I had high hopes for this book. It came recommended to me by three different people, and I was told that it was a fast and entertaining read. And to an extent, I agree. The overall story was light and comedic and often had me shaking my head, incredulous. The descriptions of the street food in Singapore left my mouth watering; I’ve already started daydreaming of when I can head back to Singapore and eat like there’s no tomorrow. (The food there is some of the best I have ever had!) That being said, Crazy Rich Asians may have been entertaining, but the lack of depth in the characters author Kevin Kwan created left me high and dry.
Crazy Rich Asians focuses on three extraordinarily rich families who scheme, gossip, and back stab one another constantly. All hell breaks loose when one of the main characters, Nicholas, brings home his “ABC” (American-Born Chinese) girlfriend named Rachel to the wedding of the century in Singapore. Rachel has no idea that Nick comes from money and is in for a shock when she is led to his grandmother’s Palace, hidden in the Singapore ‘back country’. Rachel meets all kinds of interesting characters, including Astrid, one of Nick’s socialite ‘it girl’ cousins, who finds out her husband is having an affair. Nick’s mother, one of many frustrating characters, assumes Rachel is a gold digger and pulls out all the stops to ensure her son breaks up with her.
Crazy Rich Asians is an insider’s scoop into an otherwise private world, opening our eyes to the Asian JetSet lifestyle and features the lavishly wealthy ‘Mainlanders’ and old money vs. new money family politics. While reading about these plot points was entertaining and humorous (reading the novel wasn’t a purely negative experience!), I found that this depiction grew old very quickly and sometimes left me feeling anxious.
Nick and Rachel were the only two characters I remotely cared for, and eventually the change in their thought process didn’t make sense to me; I just didn’t believe it when Nick suddenly changed his mind and decided he wanted to marry Rachel, and instances like that came out of nowhere. I felt as though all the characters lacked depth; maybe it’s because there were so many characters brought to the forefront, or maybe the characters were supposed to lack depth and that was Kwan’s intention all along, or maybe it’s because Kwan decided to focus instead on his descriptions of designer clothes and jewellery rather than insight into his protagonists minds, but whatever the reason is, this book missed the mark for me.