Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Book review: 'Crazy Rich Asians'

I've had this book on my reading list pretty much since it came out last year, but I just hadn't gotten around to reading it yet. (Typical me, I know!) But I found the perfect time to do it after my surgery, which happened to be very good timing because I just found out that a sequel called China Rich Girlfriend is coming out in June. That part doesn't exactly thrill me because I like to know ahead of time that I'm getting into a series — anyone else like that? Also because I'm just not sure I can handle much more of this story...

As you might infer from the title, Crazy Rich Asians is about just that: several Asian families who are unfathomably rich. We're talking hundreds of millions and billions per family. To them, money, social status and lineage are extremely important, and anyone who falls outside of their parameters is thereby unqualified to become a member of their clan. When Nick, a son of one of the most prestigious families in Singapore, brings his American-born Chinese (not so fondly known as ABC) girlfriend Rachel to meet his family, she is greeted with a not-so-warm welcome.

That's the main story, but there are also several side stories following other members of Nick's gigantic family, as well as a couple others. This to me was a little bit overwhelming, because there were dozens of names to remember, tons of facts both relating to the family histories and the geographies of several parts of Asia. It all became a little cluttered, and I found myself wanting to get through several parts so I could get back to Rachel and Nick's story.

Jetting off to private islands for bachelorette parties, owning multiple houses and properties all over the world, a spur of the moment trip to the jewelry store that results in a multimillion-dollar purchase — and those are just a few examples. Kevin Kwan's book is apparently based on some of the real families of Singapore, so for most of the book I was in disbelief that real people could actually live and act similarly to the people in this book.

For that reason, Crazy Rich Asians became a little exhausting for me to read, which is why I'm a little hesitant to read the second one. But overall it was an entertaining read, and I ended up reading the second half in a matter of hours because I couldn't put it down. The author does a great job of building this crazy world and drawing the reader in, but it's the characters themselves that made me want to pull myself back out.

Have you read Crazy Rich Asians? If you did, what did you think? I'd love to discuss!

P.S. Reviews of Yes Please, Where'd You Go, Bernadette and Reconstructing Amelia

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