Since everyone is in Crazy Rich Asian love The Maknae and I decided we would go the extra mile and read the book. Come join us as we share our thoughts on the novel.
Karie the Maknae: When I saw the trailer for Crazy Rich Asians, I was amused but not totally interested. My husband saw it and said, “Yeah, that’s not your kind of movie.” So, being the bull-headed type of person I am, I bought the book and read it instead.
Kmuse: I actually read this book a couple years ago and again, just recently, for a book group. So I am happy to jump in on the review.
PLOT SYNOPSIS: I like to let Amazon handle the heavy lifting when it comes to the plot synopsis–“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.
Karie the Maknae: Let me start off by saying that after 17 years of marriage, my husband knows me very, VERY well. I was crossing my fingers for more of an Amy Tan experience, but with humor. Instead I got Michener meets Mean Girls in Singapore. The diabolical thing is that the writing and the plot were just compelling enough that I read the book in one sitting!
Kmuse: I totally acknowledge that this book is not going to be for everyone. Even for those of you who watched the movie and loved it, the book might not be what you are looking for. That said, I am one of those people who had a lot of fun reading it and I agree that it is pretty addictive. I had to know what happened to Astrid, Rachel, Nicholas, & the rest of the crazy gang.
Kmuse: It is so over the top crazy that I loved it. But I am also the person who is totally addicted to Makjang Chinese dramas. If that is also your jam then you are going to love this book.
Karie the Maknae: Sometimes predictable, sometimes boring, the plot also had twists out of left field (minor spoiler: I have major SLS for Charlie Wu, Astrid’s ex-fiancee). Overall, it kept me captivated, even when I was cringing at some of the characters’ over-the-top crude actions.
Characters both good & bad
Kmuse: Unlike the movie, the book goes in-depth into the lives of the various Young cousins/significant others. Through them we learn a lot about how the uber-wealthy live. Also, despite that wealth, they go through the same trials and heartaches that normal people do. Everyone has that crazy cousin (or in my family’s case, uncle) who marries way too often and without discretion. Or the in-law that no one really likes for various reasons. In this book, we get a ton of exotic rich people things to go along with the drama. Which makes it a lot more fun than hearing about my Uncle Jeff’s 8th failed marriage.
Karie the Maknae: Ha! Kmuse makes an excellent point about the crazy relatives. They add a wild counterfoil to our fairly normal MCs, highlighting the difference between people who aren’t obsessed with money and people who are. I did find myself rooting for Nick and Rachel, even with Rachel being a Vanilla Girl (I seriously wanted her to grow a spine and not believe everything she was told), and I found that Nick being so rich that he wasn’t aware of being rich almost believable. It leaves him sweet and slightly spoiled, but he’s self-aware enough that it works.
Kmuse: While I enjoyed the romance between Rachel Chu & Nicholas Young, my favorite character’s story is Astrid’s. She is such a fascinating character and I can’t help but fall in love with her plight of being very wealthy and married to a man who feels inferior. Her quiet strength and dignity in the face of marriage issues and her aggressive family was fascinating. I also loved her friendship with Rachel and Nicholas.
Karie the Maknae: Astrid saved the narrative for me. She DOES have a spine, and even though she doesn’t necessarily take the right actions in her own marriage, she’s trying. And she just rocks. I love her. As for the rest of the characters, well, Momma Young and her coven need new hobbies (though I loved the contrast of them going over someone’s newly acquired jewels during “Bible Study”), and the cousins are despicable.
Kmuse: I was indifferent to the plot regarding the other cousins. They were pretty much in the story just to create the feel of overwhelming wealth. Although I did get a giggle on who was dating the wannabe actress. I think that Momma Young should just be thrilled Nicholas wasn’t dating that kind of ill mannered gold digger.
READ IT OR NOT?
Kmuse: If you want something fun, fast, & fluffy, then I completely recommend this book. If you want to actually like more than one or two characters, then this might not be the book for you. I would recommend jumping past the novel and watching the movie (can’t believe I just wrote this) which is a more watered down version. Still good with a lot less mean side characters. (P.S. I totally recommend everyone going to see the movie. It was delightful.)
Karie the Maknae: If you like a compelling plot, a sprawling mass of characters, and info dumps at every turn that actually add to the narrative, heavily sprinkled with name brands of all kinds, this is the book for you. However, I must issue a pretty strong Gentle Reader Alert for this one. There isn’t a ton of swearing, but when there is, f-bombs are the epithet of choice. And the crudity of some of those cousins and their friends was pretty heavy and left me more than a little disgusted. Personally, I won’t be finishing the series, even with the plot twist at the end that makes me want to know more.
There you have it, our unfiltered thoughts and feelings. If you want anything more in depth and less spoiler free than ask in the comments. You can find the novel available HERE on Amazon.
Til the next page turning moment,
Dramas With a Side of Kimchi