Book Review of the Crazy Rich Asians Trilogy

Book Review of the Crazy Rich Asians Trilogy

Title: Crazy Rich Asians (Book 1), China Rich Girlfriend (Book 2), Rich People Problems (Book 3)

Author: Kevin Kwan

Genres: rom com, adventure, ironic satire

Rating: 5 stars


Drop everything and read is making the comeback of a lifetime for the exquisite yet erratic saga of Stanford-educated ABC (but not really) Rachel Chu and richer than God, preppy Singaporean Nicholas Young. A no-nonsense economics professor raised by a Chinese single mother, Rachel is practical to the core. After a slew of egregious encounters with ABC boys (a chuppie, Taiwanese frat boy, and misogynistic software consultant to name a few) Rachel has sworn off Asian men. But Nicholas Young, with his stack of history books and rumpled Robert Redford-era cardigans and oh-so delightful Klaus Mikaelson-esque accent has swept her off her French-manicured feet. Drawn to the Nick’s allure, Rachel tumbles into the world of his rather well-off family. This description is the understatement of the century; Nick’s grandmother is in cahoots with the King of Thailand, for context. The besotted pair must survive the scrutiny of the supposed Singaporean superiority during Nick’s childhood best friend’s wedding, without succumbing to the crazy, of course. 

My Opinion:

The Crazy Rich Asian trilogy was stunning. I was enamored by the way Kwan wove a multilayered intergenerational drama together all over the span of just three books. The style, the descriptions, the depth of the characters and the complex vocabulary are aspects of the book that I will never forget. It felt as if I was reading a modern version of Great Gatsby without the inherent toxicity between Daisy and Gatsby. 

 And my favorite part of the entire series is the humor. The laughing till your lungs pop, knee-slapping type of humor. And it wasn’t the basic dad jokes either. Kevin Kwan interplays his witty, sardonic voice with the debonair, luxurious lifestyle of the Singaporean one percent to illustrate the absolute litany of comedy present within such an exclusive society. From the jabs at the shopping overhauls to the pokes of fun at the scheming aunties to the good-natured leering at the ownership of an island chain, Kevin Kwan seamlessly integrates his clever conjecture with the cutthroat culture of the Youngs, Shangs, and T’siens.  

One of the most unique aspects of the book is the decentralization of romantic love. While it was the driving force of the novel, the polarizing act that gravitated Nick and Rachel’s vastly dissimilar worlds to each other, Crazy Rich Asians was also peppered with interconnected plotlines of family, family friends, friends, frenemies, and just plain enemies. Its romance is not the lusty, on-the-nose kind, it is the fresh, jaunty, day-at-the-carnival kind. The love between Nick and Rachel is at the heart of the book, but it does not diminish the development and depth of the other characters in any way. Kwan does an excellent job of creating dimension for every seemingly irrelevant cousin and soap opera starlet (I’m looking at you, Oliver and Kitty), never limiting the spotlight to the main protagonists.

So if you ever find yourself in need of a light-hearted pick me up, are craving an intro to Singaporean financial royalty, or are fascinated with millennials, Nick and Rachel can give you some help. A crazy lot of it.