Book Review: Crazy Rich Asians

Crazy Rich AsiansCrazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
Publisher: Doubleday
Release Date: June 11, 2013
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Publisher’s Description:

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.

This was one of the most fun books I’ve read in a long time. It’s a wonderful comedy of manners about of segment of Asian society that is so opulent, it’s almost unbelievable. However, after a perusing a few reviews written by people who have lived in this part of the world, it appears that it is actually pretty accurate. All of the societal rules that must be obeyed to avoid shaming oneself and one’s family reminded me very much of a Victorian novel, which I love.

As a former CPA myself, I must share my favorite quote:

The only acceptable majors were medicine and law (unless you were truly dumb, in which case you settled for accounting).

Even though it was satirical and funny, it was compelling too. I was up way past my bedtime several nights in a row, unable to stop reading. At almost 400 pages, it’s a hefty read but even so, when I was finished, I wanted more. I would love it if Mr. Kwan wrote a sequel or some kind of spin-off featuring some of the same characters.

The author includes dryly funny footnotes explaining certain expressions or traditions that really added to my enjoyment and understanding of the story. I thought it was a creative touch. Crazy Rich Asians is escapism at its finest.

(I received this book courtesy of Amazon Vine.)