Tuesday 26 March 2019

Crazy for Crazy Rich Asians

2018 was one hell of a year. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had their big royal wedding, the Obama portraits were unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery and my favourite Disney star and singer Miley Cyrus married her hunk of a beau Liam Hemsworth. Another huge pop-culture moment that defined 2018 was the theatrical release of Crazy Rich Asians!

I had not read the book, so I wanted to read it prior to seeing the movie because I refuse to let the movie ruin a good book for me. Truth be told, it is rare for a movie to capture the spirit and charm of the book that is based upon. In this case, the movie did not do the book justice, but that is alright because it helped achieve other amazing milestones. The Crazy Rich Asians movie boasted an all-Asian cast, bringing much-needed diversity to Hollywood. Not to mention, this rom-com was an absolute international sensation! 

Singaporean author Kevin Kwan does a marvellous job at creating the lavish world of the rich secretive families of Singapore. The store revolves around Rachel Chu who is supposedly just the average typical Chinese American aka not a crazy rich Asian. She is an intelligent economist and is a professor at NYU. Nicholas Young her love also happens to teach at NYU too and they live together in a tiny apartment. It is pretty weird that they keep their spending modest and that he hides the fact that his family is absurdly wealthy. The book portrays his family to be stupidly rich, so it is so bizarre that he keeps this opulent insane family an absolute secret from Rachel. 

The author has taken a lot of time to develop intricate family trees and yes, you are literally provided with the family trees at the very beginning of the book which I myself referred back to many times! The family dynamics are what really drew me into the story. You too will find yourself flipping back to them as it takes some time to become familiar with all the families and who is married to who and who their kids are etc. The lineages are also important because a lot of the story revolves around one particular family. 

One particular thing that I found myself growing tired of was the constant mentions of brand names. It goes without saying that the families are wealthy beyond imagines, so they obviously own a lot of luxury goods. But beyond the first couple of chapters, the use of luxury names as descriptors for what they are wearing, or buying, or owned really did not add to the story very much. Just became a constant reminder that items crafted by the likes of Gucci, Oscar de la Renta or Alexander McQueen will never be everyday names for me. Needless to say, it got annoying!

Aside from the constant luxury brand name dropping, the book was written extremely well, often using elevated diction. It was a great read and I found myself completely engrossed in it while bussing to school or during my breaks. The intricate family trees brought an added layer of complexity. The best part, I was never able to predict what would happen next! Which made the book all the more interesting and fun! 

As I had mentioned earlier, the movie did not entirely do the book justice. The book has a lot of interwoven storylines which did not translate well onto the big screen. Thankfully my favourite character, the "evil" mother, Eleanor Young was impeccably portrayed! YAY! 

I am currently making my way through the second installment of the trilogy and thus far, it is just as exciting and fun as the first. I will keep you posted on my thoughts when I finish China Rich Girlfriend. 

Hopefully, I did not give away too many spoilers to those who may have not read or seen the movie yet! I highly recommend the read.


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