Sunday, October 27, 2013

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

5 Star

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.

Lydia - 5 Star

Crazy Rich Asians is a fun, fast paced and fascinating read. I learned a lot, I laughed a lot, and I was riveted by the portrayal of the culture. And I got hungry. Often!

The glamour! The food! The decadence! The glutinous amounts of money spent! My head spun around and around during the exploration of this secret world. I felt like a voyeur much of the time, and in addition, I learned a lot about the culture, the intricacies of their relationships, and even new terminology like ABC (American Born Chinese). 

I did find the beginning a little slow with trying to figure out who was who and how all the characters were related, but once I grasped the connections and characters I became thoroughly immersed in this crazy ride! And a crazy ride it was full of nosey, gossip mongering family circles, outrageous family politics, and incredible extravagances. I had a hard time believing everything and was astounded when I read that Kwan was asked by his publisher to tone down the antics and stories.

I did often wonder about Rachel’s naiveté, but the story wouldn’t have been possible without it, and at times I enjoyed her character contrasted against the family. It was Nicolas that aggravated me. He should have told his girlfriend about his family’s wealth and not let Rachel walk into such a crazy scene with scandals and showdowns occurring around every corner. It was like leading a lamb into a den of wolves. How he thought she wouldn’t be eaten alive baffled me. But again, that made the story.

The antics of Nicholas’s family, their friends, and everyone involved fascinated me. Their rude and snobby behavior  -which I found abhorrent much of the time - and the fortunes they have amassed and spend like it’s a nothing was comical at times, shocking at others.

For a purely escapist read that offers a voyeuristic look into another world - and quite a few laughs - pick up Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan today!

Thank you to Random House Canada for our review copy. All opinions are our own.

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