Alright, guys. GUYS. I was going to rate this a full mega five star but then I watched the movie and I absolutely loved the direction they went with it, along with the curtailing of subplots. But still. STILL. This book was fab. And I mean, timing, am I right?
CRAZY RICH ASIANS
by Kevin Kwan
Anchor Books, May 2014
Romance, adult contemporary fiction, humor
Rated: 4.5 / 5 cookies
When New Yorker Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home and quality time with the man she hopes to marry. But Nick has failed to give his girlfriend a few key details. One, that his childhood home looks like a palace; two, that he grew up riding in more private planes than cars; and three, that he just happens to be the country’s most eligible bachelor.
On Nick’s arm, Rachel may as well have a target on her back the second she steps off the plane, and soon, her relaxed vacation turns into an obstacle course of old money, new money, nosy relatives, and scheming social climbers.
If I could quote the entire beginning of the book, I so would, because if the prologue was any indication of how the book would go, it certainly opened up with a bang. As is, I really enjoyed the story, as dramatic and rife with frustrating characters as it was, it was a helluva summer read, and I honestly want to visit Singapore now (not that I didn’t before…now it’s just a more immediate desire).
“They may not know the first thing about him, but they are all vying to become Mrs. Nicholas Young.”
Rachel took it all in quietly. It felt like Sophie was talking about some character of fiction, someone who bore no resemblance to the man she knew and had fallen in love with. It was as if she were Sleeping Beauty–only, she never asked to be awakened by a prince.
But honestly, I couldn’t have found a better timing to read this book. Eleanor Young was a firm believer that timing was everything for many reasons, and I think I agree. If I wasn’t in such a mood to read a rom-com book like Crazy Rich Asians I probably would not have had as much fun with it as I did. As is, when I finally did get cracking at the book, I realized this book was just for me, solely for the fact that every few pages there was food involved.
I got so food-hungry reading Dirty Rich Asians that I ended up making scones, clotted cream, and scoured the grocery stores for some lychee to make myself a lychee cocktail. Word. Food and fandom up this biznatch!
Nick stood at one end of the desserts, wondering what to have first: the goreng pisang with ice cream, the blancmange with mango sauce, or the chocolate chiffon cake.
Seriously, I was in Singapore food heaven. And it didn’t help that I was recognizing a lot of the goodies as SEA staples. (I mean, they talked about frying bananas in batter and I immediately went and fried myself a pack of turon to have for snacks…)
Not only that, but the culture itself was a lot more relatable as far as the family values went. As someone whose family network is predominantly in Southeast Asia, a lot of the gossip and judgmental drama that occurred in the book mimicked what it is like growing up in a heavily SEA-oriented lifestyle. Of course, I could only imagine the stakes in the drama of the dirty rich, but again, similar focus.
The book is also heavy with commentary of lifestyle in the SEA community. There are problems with how the rich view the world, and yes, there’s a shitton of racism and social injustice even in the East. And if you take a deeper dive into the book to see how the society in Singapore work, you’d find that a lot of the SEA folk actually represented turn out to be live-in servants, nannies, and generally that of the working class.
“Did you hear me? Mainland China!”
Philip was baffled. “Doesn’t everybody’s family ultimately originate from Mainland China? Where would you rather she be from? Iceland?”
“Don’t be funny with me! Her family comes from some ulu ulu village in China that nobody has ever heard of. The investigator thinks that they were most likely working class. In other words, they are PEASANTS!”
That being said, the book is first and foremost a romantic comedy. It is an Asian Pride and Prejudice. And let me tell you, I’ve been having my fair share of P&P binges this week. Too much Mr. Darcy is never too much, and I can now also say this about Nicholas Young. Yummy.
(On a related note, I’ve also gone to see the movie this weekend, and I will have to agree with many others who’ve clamored and sang the movie’s praises: it was tremendously done, hilarious to a fault, and I cannot tell you how ecstatic I am to see a great rom-com back on the silver screens. Also, the curtailed plotlines with Astrid and Peik Lin were SO MUCH BETTER DONE in the film, not gonna lie. So. Yeah. WATCH IT!)
4.5 out of 5 cookies! Honestly, it should just be a 5 out of 5 if you combine the ending of the movie to the book itself. All the same, I’d totally still read the sequels.