Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Crazy Rich Asians Trilogy by Kevin Kwan

I had nothing else to read so I decided to dig into this trilogy.  While it is light and at times funny, the books are not as easy to breeze through as I expected.  First, they are longer and denser than most rom coms.  Second, there are just so many characters to keep straight!  The first and third books have a family tree at the beginning, but not all of the characters are family members so it's harder to keep track of them.  I found it most frustrating in the first book - then I figured out it doesn't really matter who some of the characters are.  For example, Nick's mother, Eleanor has a whole host of friends and it's not really that important to keep track of them.

There are several key players - Nick, a Singapore heir to his family's huge fortune, and his girlfriend, Rachel, who was brought to the US from China by her single mother when she was an infant, are the central couple.  In the first book Nick brings Rachel to Singapore to meet his family - unfortunately he doesn't prepare her at all for the family's extreme wealth and, more importantly, their expectations for him (which do not include marrying a "nobody").

Nick's parents and his three cousins, Alastair, Astrid and Eddie also have key storylines - all of which carry through to the subsequent books.  While Alastair and Astrid are somewhat spoiled, at heart they were likeable.  Eddie was awful - so much so that perhaps the author took his caricature to an extreme.

The other unfortunate factor is that I liked the third book the best.  But you really couldn't understand it well if you didn't make your way through the first two.  So it's a package deal to get to the best one.

I enjoyed these books, but they aren't great literature and they probably take more effort than stories of these nature really warrant.  But there were some very funny lines - my favourite is when Eleanor is asking Nick very personal questions and he objects to the intrusion - she says "Why are you being shy, I watched your nanny change your diapers!"

If you have the time and the interest these books are okay, but it's easier to just watch the movie.

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