Monday, August 20, 2018

Book Review: Crazy Rich Asians

Title: Crazy Rich Asians 
Author: Kevin Kwan
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Doubleday
Publication year: 2013
Format: Hardcover/ebook
Page Count: 416
Series: Book 1 in CRA series

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Synopsis: The fabulous Nick Young wants to take his ABC (American Born Chinese) girlfriend, Rachel Chu, home to meet his family. Little does Rachel know she is about to be thrust into the world of the rich and famous.

With the upcoming movie hitting theaters soon (I wrote this review before the movie came out), I wasn't sure how I'd feel about this book even though I'd been wanting to read it for awhile and luckily it got picked for book club. Honestly, there wasn't anything I didn't like about this book. It gave the reader a look inside the Asian upper class which I had no idea existed (clearly this shows my naivete about Asian culture). Crazy Rich Asians  also showed the effects of being an outsider in a world filled with money. The story line was at times predictable but it was still really fun. I'm usually not a fan of stories with different character chapters, but I was genuinely interested in all the different storylines and characters. In my opinion, this means that Kevin Kwan did a great job developing each character. Family was obviously a big theme in this book, and I loved how each family was different. It was refreshing to see an upper class that was not white, and no matter how snooty they were I appreciated finally getting a different perspective. 

If you haven't read the book yet, stop reading here as a spoiler lies ahead:

Also, I stand by the fact that I do not agree with what Astrid's husband, Michael did. Whether he felt like what he was doing was helping her, he should've been bold enough to stand up and be honest about how he was feeling. I believe the way he went about the whole situation only hurt Astrid more and that is what I have the problem with. Lying to your wife about an affair because you can't be honest about your feelings is a bitch move. I know Michael wanted to save face and make Astrid look good in the eyes of the family, but he still could've been honest. They could've told the family whatever they wanted, but the emotions that come with thinking your husband is cheating on you are the worst and I felt like it wasn't necessary for Astrid to have to go through that. 

It's obvious that the real MVP of the Astrid storyline is Charlie Wu. He loves Astrid so much that he would put aside his own feelings to see that she is happy in the end. 
Now let's talk about this movie that just hit theaters.

I heard someone say they thought the movie was better than the book, but I have to disagree. I think that if I would've seen the movie without reading the book I would've thought it was really great. I thought the movie was fun and light but I thought the book was even more fun and complex. Besides the fact that some characters were left out and some storylines were changed, the two biggest things that changed were the characterization of Rachel and Astrid standing up to Michael. I feel like the changes were made to fit the "me too" movement we're a part of right now. That is clearly not a bad thing, but it's just not how things played out in the book. The movie gave both Rachel and Astrid bigger balls and I'm still on the fence about how I feel about that. I love to see a strong woman standing up for herself, but I was happy with the way the storylines played out in the book because they left room for the characters to grow since there are two other books, and the movie didn't do that for me. Overall, the movie was fun and a big step in the right direction for Asian representation. And clearly Awkwafina stole the show bringing in a ton of laughable moments. Her character was so great that I didn't even mind that she is nothing like the Peik Lin in the book. I'm excited to see if they make a sequel. 

I'd 100% recommend the book and movie if you haven't seen it yet. If you're a person who can watch a movie before you read a book, I'd suggest going that route. Or if you can seperate the book from the film, then read the book first. 



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