I will never ever get sick of quick read books, fluffy movies, or long drawn out TV soaps about the super-rich. (My Gossip Girl obsession should have tipped y’all off to this one.) I particularly like when there’s an outsider character at the center (there nearly always is.) I love a good makeover montage, even when it’s described in a chapter, rather than being cut together to a Madonna song. (You can ALWAYS play the Madonna song in you MIND friends. David Bowie’s “Fashion” will also serve.)
This all primed me perfectly for Crazy Rich Asians, which deals with the internal social politics of uber-wealthy and aristocratic ex-pat Chinese families living in Singapore. It’s all seen (naturally) through the eyes of Rachel Chu, a 29 year old American Born Chinese (ABC) woman, as her long-term boyfriend, Nick Young brings her home for his best friends wedding.
There are scheming mothers, jealous exes, and a twist about Rachel’s origins at play, plus a set up for sequels galore. (I know there are two more books and I can’t wait to read them.)
Kevin Kwan writes with rapturous and bitchy delight about the social climbing, the designer clothes and exotic locales, and sketches some fun characters in Rachel, Nick and their friends. If everything ties up a little too neatly, that can be forgiven in Romantic Comedy, and hey a movie is coming staring Constance Wu as Rachel. (She will be flawless!) (This movie will make me want to buy so many shoes.) I also appreciate how no corners are cut with the weird blend of Asian cultures at play in Singapore and especially with the combination of language, which Kwan uses footnotes for.
It’s a joy of a book, laugh out loud funny at points, and surprisingly sweet at others. I like learning about cultures I know little about through reading, and this was the perfect example of that.
Next up is Dune Messiah because HEY I HAVE READ LIKE 6 BOOKS SINCE DUNE AND I WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT OK?