By Hannah Li
Crazy Rich Asians is praised as a diverse movie with an all-Asian cast, and made $34 million in the first week alone in box office sales. But as true readers will want to know, how similar is it to the book? (Spoiler alert!)
First is our main protagonist, Rachel Chu. In the book Rachel is an economics professor at NYU; however, in the movie, she is a game theory professor and is first shown winning a game of poker against her TA. (Her being a game theory professor will be important later in the movie, and will be discussed later in this article.)
Next, our love interest: Nicholas Young. In the movie version, everyone in Singapore has heard of the Young family, allowing Rachel’s best friend Peik Lin to help Rachel prepare for her first meeting with Nick’s family. In the book; however, the Young’s are a secretive family, and when Michael Teo does an interview in the second book that exposes Astrid Leong (Nick’s cousin and Michael’s then wife) to the public eye, Astrid’s father buys every single copy of the magazine and retracts them from shelves to avoid public exposure.
Speaking of Astrid and Michael, the movie basically did away with the plot of their relationship. In the movie, Michael is cheating on Astrid, and they divorce (which isn’t seen on screen, but can be assumed). In the book, Michael fake-cheated on Astrid because he felt as if he wasn’t enough for her. Their relationship stays intact until the second book, when Michael’s personality undergoes a 180.
On the subject of Peik Lin, she gets a much bigger role in the movie than she did in the book. Originally, she drove Rachel to Tyersall Park and then left, but in the movie version, she gets invited to stay.
Perhaps the biggest difference if Nick’s mother, Eleanor Young. In the book, she is portrayed as pure evil, and stays that way until about chapter ten of book two. In the movie; however, she is portrayed as misunderstood, and even ends up giving Nick her wedding ring so he can give it to Rachel when he proposes. (This is, of course, after Rachel, the brilliant game theory professor, lets Eleanor win a game of mahjong, showing that she values family above all else.)
In conclusion, while the movie replaces some events with others, or takes out some events entirely, it can’t be denied that the movie is wonderfully comedic and is a brilliant story of love overcoming boundaries. Kevin Kwan published the book in 2013, its sequel China Rich Girlfriend in 2015, and the finale Rich People Problems in 2017. We can’t wait for the sequel!