This was one of those books that takes over your life for a couple of days while you speed through it. It was incredibly fun. Rachel Chu, an ABC (American Born Chinese), agrees to spend the summer with her boyfriend in Singapore, but she doesn’t know what she’s getting into. Her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, is from one of the oldest and richest families in Singapore. His family has plenty of opinions about his future wife so even though Rachel has a PhD in economics and works as a professor, she’s still seen as a low class, gold-digging impostor by most of the family.
Like I said before, this was a book I couldn’t put down. I was fascinated by the many culture clashes: old and established Singaporeans who are very conservative with their money, Singaporeans with new money flaunting their wealth, young people who grew up partly in Singapore and partly in the UK/US, and ABCs who have assimilated western viewpoints a little too well for the tastes of their elders. Throw all those types of people together into one giant family and you have the perfect setting for a hilarious and infuriating story. Kwan’s satire has serious bite, but it’s clearly written from a place of love and understanding. There are so many ridiculous and hilarious bit characters that it’s a shame the story doesn’t have the time to dwell on them for too long.
Crazy Rich Asians isn’t without faults. The ending is a bit abrupt, the middle loses a bit of momentum, and it could have been edited down without losing anything important. Still, I’m so glad I read this, especially during the winter doldrums. I came to love all of these crazy rich Asians and Kwan for making me laugh so much. This book also features one of the most satisfying prologues I’ve ever read. Just read it and see if you aren’t immediately hooked.
Warning for animals lovers: there is a seriously gross dog fighting scene in this book. I found it disturbing, but pretty easy to skim over (especially if you know it’s coming), so your personal tolerance may vary.