When New Yorker Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home and quality time with the man she hopes to marry. But Nick has failed to give his girlfriend a few key details. One, that his childhood home looks like a palace; two, that he grew up riding in more private planes than cars; and three, that he just happens to be the country’s most eligible bachelor.
On Nick’s arm, Rachel may as well have a target on her back the second she steps off the plane, and soon, her relaxed vacation turns into an obstacle course of old money, new money, nosy relatives, and scheming social climbers.
According to Forbes China Rich List there are nearly 400 billionaires in China, 388 in 2015 to be exact. I cannot even grasp that monetary value in my head. What the heck does one do with all that money? I suppose it is to make more money and to make sure it stays within a certain social status group. It is an expected and unsaid rule with the well to do, marry rich or marry up. Many elites follow this rule.
Rachel Chu is an ABC (American Born Chinese) her relationship with Nicholas Young seems to be elevating to a new level. He wants Rachel to meet his family. She doesn’t really know too much about his side of the family, although she has met his cousin Astrid, and they get along fabulously. Meeting a boyfriend’s family is always a nerve wracking event, but Rachel was fairly confident that all would be well. She was looking forward to the vacation and spending a romantic getaway with Nicholas.
Rachel and her mother Kerry, are very close, they talk openly and are a very affectionate family. She hopes the best for her daughter and possibly a future wedding. Nearing thirty, Kerry very much wants Nicholas as a future son-in-law. Kerry thinks about a possible gift to send over to Singapore with her daughter for Nicholas’s mother and father. Perhaps some liquor for his father would be a nice gesture. Kerry also informs her daughter that Macy’s was having a sale at the Estee Lauder counter, and a free sample bag was included with a purchase. I think it was at this point when I started to devour the book. Because, Nicholas’s parents could have probably bought the entire store. They were over-the-top ,and inconceivably rich. Rachel and Kerry had NO idea.
Right before their trip, and unbeknownst to Rachel, Nicholas tells her that his parents have just been told that they have been in a serious relationship for the past year, and he was coming home with said girl. She of course wonders why he has waited so long to tell them about her. His family is not pleased, especially his mother. Before even meeting Rachel, she is labeled a “peasant” and a “gold digger”. Naturally, at least for them, they have Rachel’s background investigated. And the story just gets better from there.
What a richly, detailed book about the differences of classes in China. There is no lack of witticism in this book, in fact it overflows with it. Although the reader may feel sorry for Rachel, and yes, her predicament is completely deplorable, one cannot help but laugh and enjoy the arrogance and lavish opulence of Nicholas’s family. It is no wonder that he kept Rachel a secret. I would like to think that he was more embarrassed about his relative’s stature and their lack of empathy toward the common man. It was also a way for him to mature, without the constant influence of his family. Footnotes abound in this book and I found them very helpful in introducing me to some of the Chinese culture. The author has really outdone himself with this debut.
According to the notes on Amazon, “Crazy Rich Asians,” the international bestseller, is now being adapted as a major motion picture. This is an incredibly delightful five star read, it was crazy good. Up next, is China Rich Girlfriend, the next book in the series. Can’t wait to read it!