Crazy Rich Asians was my book club’s latest pick, presumably because the movie just came out in theaters. I’m sure you all know the plot – Rachel Chu is invited by her boyfriend Nick Young to go with him to Singapore for his friend’s wedding. The catch is that she doesn’t know he and his family are crazy rich.
I wanted to love this book, but I thought it was just okay. I think the main reason the book didn’t thrill me was because I had no empathy for any of the characters. Rachel and Nick have practically no backstory and came across as dull and flat. If I had cared more about them and what happened to them, then I probably would have liked the story more.
The book is also filled with so many unlikeable and obnoxious characters. The rich characters were just too over the top and I found them to be insufferable. For instance, there is a character who would regularly spend $200,000 on just 1 dress and whose mother bought her a penthouse apartment because there was a mirror in the bedroom closet that she thought she would like. There is another character that is angry at his family because they don’t have their own airplane when all of his friends do. The majority of the female characters were shallow and only concerned with how rich the guys were and what families they were from. I found almost everyone and their issues to be completely unrelatable.
I’ll admit that I’m not sure if this book is meant to be a satire or not. Were there parts that were supposed to be funny that I missed? Plus, so many fashion references went over my head because I didn’t recognize half of the brand labels. I’m not sure I am the target audience for this book. It just didn’t click with me.
Additionally, I wish someone had told me beforehand that this book has annotations. As a personal preference, I don’t like annotations. They take me out of the story literally when I have to move my eyes to a different part of the page and then back again to figure out where I was in reading before I read the annotation. They also take me out of the story figuratively as they break up the flow of my reading because I have to stop reading the story to read this annotation about the history of a word the author decided to throw into the narration.
I can only hope the movie is better. I haven’t seen it but from what reviews I’ve read of it, it has a lot of fun visuals and great actors that bring a lot to the characters. Perhaps that was what was missing in the book.