Review: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Debut novel by Kevin Kwan. I had read this book a couple years back, but somehow it came up again and I realised I didn't remember much of it, and definitely not the ending, so I had to read it again!

Finished the whole book in two days and loved it.

Rachel and Nick are really well defined characters and I loved their chemistry and relationship. The world we are introduced to is absolutely crazy and unimaginable. You wouldn't dream of such a society even existing. But as truth is stranger than fiction, I suppose it is quite possible that even crazier things happen there. Plus from what I gather, the author himself grew up seeing these situations. His background definitely adds veracity to the situations mentioned in the book.

Also from the very beginning, Eleanor has been introduced as a grey character. Yet I could not bring myself to dislike her. Yes, she is pretentious and ostentatious and probably out of touch with reality, and what she does is pretty bad too. But I just couldn't bring myself to dislike her.

I did dislike Bernard and Eddie and Francesca and so many others, but really if you think about it, they were all their worst selves because they had the opportunity to be. That does show an enormous lack of self control, but what I gather is that sometimes when you can have everything in the world that money can buy, your moral compass may go haywire.

On the other end of the spectrum is Astrid, who is an absolute angel. Araminta's, and indeed, half of Singapore's, unhealthy obsession with her clothes is a tad funny. Astrid is a great example of maintaining your goodness even when you have everything and can get away with anything. As you delve deeper, you begin to see why Astrid is still so down to earth even after all the Paris trip and haute couture extravagances. The way she was brought up was quite different, and that stays with you.

That family has always grown up with a sort of simplicity and that shines through irrespective. So while on the face of it, this book shows us the impossible lifestyles of these 'Crazy Rich Asians', it is also a beautifully written study in how people grow and develop based on their circumstances, and as reluctant as I am to say it, upbringing does seem to matter a lot in how poised you turn out when you grow up. Except Eddie. God only knows what that guy is all about.

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