Book Review: Crazy Rich Asians

It’s not too late to add this to your summer reading list. My last two book reviews may have led you to believe that I am not a fan of chick lit, but let me assure you I went through a not insignificant Sophie Kinsella stage. Plus, is it not obvious that this is the blog Bridget Jones would have written if she was a Filipino marathoner? I definitely enjoy some light fare now and again, and Crazy Rich Asians is fun fun fun.

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Having said that, I totally didn’t get this book for a beach read. I don’t go to the beach in LA – it’s a haul to get there, a pain to find parking, and frankly the beaches here aren’t that nice. (Again, why the hell do I live in this stupid city?) I bought this book because of family ties. Turns out I’m related to author Kevin Kwan by marriage. Yes, friends, you are reading a review written by a crazy-rich-Asian-adjacent blogger. However, the more important connection is that my brother moved to Singapore about twenty years ago, married a Chinese-Singaporean woman, and is raising their two sons there. I’ve visited the wee island at least four times, and while I know a little bit about it’s meteoric rise from a city comprised of dirt roads and huts to economic powerhouse in just fifty short years, I still couldn’t grasp its societal structure and hierarchy. Like why was it so important for my nephew to get into ACS (Anglo Chinese School)? Well, think Gossip Girl and those types of fancy-pants schools. Of course my godson had to go to ACS — we’re not barbarians! For sure the book was informative in preparing me for my future trips.

Will you enjoy this book even if your brother married someone from your hometown and you’ve never stepped foot in Raffles Hotel? Absolutely! It has all the markings of a proper summer read: a pretty but not wealthy heroine in American-Chinese Rachel Chu, an uber rich and handsome leading man in Singaporean Nicky Young, the catty tony set of young women who grew up with Nick and are out to do away newcomer Rachel, and the old school parents who are meddling in their children’s affairs. Culture clash, class conflict, and romance in a setting of wealth beyond what you can imagine. Clothing, travel, and food excess — Asian styles.

Speaking of which, as an Asian, I will add that it was a treat to read something that depicted Asians as being just as frivolous as white people. Like Real Housewives of Orchard Road. We’re not all martial arts fierce Maggie Qs or super brainy studious types or submissive delicate dolls. Nope, some of us are just silly and average. The more diversity there is in the ways Asians are depicted in the media, the fuller a picture people can have of us. We certainly aren’t a monolith. In fact, white people, we are just like you! Ha. Anyway, there will be a movie coming out and the sequel China Rich Girlfriend is here!

Crazy Rich Asians is a super enjoyable read…only now I find myself craving kaya toast. Must have brother send care package.

View from Marina Sands Harbor, Singapore.
View from Marina Sands Harbor, Singapore.

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