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Book Club: “Crazy Rich Asians,” by Kevin Kwan

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

GHM Rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s Downton Abbey crossed with Meangirls swathed in couture on an exotic cerulean sea that is unzipped just enough to peak into a world we have never seen…unless maybe you are reading this from your 140 million dollar yacht.

Crazy Rich Asians by Houston-transplant, Kevin Kwan, is fun and predictable in all the right ways! Rachel and Nick are professors in New York. When he invites her to travel with him on their summer break to his homeland of Singapore she wonders if this is the type of trip that leads to a march down the aisle. First stop, the unveiling of an extended family that Nick has shrouded in privacy.

Rachel’s world is rocked when she realizes Nick’s family is part of an elite echelon of wealth that even the super wealthy barely know exist. At this point, the novel could have become a rags to riches Cinderella-esque tale but Rachel is not a princess to be saved.

Though born on mainland China she was raised in the U.S. and fully imbued with the American sense of being able to raise yourself up to your highest potential. She knows her worth and refuses to be thought less than anyone else based on the roulette wheel of luck, chance, and birth.

Crazy Rich Asians is everything you want in a beach book. It is well written but not so over the top that you have to take each sentence in slowly to make sure you have not missed a nuance. The characters are full-bodied and complex. Each one we get to know well – their characteristics, motivations, and the small details that make a character into a person. And, the world. Ahhh, perfection!

Kevin Kwan has written Singapore into the book as if it were another character. If there is a tourism bump it will be directly related to these novels (there are two more in the series). I feel like I know the places to go find the best food, the best views, and the best shopping!

And, shopping! The name dropping in this novel made me want to google as I was reading. The mentions of luxury brand on top of luxury brand are copious but completely appropriate to the novel and characters. If they were not comparing how much they spent on each season’s wardrobe it may not come off as authentic.

Everything about this book made me ready to see it translated to the big screen. I can’t wait to see the fashion, the locations, and the very sweet relationship between Rachel and Nick – because that is what it is really about!

5 Things to Know About Kevin Kwan and Crazy Rich Asians

  1. Kevin Kwan’s family tree goes back to the year 946. (Source)
  2. Kwan’s family was one of these old money and power families, but as time had gone by there was only a trickle-down of that wealth. His family moved to Houston, TX when he was 11. (Source)
  3. Despite all the labels and brands mentioned Kwan considers himself a minimalist and avoids wearing logos and labels. But, claims to have too many books! (Source)
  4. He reads The New York Times first thing each morning. (Source)
  5. Kevin Kwan optioned the book for only $1. In return, he was granted a partnership stake which gave him more control on decisions made for the movie. (Source)

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