You have to read this series! I came to the party on this one late and I wanted to read the first book in the series, Crazy Rich Asians for a couple reasons. One, LaineyGossip has written about how great the novel is for a few years now and while it’s been on my list, it never seemed to float to the top. [I get my pop culture fill from LaineyGossip] Two, as I mentioned in a post a couple months ago, the movie is coming out this summer and I like to read the books before the movies if I can. Let me tell you, everything I had read and heard about Crazy Rich Asians was true – it is fabulous! And a bonus of jumping on a series bandwagon late, I could read all three books almost back to back. After finishing all three books, I was left happy but also wanting more. More, as in, more books!
Crazy Rich Asians is told from the perspective of five main characters who are connected to one another. Nick Young and Rachel Chu are NYU professors who are dating. They come from different backgrounds – Rachel was raised by her single mother in California while Nick comes from one of the wealthiest families in Singapore. He invites Rachel to spend the summer in Singapore with him as he is going to attend his best friend’s wedding. It will be a chance for her to see Singapore and meet his family but before going, he fails to tell her about his extremely wealthy family or that the wedding is going to be the wedding of the year. Eleanor Young is Nick’s mother who has high, high expectations for him. Astrid Teo, Nick’s cousin, has a story of her own with a marriage that is struggling. And Edison Cheng is Nick’s cousin who is a banker in Hong Kong. Eddie believes in showing off his wealth and status. These five characters tell a story that is funny, scandalous, shocking, decadent, catty, fun and so, so enjoyable!
As I read along through each of the novels, I was hooked on each of their stories. There are a ton of characters introduced who are in Nick’s very large and very wealthy extended family, Nick’s friends, connections Rachel has, friends of Astrid’s and friends of Eleanor’s but I never found it to be too much. It reminded me a bit of a soap opera for a couple reasons. Each character has their own distinct story but those stories are connected in more than one way much like a soap opera. And as I mentioned above, those stories were wicked and funny with a very diverse cast of characters. Plus, some of the things that happen to the characters seem unreal but they happen! I found I couldn’t put the books down and I almost read the third novel, Rich People Problems, in one sitting. I forced myself to stop at 3am one night to sleep but only because I hit Part Four and felt it was a natural break.
In addition to all of the above, I also liked that I learned as I read along. Kevin Kwan is painting a detailed picture with his story but throughout, he never fails to explain the meaning behind some customs and culture and also provides some great historical perspective on Singapore. There are footnotes throughout the books and while I sometimes find that distracting, in this case, I looked forward to them. Informative yes but often, very funny!
I can’t say enough great things about these three books and now I’m so excited to see the movie coming out this summer! Crazy Rich Asians, China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problems would be great at any time but take them on vacation or bring them to the cottage and read them on the dock. They might just get a re-read on my dock this summer before the movie comes out!
Please, please enjoy!