Crazy Rich Asians (2013) by Kevin Kwan

I did not finish reading this book because about 20% into it, I could no longer stand reading paragraphs and paragraphs about the different expensive fashionable items the various characters own. For me, trying to read this book was like trying to read Lord of the Rings except instead of hearing about past kings and kingdoms, I was hearing about random fashion, designers, and material objects without Tolkein’s literary skill.

The whole experience left a bad taste in my mouth because the characters were so uninteresting. Sure they are different kinds of rich and are given different goals. But good lord! The constant exposition about who they are and why they matter is so boring to sit through. Perhaps someone who is invested in this high class life might find this a fascinating read, but as someone who was expecting a rom-com similar to the film, this felt like reading a compilation of page 3 articles. I kept pushing through because I wanted to get to the point where the protagonist, whose name I forget, meets the family. But by then I had sat through so many expositions about different characters and their backgrounds that I gave up and decided my time was better spent on a different book.

It’s not so much that a story can’t have a large cast or intricate interwoven relationships, it’s just that as an audience member, I need a reason to care, a hook so to speak. The book gave me no hook. Not only were the characters not likeable, they were uninteresting.

Furthermore, I personally do not want any insight into the lives of the filthy rich, it lacks any substance or value. So if you’re gonna write about them, ground them somehow. Which at least the film adaptation does. It instantly grounds the protagonist and so we experience the world through her eyes and can relate to her frustrations. In the book, this anchor is non-existent for so long that I was forced to take my ship back to shore. Would not recommend.

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