Monthly Book Review: Crazy Rich Asians

I love to read. Each year, I set myself a goal to read a certain number of books, and for 2019, my goal is 12. I just finished my fourth book in April (on track, go me!), and since I love book reviews and suggestions, I’m bringing some of that to my space here on the internet, hopefully monthly!

Last year, the film adaptation of Crazy Rich Asians took the world by storm. I love the movie, and actually didn’t realize it was based on a book, Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan, until I was doing one of those unnecessary Sunday strolls through Target. Hands too full of junk I didn’t need, I didn’t grab the book that day, but it was gifted to me by my sweet friend on my birthday, and I just finished reading it over the weekend.

The skinny: Rags to middle class riches American-born Chinese girl meets mega riches to middle class riches (by choice) Singaporean boy in NYC and they fall madly in love. Girl has no idea boy comes from money (and I don’t say money lightly). Boy invites girl to Singapore for a summer abroad to attend his best friend’s wedding and doesn’t adequately prepare girl for the vicious bloodline and money driven social infrastructure she’s about to walk into. Many hiccups. Many tears. Many cool cars and designer gowns along the way. Many subplots.

Genre: I’m calling this a Dramromedy and really hoping I just coined that word. It has all the necessary ingredients for a classic romantic comedy: good looking couple, the hilariously hot mess best friend, the mistake that threatens to ruin everything and ultimately… resolution? Maybe. But it has a little extra something that most romcoms lack, and that’s some gut-wrenching family bullshit that brings a kind of sobering reality to the glitz and glam of young love.

What I loved: This book was a bit of an Asian history/culture/language lesson that I didn’t expect at all. I wouldn’t be surprised if I reflexively started replacing all my Oh my goshes with Alamaks. I appreciate the detail in which all the places, clothes, and people are described. I have a soft spot for a few of the diehard friendships, like those between main characters Rachel and Peik Lin, and Nick and Colin. I don’t have a big family, so I really enjoyed some of the warmer family dynamics, specifically between Nick and his cousins, Astrid being a specific favorite. The book is riddled with really comical moments, most notably between Nick’s mother Eleanor and her friends. And to elaborate a little on what I said before, the reality of failed marriages and forbidden love help to make this book both wonderful and sad. Also, from a practical book-reading standpoint, I love the shorter length of the chapters because I seem to get through books more quickly that way.

What could’ve been better: There are way too many people to keep up with. Like a character I read very briefly about on page 1 might show up again on page 356 and have the same last name as someone who popped up on page 133 and I’m just supposed to make that distinction and know who the heck he/she is?! I also found the ending to be incredibly abrupt. I know it’s a trilogy, but I could’ve used some sort of closure at the end that the movie served, and the book did not.

Overall rating: I’d give this book a solid 8/10. I think I only raced through it so I could be on pace with @shutupcrystal, but it was a delightful read and I absolutely will be picking up the other two books in the series to see what exactly becomes of Rachel and Nick’s predicament.

Have you read Crazy Rich Asians? If so, what do you think? And could you suggest some other books like it?

On deck? The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson.

xoxo reading with Leigh Ann

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Maker of artish things. TV junkie. Where's the pizza?

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