Monday, July 29, 2013

Book Review: Crazy Rich Asians

Crazy Rich Asians
Kevin Kwan

Rachel Chu and Nicholas Young are living the American Dream. Both are well-educated college professors that have the world laid out in front of them. Rachel has worked herself up from a single parent household and is very content with her life in academia. Nick is a well-mannered intellectual with a quick wit and a big heart. They’ve been dating for about 2 years when Nick suggests that Rachel spend the summer with him and his family in Singapore. Rachel is delighted to have a chance to learn more about Nick and his background, which he rarely brings up. Little does she know that spending time with Nick and his family means being thrust into a rich lifestyle that will eventually bring her confusion and despair. At the center of the couple’s unhappiness is Nick’s mother Eleanor, who is determined to protect Nick's inheritance even more than her son. See what happens when the world of new and distinguished money collides with ABC (American Born Chinese) sensibilities.

In his debut novel, Mr. Kwan uses fashion, food, cultural idioms and a large stable of colorful characters to bring realism to the setting. I thought this was a fun and over-the-top book, full of Chinese and Singaporean history and culture, and some of the most scandalous behavior I've ever read about. Yet no matter how far Mr. Kwan pushes the envelope, his novel still manages to retain, at its core, main characters are multi-faceted, interesting and sympathetic and the reader can’t help but to find themselves drawn into their stories and invested in what happens to them. Fans of Jackie Collins will enjoy the glitz, glamor and betrayal portrayed in this novel. It’s just the kind of fun read that can quickly consume your weekend.

Submitted by Pamela Jessie
Woodlawn Library

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