Movie Mondays: On the occasional Monday, I will review a book series or novel that has been made into a movie. I will then answer the question that everyone asks: which is better, the movie or the book? Here is this edition’s offering:
Book Cover | Movie Poster
Book: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan (2013) | Movie: Crazy Rich Asians (2018)
Which did I read/see first? the MOVIE
Series: Crazy Rich Asians
Author: Kevin Kwan
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Drama, Chick Lit
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook
I remember seeing this book everywhere when it first came out but I staunchly avoided it. The hype around it was definitely daunting but after reading the synopsis, it didn’t sound like something I would enjoy at the time. But thanks to the movie, I was curious to know more about the source material and so I put my name on the very long audiobook waitlist.
After finishing this book, I can confidently say that my initial assessment was right. While I enjoyed this book for what it was, I wasn’t overly impressed by it either.
Perhaps part of my lacklustre sentiments come from the audiobook version itself. When you listen to audiobooks, you don’t have the convenience of skimming over overly descriptive paragraphs. Well, you can, but you worry that you’ll skip something important. So I did get a little lost in the descriptions of the finer things in life at times.
I also don’t think that it helps that there really isn’t a plot. I mean, things are going on but it’s a very character driven story. You are basically following various characters around as they lead these extravagant lives given current events (ie Colin’s Wedding). And sure, this is one eccentric cast of characters so they are wholly entertaining; but I also found some of them weren’t overly likeable either.
This book is literally reading a soap opera brought to life. It’s entertaining for sure, even if parts dragged at times.
Series Review: Full series review here!
Were My Expectations Met?
For the month of August, it seemed like you couldn’t escape this movie…and I totally got why when I watched it later in September.
This movie was just a really great romantic comedy–but with more layers than your traditional rom-com. I really liked how this movie touched on class and race but also on family and honesty. I think everyone can relate to these characters in one way or another. I felt every range of emotions and had such a blast watching it that I immediately wanted more when we left the theatre. (Which was good because my audiobook hold literally came in just before I watched the movie!)
How Close is it to the Book?
I found the two to be very different. The movie–obviously–condenses a lot of the key scenes in the book together so you still get those memorable moments.
But the movie also shifts the focus of the story as well. I feel like the movie is Rachel’s story about fitting in with Nick’s family whereas the book never felt like that to me, probably because we focus on other characters equally throughout. That’s not the case in the movie where certain characters have been removed entirely and their stories from the book have been condensed or altogether ignored. Perhaps it is because of this adaptation that I found the characters to be much more grounded and likeable in the movie.
The movie seemed to have a larger focus on what the Asian (specifically the Chinese) identity is whereas the book focused more on the extravagant lives of the rich and elite (more “class” based).
Did I Like the Cast?
I thought the cast was perfect! I couldn’t picture anyone else but Ronny Chieng playing Eddie. Awkwafina stole the show for me (her scenes with Ken Jeong were priceless!) as Peik Lin. I just thought everyone did a fabulous job bringing this entertaining characters to life!
My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:
I’m DYING for a sequel! I can’t wait to see what is in store next for this group of characters!
I thought the movie did a great job bringing the title of the book to life. You’ve got eccentrically entertaining characters and a stronger linear plot to follow so it is more engaging than the novel counterpart.
Do you agree? Leave a comment below!
Synopsis for Crazy Rich Asians (from Goodreads):
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.