Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

"Remember, every treasure comes with a price."

When the blistering heat of the Texas summer hits, I usually change my reading habits a bit. My idea of the perfect summer read is a book that has a quick pace, doesn't require too much deep thought, but one that also doesn't sacrifice quality in favor of being fun. With that in mind, I decided to pick up Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. This novel has been sitting on my shelf for a couple of years, just waiting for the perfect moment to be read. Described by the publisher as a "outrageously funny debut novel", Crazy Rich Asians seemed like the perfect book to kickoff my summer reading.

The novel follows Nicholas Young and his girlfriend Rachel Chu as they travel to Singapore to meet Nick's family. The academic couple have lived comfortably together for a few years in America. While Rachel and Nick are very comfortable with her single mother, they have yet to meet Nick's large extended family. As the couple heads to Singapore, Nick begins to stress about the details of the meeting. He loves Rachel, but his family can be difficult to deal with. He's also left out one giant detail about his family. . . they are unfathomably wealthy!

Eleanore Young is worried sick about her son. Word has traveled through the grapevine of her various social circles that Nick is bringing home his girlfriend Rachel with the intent to propose to her. Surely these rumors must be mistaken. How could Nick be ready to propose to a girl when he never even mentioned the woman to his mother?! Worse, if the rumors are to be believed, Rachel is an ABC (American Born Chinese). Mrs. Young will not stand to have her son's emotions and bank account be taken advantage of by a woman who is not worthy of the Young family's stature. She vows to do everything in her power (lots of money means lots of power!) to protect Nick and to maintain the prosperity of the Young family name.

Crazy Rich Asians is a novel full of family drama and satire that reads like an over the top soap opera in the same vein as the TV show Desperate Housewives. The tone is light and the pace is brisk. In other words, the novel works as a diversional summer read. Those expecting anything more than that may be disappointed. While Kwan is clearly writing from experience, his story ends up being nothing more than a surface level melodrama. I found myself chuckling at the absurdity of some of the situations, but found it really hard to connect with the over-the-top characters. At over four hundred pages, the material soon begins to overstay its welcome and becomes redundant. Worse, when the book does finally end, most of the narrative threads are left open for a sequel. I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy this book, but the overlong length and lack of any clear resolution might be enough to deter others from spending time with this crazy rich family.

For more information, visit the author's website, Amazon, and Goodreads.

(2016, 18)

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4 Responses to “Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan”

  1. I think the title is fabulous - it really sets the stage for the type of novel you described. I prefer speculative fiction but a good drama here and there is absolutely necessary!
    Rebecca @ The Portsmouth Review
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    1. I'm a sucker for a good mystery or thriller usually, but this was a really nice change of pace.

  2. Sounds like this one was enjoyable and is a funny situation, but that it can get a little repetitive and could be good if it was shorter and therefore easier for people to read and appreciate.

    1. I can certainly appreciate this one for what it is, but I feel like it could have used a few edits to tighten up the story just a bit. Thanks for stopping in!


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