I went to a dinner party on Saturday where there was a Korean woman as a guest. I really wanted to ask her about this book and the people profiled within, but it felt vaguely racist and I let the opportunity slip. That about sums up my level of comfort with this book, Crazy Rich Asians. Just like a Chris Rock joke, I’m not sure I’m allowed to laugh at it, but it really was secretly enjoyable.
I have been on a fiction book kick over the last six weeks now that I have a break in yoga textbook reading. As an added bonus, audiobooks have proven to be a great companion for painting projects. But each book I have read has frustrated me further. I can write a better story than this! One book (We Bought a Zoo – the novel is completely different from the movie) repeats itself and tells the story differently along the way (at one point his wife gets cancer within the last two years… in another part, she got cancer in college, at least 10 years ago). In another book, their fear of using actual naughty words prompted them to use phrases like “the roommate in his pants”. Bah.
But this book by Kevin Kwan… This book, I could not do. If for nothing else, I believe Mr. Kwan is speaking from experience as he wrote this novel about Singapore’s upper, upper crust. But even beyond that, he uses big words, bigger descriptions, and biggest story lines. The story captivates the readers as he describes the wardrobes and homes of the super, super rich. He keeps just enough side characters interesting that we don’t get bored with the main ones.
For someone who doesn’t know much about Asian culture, this book was fascinating. Do these (types of) people really exist? Just once I would like to meet someone who could buy a $200,000 dress, let alone a closet of them every season. It’s like The Joy Luck Club met Gossip Girl and had a baby in a hardback form.
If you’re looking for an easy summer read with some substance, look no further. This may just be my favorite book of the summer.
What are you reading this summer?