By KEVIN KWAN
(WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS)
I read “Crazy Rich Asians” by Kevin Kwan today. I managed to finish it in a few hours. 200 pages in, and I had to force myself to keep going. I swear, if I didn’t feel the strong need to read the book first before watching the movie (which is what I do for any other novel unless I didn’t know there was a book), I would’ve chucked the book to the side and just went straight to watching the movie. I was legit just skimming through the pages most of the time, and honestly? It didn’t matter that I read the whole thing. It was such a “show rather than tell” type of book that it didn’t matter that I barely read anything anymore. I still understood what was happening, I still knew who was who and how it ended. And I think that sums up what I think of Kwan’s writing.
I had an idea to what this book was going to be about prior to reading the book. A few years ago, when this book first came out, my older brother read it right away. I asked him what it was about, and he told me it was just as the title says, “crazy rich Asians”, and then he goes on to say that they’re like crazy young people fucking up around Singapore, and then I ask, “like Gossip Girl?” And he says, “yes. Like Gossip Girl”. Fast forward to a few years later to when I watched the trailer for the movie and I got that rich heir brings a girl home to Singapore from America to meet the family, the mother doesn’t approve, but in the end, she ends up approving. Kind of a common plot, if you ask me.
The prologue really intrigued me at first. A Chinese family from Singapore arrives at their hotel in London after dark, in the middle of a rainstorm, and arrive sopping wet at the doorstep. And because of their disheveled appearance and the fact that they are Asian, the concierge actually attempts to kick them out, which proved successful at first, until Eleanor called her husband and somehow bought the hotel in what? A span of 30 minutes? An hour? Any time less than a day is still impressive to me, and then when the previous owner names the Young’s the owners and Eleanor kicks the concierge out, I kind of thought this book was going to have a little more depth into it — like maybe the struggles the family faced in its early years to gain respect? Or maybe a bit more description on how they got that wealthy in the first place? That along with descriptions of how wealthy the characters are would have been a whole lot more interesting to me.
I will admit, there were some things about the book that I liked. I really liked Oliver. I love that he was the one Eleanor instructed to break Alistair and Kitty up. Iconic. I liked Astrid at first, then Kwan kind of ruined her character for me after confronting Michael about his affair. I seriously thought she was gonna be the character who helped Rachel when Nick couldn’t be around cause he was busy being a best man, but nooooo Kwan had to ruin a potentially awesome female character who cares more about her family’s image than actually wanting her husband to stay. At least she claimed to want him to stay for the sake of their son. Same goes for Araminta! I loved that she was a famous celebrity who showed up at the airport to pick up Nick and Rachel in PAJAMAS for fuck’s sake, and then she later gets upset when she realizes Astrid didn’t even “bother to wear a brand new outfit” to her wedding? Come on, Kwan!!!
Some of the characterization kind of confused me a bit as well? Like, yeah, I get it, apparently the Young’s are so “humble” or whatever that they made arrangements to not be mentioned in articles and such, and use discount codes for overseas calls, but these are apparently “crazy rich Asians” so I seriously don’t see the reasoning for this aspect of their characters. Honestly, as annoying as he was, Eddie was kind of the one I found the most realistic and interesting. He was jealous because of his friend. He wanted to be noticed. He literally dressed to impress — no he LIVED to impress. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that “rich” people aren’t humble, I’m just seriously confused as to how these Asians are living the high life yet make sure they are so obscure that barely anyone new in the world of the rich knows them.
I also DID NOT understand how Nick didn’t know how rich he was? Like HELLO? Boy went to a British boarding school in Singapore, lived in a big ass MANSION, had family members who wore designer outfits on a DAILY basis and he didn’t know how much he was worth? Like??? ARE YOU NAIVE???????? I can’t, I just can’t. I will give him credit for the bachelor party scene though when he managed to get himself, Colin, and some of their closest friends off the boat and make the best of the remaining time they had for their own bachelor party.
All in all, I did not enjoy this book. My eyes skimmed through the pages, I was bored af, and it was just a complete waste of time. I am definitely not going to pick up the next two books and continue reading this series.
Goodreads Rating: 2.5/5 stars
Why? Because the writing was terrible, the characters weren’t fleshed out, and the thing with her dad came out of nowhere and I’m not even sure if it was necessary. I would’ve rated it 1 star if it weren’t for the fact that I liked a few of the characters and some scenes were pretty fun to read.