Book Review: China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan

China Rich Girlfriend is the sequel to the hilarious Crazy Rich Asians. And China Rich Girlfriend is just as funny, but I found myself getting irritated with the book.


In Crazy Rich Asians we meet Rachel Chu and Nicholas Young. Rachel and Nicholas are dating and live in the US. Nicholas decides to take Rachel to Singapore to meet his family. Little does Rachel know that she is dating one of the most eligible (and wealthy) bachelors in Asia, and it is quite a shock when she sees how his family lives. China Rich Girlfriend now has Rachel and Nicholas engaged, and Rachel has found her father, and is trying to spend time with him and her newly discovered brother, Carlton. China Rich Girlfriend is set in 2012-2013, takes us all around the world including Shanghai, Venice, Paris, London, Singapore, and Hong Kong, and gives us a peek into the lives of the super-rich (billionaire rich). I first read Crazy Rich Asians several years ago, and there is such a large cast of characters in these books that I wish I had read the books closer together. I couldn’t remember who anyone was, and there were vague memories I had of a really great story line involving one character, Astrid, and it took me about half the book to remember what that plot was and why I cared about it. So, I think that if you read the books closer together you’d get more out of them.

China Rich Girlfriend is absolutely hilarious. There are several scenes that are laugh-out-loud funny, and there is quite the comedy of manners here. But along with the comedic scenes come many, many, MANY name brand references. Like practically every other word mentions some name brand, and it gets really old after awhile. I get it, these characters are rich, but I just kept feeling exhausted by all the brands mentioned. It was also quite annoying to have Rachel be so concerned about money, when she is engaged to the son of one of the wealthiest families in Asia, and she is also newly discovered to have a father that is worth billions as well. It wasn’t endearing, it was just flat out irritating. It is sometimes fun to read about the behaviors/lifestyles of the super-rich, and this book was mostly fun, but also was borderline obnoxious in the over-the-top displays of wealth. Characters are hard to relate to – I just can’t identify with someone grocery shopping and using coupons while simultaneously bidding up to $100 million on some ancient Chinese artwork.

There is also a good deal of language in this one, not as bad as Crazy Rich Asians if I remember correctly, but if bad language bothers you, then you may want to stay clear of these books.

I enjoyed the plot of the book until the last quarter, and then it got weird. Like bizarre … I don’t want to say any spoilers, but I really dislike when in books there is massive buildup, and character/world building, and then when the “main action” happens, it is glossed over in a page or two, but at the beginning we are subjected to entire chapters about things that don’t matter to the main plot.

Both of these books would make a great movie/TV show. I think a television show might work better to properly delve into all of these characters and to hit all of the different plots that are brought out. I do think there is something in the works – lists a movie as being “in development”.

Bottom Line: Hilarious sequel, but the ending falls flat and the characters are difficult to follow unless reading both books close to one another.

You may like to read:

  • The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin – Set in America and England in the 1890s, Cora Cash is a wealthy American heiress who marries an English duke. A fun look into how extravagant some of these heiresses were.
  • Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray – a classic tale of social climbing, with an unforgettable character in Becky Sharp.

And now I have to go read:

            – some Edith Wharton. One of the characters in the book (former porn and soap star Kitty Pong) undergoes tutelage on how to be classy, and she is given an extensive reading list (including all of Jane Austen, Vanity Fair, & Anna Karenina among others). Edith Wharton’s books are recommended, and to be read in this order: The Custom of the Country, The Age of Innocence, The Buccaneers, and The House of Mirth. I’ve never read any Wharton, but have always wanted to.


2 thoughts on “Book Review: China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s