The Crazy Crazy Rich Asians

For the record, I picked up Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan a few days ago with little to no expectation, though needless to say, I had assumed that something like brand dropping or obvious wealthiness would perhaps be all over the narration. Nevertheless, finding out the truth still took me a little by surprise. The characters were unbelievably rich to the point where it seemed insane (to be fair I didn't even imagine owning that much money was even possible). Since I can't think of any proper way to describe them, let me quote you something one of the characters said about the crazy rich elites:

"I have no idea who these people are.
But I can tell you one thingthese people are richer than God."

Crazy Rich Asians follows the story of an insanely rich family from the Young, T'sien, and Shang clan. You'll find a family tree at the beginning of the book, but since it can be a little confusing at first I'll show you around starting with one of the male main characters, Nick Young.

Nick Young currently lives in New York with his girlfriend, Rachel Chu, whom he has been dating for two years or so. Other than his closest cousin Astrid Leong, he hasn't introduced Rachel to any of his family members yet nor that he fills Rachel in on how wealthy his family is. So when Nick invites Rachel to attend his best friend's wedding in Singapore, his hometown, Rachel doesn't have any idea what is it that she's about to face: Shang Su Yi the grandmother, Eleanor Sung the mother, and some of Nick's horrifying relatives.

Nick's closest cousin, Astrid Leong, is the daughter of the famous businessman Harry Leong and the sometimes stingy Felicity Young. Astrid may have not shared as big of a portion compared to Nick and Rachel in this book, but she certainly is the most famous in this family: she's gorgeous, classy, while flies to Paris regularly to shop. However, her life turns upside down when she finds out that her husband, Michael Teo, is cheating on her.

Meanwhile, Eddie Cheng is the son of doctor Malcolm Cheng and Alix Young. Eddie and his wife, Fiona Tung, may have only played a minor role in this book but even then we can conclude how big of a jerk he is. There's also Peik Lin who isn't related to the rich elites but is a best friend of Rachel's who lives in Singapore. Her family is also rich though not rich enough to have the Young clan as her acquaintance.

As an Asian myself, I found this book exceptional and hilarious. The elders talked about bloodlines and marriages a lot which I found very relatable, though out of all the third generation my favorite was still Eleanor Sung (Nick's mother) as she handled every problem half recklessly half amusingly which was wholly entertaining. Her friend, Carol Tai, was no different. My favorite part (please skip this part if you want to avoid spoilers) was when Carol Tai flew Sister Grace to her house to get rid of all the things that might have caused her bad luck as her only son was marrying a former soap artist who happened to be a gold digger.

Even so, I was honestly a bit overwhelmed by how fast the pace was at first. Started out jam-packed with different characters owning different surnames, I had to go back and forth scanning the family tree from bottom to top in order to know who's who. But soon after I had memorized enough, I was able to thoroughly enjoy the family drama. All in all, Crazy Rich Asians was certainly a very fun page-turner. It was quite insightful too in a way as it made me learn a lot of new stuff I hadn't known before thanks to the footnotes. Glad to stumble upon a few things I was familiar with though such as nasi lemak and satay.

Aside from the fact that it's amusing, I admired this book for its strong characterization also. Every character stood out differently which made them vivid, alive, and some were even brilliant. I liked Nick for being such a gentleman and Rachel for being smart and classythe fact that she didn't go straight up to Nick and complain about the way she had been treated by Francesca and Mandy was purely badassthough my favorite was absolutely Astrid. I second the movie-Rachel when she said something like this, "Astrid is someone I want to be when I grow up."

Something about Peik Lin's character didn't add up though, or at least for me it didn't. Again, please skip this part if you haven't read the book yet. I initially thought that she was interested in Nick's wealth considering how she acted the first time she uncovered the truth. That's why I actually expected her parents to ask her to make her way into Nick's life instead of helping Rachel, but Peik Lin was such a reliable friend and her family had been nothing but supportive. In the end it's a great thing, really, though I was still a little confused.

To close this review, I'm still standing on my ground in terms of my feeling towards this book: it's delightful and fun and I couldn't have asked for a more entertaining book to start this month with. If you want to read something hilarious with relatable family dramas, you should go pick this book up and devour it if you haven't. Crazy Rich Asians had been an unexpectedly fun fictional getaway I would be happy to dive into again one day. Mental note: I'm going to watch the movie soon!