazy rich. He practically just fed her to the wolves and left her alone even when they got to Singapore ?? Also, it was annoying how we were meant to view him as the sweet, caring boyfriend. However, I think the author didn’t do a great job of fleshing out his personality. He was supposed to be just the classic “nice guy” who despite coming from a lot of money wanted to make his own path in life. That’s noble, I guess, but I wish we got to see more of him as a person instead of just that cookie cutter stereotype. Rachel was also a bit…boring. Like I said before, the character development and personalities in general were not a strong suit for this book.
“Doing nothing can sometimes be the most effective form of action.”
All in all…
I liked this book for what it is: a fun, over the top story about a bunch of rich people. Was it perfect? Definitely not. Will I be reading the sequel? Yes. Also, I don’t know if I’m allowed to say this buuuut I enjoyed the movie more 🤷🏽♀️ If the storyline of this interests you but you’re not sure whether to read the book or watch the film, this might be the one time I recommend doing the latter. That being said, the book is still enjoyable and you won’t regret giving it a read!
Rating: 3.5 stars
Have you read Crazy Rich Asians or watched the movie? Did you enjoy it?