There was a lot of buzz recently when the movie Crazy Rich Asians came out. It was exciting to see a major Hollywood movie with a completely Asian cast. I saw the movie once it reached DVD and enjoyed it. Some time later I found out it was based on a book (so many are!) so I decided to read that too.
The storyline in both mediums focused on the very, very wealthy of Singapore. Nick, who has been living in New York, brings his American-born Chinese girlfriend Rachel to Singapore for his best friend’s wedding…without warning her that his family is, well, crazy rich. They’re also intensely snobbish, and Rachel is definitely not what they had in mind for their favored son. Meanwhile, Nick’s favorite cousin Astrid, who married outside her social class, is finding her marriage rocked. And meanwhile, the conspicuous consumption is rampant.
I think this pretty well encompasses the movie plot–the book plot had a lot more threads going on. In many ways the movie simplified and focused in–and I think told its particular stories better (though I might feel differently if I’d read the book first). The book really had a different focus. The movie is about Nick and Rachel, with Astrid as a supporting character/cautionary tale. The book is about the entire social class, with a bigger cast of characters who have their own issues and upheavals over the course of the book. Nick, Rachel and Astrid are probably still most prominent, but definitely part of an ensemble cast.