CBR11 Bingo: Travel
Like most people I fell head over heels in love with the rich world director Jon M Chu created with last year’s Crazy Rich Asians but I hadn’t gotten around to reading the novel it was based on. In a way I am glad I saw the movie first because it pales in comparison to the source materiel and I would have probably been disappointed. Whenever I read the book after watching the movie I find it a lot easier to enjoy both mediums (which makes the decision to read the sequel, China Rich Girlfriend, a difficult one).
Crazy Rich Asians is the story of Rachel Chu’s crash course into the super rich Chinese families living in Singapore when she joins her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, on a summer vacation to his home country for a friend’s wedding. While Rachel is the main protagonist the novel does a great job of giving all the supporting characters their own back stories and arcs- particularly the women. There is Astrid, Nick’s glamorous cousin, whose marriage is falling apart; and Eleanor, Nick’s mother, who digs into Rachel’s past in an attempt to control and protect her son; and Peik Lin, Astrid’s college friend whose wealthy family lives in Singapore. While Rachel is well developed Nick is your typical Prince Charming and unfortunately his defining character traits are “being super rich” and being “super stupid about presenting his wealth to his girlfriend” but it is a minor quibble in an otherwise fantastic book.
Plus, what can I say, I’d rather read a story with an underdeveloped male character than one with underdeveloped female characters.
“I’m telling you, this so-called ‘prosperity’ is going to be the downfall of Asia. Each new generation becomes lazier than the next. They think they can make overnight fortunes just by flipping properties and getting hot tips in the stock market. Ha! Nothing lasts forever, and when this boom ends, these youngsters won’t know what hit them”
Rachel, an economist, is caught off guard at Nick’s family’s vast fortune and his lack of information leaves her completely unprepared for the wolves of Singapore determined to kick Rachel out of Nick’s life so they can claim him for their own. Again, Nick is a moron. His mother in particular is a difficult to please woman who digs into Rachel’s background before their arrival; she then assaults her son and his girlfriend with her discoveries. Some of the scenarios presented in the novel seemed completely insane but I am not a multi-billionaire in a foreign country so perhaps this is just the way things are for a certain class of people. Either way this is a fun read that caught me off guard with how good it was!
Kwan describes lush islands, fantastical boutiques and an endless array of jewels and clothing; it is no wonder a film adaptation was a must and why it easily checks off my “travel” bingo square.