Crazy Rich Asians is the outrageously funny debut novel about three super-rich, pedigreed Chinese families and the gossip, backbiting, and scheming that occurs when the heir to one of the most massive fortunes in Asia brings home his ABC (American-born Chinese) girlfriend to the wedding of the season.
When Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home, long drives to explore the island, and quality time with the man she might one day marry. What she doesn’t know is that Nick’s family home happens to look like a palace, that she’ll ride in more private planes than cars, and that with one of Asia’s most eligible bachelors on her arm, Rachel might as well have a target on her back. Initiated into a world of dynastic splendor beyond imagination, Rachel meets Astrid, the It Girl of Singapore society; Eddie, whose family practically lives in the pages of the Hong Kong socialite magazines; and Eleanor, Nick’s formidable mother, a woman who has very strong feelings about who her son should–and should not–marry. Uproarious, addictive, and filled with jaw-dropping opulence, Crazy Rich Asians is an insider’s look at the Asian JetSet; a perfect depiction of the clash between old money and new money; between Overseas Chinese and Mainland Chinese; and a fabulous novel about what it means to be young, in love, and gloriously, crazily rich.
I watched the movie before reading the book, so I was expecting the movie only a bit more. The movie, in my opinion, is a romance but it’s also about an American Chinese woman returning to her roots. I didn’t get that from the book.
Crazy Rich Asians the book was much more fragmented than the movie. You saw into the lives of a lot more characters and if possible you saw a lot more wealth. There were numbers constantly being thrown at you, the price of clothing and real estate, the wealth of someone, both current and projected. It was a lot.
There was more insight into the culture of the people and area, but not so much Rachel returning to her roots. It was more these wealthy people do this thing and if you don’t meet this criteria then they will ignore you or treat you this way. Or this person is doing this thing so that the outside world thinks this about them. It was interesting, but also hard to take seriously because everything revolved around money and wealth and appearances to an insane and calculated degree.
Everyone was a lot less empathetic. Nick, who already seemed so delusional when it comes to his family, was even more so. Rachel was a lot more emotional and weak. My favorite scene in the movie wasn’t in the book at all. The entire ending of the book was quite a bit different from the movie and I feel like the movie made it much more approachable for my American sensibilities.
Honestly, I wasn’t a fan of the book, which really disappointed me. I don’t plan on reading the further books, but I’ll watch any further movies. Crazy Rich Asians, the book, was really light on the romance and discovery of self that I loved about the movie.