I really liked Crazy Rich Asians. I’ll still see the movie. I have high hopes. It was a mostly fun look at the immense level of wealth in Singapore, and how these uber-wealthy families live their lives out in the world.
And I had some trouble with the second book, China Rich Girlfriend. All the details that had been amusingly shocking in the first book were now just shocking and a bit disgusting. The sheer waste of money on things like clothes and jewelry and handbags was just overwhelming and perplexing to me. And the attempted murder? No thanks.
But I was willing to give Kevin Kwan the benefit of the doubt for the new book, the last in this crazy trilogy. It did have some moments when I actually felt some sort of empathy for a few of the characters, but for the most part, it just made me feel like I had eaten something bad.
Seriously. This book made me sick.
I couldn’t stand reading about the excess and greed and all-around snobbery. There were a few characters I still hoped would have a happy ending, but there were an even larger number of characters that I felt ill will toward. Eddie Cheng? I wanted to punch him in the face every time he opened his mouth. Nicky’s mother and her bible club? The worst people in the world.
There was an interesting story somewhere underneath all of the excess. I’d like to know more about Singapore during World War II and what happened with the Japanese. I’m curious to know about how the real estate market works in a country like Singapore that has such a small amount of land and such a large number of wealthy people. I want to know more about the islands of the Philippines, and exactly how one goes about purchasing one.
The one positive thing I can definitely say about these books is that I spend more time googling architecture and natural wonders than with any other books. I love reading about parts of the world that I’m unfamiliar with, and Kevin Kwan sure does an excellent job in making me want to travel throughout southeast Asia. He also makes me want to eat. I was googling all sorts of rice dishes and noodles and tropical fruits and teas. He’s the best at making you desperately want to try something you hadn’t heard of five minutes before.
I liked Kwan’s writing style. And I enjoyed about 45% of this crazy ride that he took me on. Yes, I understand that there are actually people in the world like this, and that this is a satirical look at them. I just don’t find them to be all that funny.
STUPID, ANNOYING SPOILER TO FOLLOW
My biggest gripe with this entire book was a throwaway line in the last chapter. After Nicky, Rachel, Colin, Minty, and Kitty (along with a few other friends and cousins) figure out how to save Tyersall Park, suddenly the unbearable and money obsessed Kitty has become a loving, hands-on mother. She turns away from her friends to go and breastfeed her three year old son, which is fine. My annoyance is due to the fact that I don’t think she ever breastfed him a single time for the first 2 1/2 years of his life. Simply deciding that you want to be a mom who nurses doesn’t make the milk magically appear.
That bugged me.