“Crazy Rich Asians” the book, is far more complex than the movie. From the incorporation of Singaporean vernacular to the addition of layers of rich history for nearly all the important families within, the book feels more organic than its blockbuster counterpart. This gives the audience far more time to connect with Rachel and fall in love with the writing style, but it also poses problems for engaging the casual reader.
The book boasts an impressive cast of characters, but Kwan is sloppy in introducing them. The first page of the book is quite intimidating: a family tree including 50 members of three interconnected families and a blurb accompanying each. There is not enough time to get to know all the characters well enough, so it’s safe to say Kwan should have stuck to a more limited cast. However, the characters the audience does get to know are rich and deep, somewhat balancing out the shallow side characters.
This book pulls the audience in with its originality, humor and the absurd amount of wealth strewn across the pages. While it may be easy to get lost amongst the pages of history or names, Kwan manages to bring the readers back to the grounded Rachel who is going through the same experience as the readers — being engulfed in a world dominated by luxury and status. Through Rachel’s eyes, the story is filtered to an accessible level, allowing the reader to enjoy the world without drowning in it.
If you are looking for quick entertainment, you’d be better off watching the movie. But for those who want to enjoy an escape from the world with an all-encompassing novel, this is the book for you.