Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwon (Mommy and Me Book Club)

Thanks for joining my “Mommy and Me” Book Club. I hope you’re enjoying my ongoing “stay in bed and read” series. See my thoughts on the previous book, Their Eyes Were Watching GodWhile you’re reading Crazy Rich Asians, don’t forget to share these picture books with your children that relate in theme!

Title:  Crazy Rich Asians (Movie Tie-In Edition)

Author:  Kevin Kwon

Page No.:  544 pages

Publisher:  Anchor

Price: $10.33 (paperback)

Genres:  fiction; Asian American literature, contemporary, romance, women’s fiction – “chick lit”

Summary:

Crazy Rich Asians is the outrageously funny debut novel about three super-rich, pedigreed Chinese families and the gossip, backbiting, and scheming that occurs when the heir to one of the most massive fortunes in Asia brings home his ABC (American-born Chinese) girlfriend to the wedding of the season.

When Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home, long drives to explore the island, and quality time with the man she might one day marry. What she doesn’t know is that Nick’s family home happens to look like a palace, that she’ll ride in more private planes than cars, and that with one of Asia’s most eligible bachelors on her arm, Rachel might as well have a target on her back.

Initiated into a world of dynastic splendor beyond imagination, Rachel meets Astrid, the It Girl of Singapore society; Eddie, whose family practically lives in the pages of the Hong Kong socialite magazines; and Eleanor, Nick’s formidable mother, a woman who has very strong feelings about who her son should–and should not–marry. Uproarious, addictive, and filled with jaw-dropping opulence, Crazy Rich Asians is an insider’s look at the Asian JetSet; a perfect depiction of the clash between old money and new money; between Overseas Chinese and Mainland Chinese; and a fabulous novel about what it means to be young, in love, and gloriously, crazily rich.. (From Goodreads)

I think Kirkus Reviews said it best:  “Jane Austen, or maybe Edith Wharton, goes to Singapore, turning in this lively, entertaining novel of manners.”

Parenting Topics:

Without giving anything away (hopefully)…

  • Abandonment of Child(ren)
  • Adolescence/Puberty/Sexual Maturity
  • Asian Parents
  • Childcare – Hired Help
  • Dating/Marriage
  • Education/Planning Child(ren)’s Future
  • Extended Family
  • Grandparents and Grandchildren
  • Growing Up/Coming of Age
  • In-Laws
  • Milestones/Rite(s) of Passage
  • Mothers and Daughters
  • Mothers and Sons
  • Moving Away/Long Distance Relationships
  • Only Children
  • Parenting Styles – “Helicopter Parents”
  • Single Parents

Themes:

With a parenting focus…

(Parenting) Crises

Keep calm and carry on.

“Doing nothing can sometimes be the most effective form of action” (Kwon 2.13.276).

“Remember, grace under pressure” (Kwon 1.15.125).

Gossipers/Mom-Dad Shamers

Ignore the idle chatter of “the whispering gallery” (Kwon 1.15.125).

“The [mom/dad] tongues have been wagging”, but don’t pay them any mind.

…That’s just their chatter (my husband’s Grandma Audrey).

Having a Family

“Remember, every treasure comes with a price” (Kwon 2.16.307).

Self-Love

“Just being yourself is quite enough” (Kwon 2.6.216).

Quotable Quotes:

On Asian Parents

“‘Twenty Ways You Can Tell You Have Asian Parents.’ Number one on the list: Your parents never, ever call you ‘just to say hello.'”

On Class and Being “Classy”

“Just because some people actually work for their money doesn’t mean they are beneath you.”

On Cleaning Your Plate

“Aiyoooooh, finish everything on your plate, girls! Don’t you know there are children starving in America?”

On Greatness

“Wye Mun, as usual, had steered him toward the stories about money, and he had missed the chance to tell them the real story, about a man whose greatness had nothing to do with wealth or power.”

On Hypoglycemia

“Everyone is more relaxed at lunchtime.”

On Marriage (According to Eleanor Sung Young…)

“Marriage was purely a matter of timing, and whenever a man was finally done sowing his wild oats and ready to settle down, whichever girl happened to be there at the time would be the right one.”

On Persistence

“He would never give up trying. He would take an impossible situation and make everything possible.”

On Wealth

“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.”

On Wearing Green Chiffon

“NEVER, EVER wear green chiffon unless you want to look like bok choy that got gang-raped.”

On the Western World

“Why do we Chinese never learn? Every time we get mixed up with the West, everything falls apart.”

Worth Staying Up Late For (after the kids have gone to bed?): 

  • Yes, Stay Up Late!
  • Maybe, But See What’s on TV First.
  • No, Go to Bed!

If you wish to escape your mom/dad life, this amusing and voyeuristic book will allow you to gawk at the glamorous yet shallow world of crazy rich Asians and peer at the colorful cast of characters – most you’ll forget – except maybe haute couture wearing mama, Astrid Leong, and dreamy – dripping with money – college professor, Nick Young, who have depth. The female protagonist, Rachel Chou, (American on the inside, Chinese on the outside) is likable, but her naiveté can be annoying.

My favorite section of the book? A blue jay zips into Nick Young’s best friend’s (Colin Khoo’s) living room and pecks its way into the reader’s heart. This tenacious and tiny bird is attracted to the bright dots on a rather large Damien Hirst painting hanging on the wall. The blue jay never keeps trying to get through the bulletproof glass wall to the painting. He persistently pecks, every morning for ten minutes, at the glass wall. Colin challenges his lovesick best friend, Nick, to be the blue jay for Rachel:  “[The bird] would take an impossible situation and make everything possible” (Kwon 3.16.489).

As an exotic escapist novel, this book would make a great read on a beach vacation or while on a trip to a big, fashionable city. Don’t forget to wear super-expensive (or in my case super-expensive-looking) sunglasses while you read outside.

Have you and your child starting playing “wedding” yet? Do you have expectations for your child’s future bride or groom? Maybe you’ve unknowingly placed a person in the social universe of your mind”? (Kwon 1.7.57)

What kind of mother-in-law or father-in-law do you hope to be?

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