Have you ever traveled to a place that whenever you see it in a movie or TV show that you cannot help but travel back in time though your memories? The Singapore I grew up visiting was a playground of adventure. I had easily hopped on the MRT to see every notable sight that I could think of. I visited the giant Merelion. Ventured through the botanical gardens that resembled a jungle of florals and so much more. By the time I left, I had become an island expert for tourist. So when Crazy Rich Asians came out in theaters, I was excited to see a movie based on the wonderland that I explored as a child. I was not disappointed.
Crazy Rich Asians took the world the storm as a motion picture but what about the book series that started all of this fame? Could the book be better than the movie? Let’s see!
The first thing I usually fall in love with in a story is their characters, which I think makes it the most important category to judge book vs. movie on. The book way out scored the movie in the category of character development. For example, we see the emotional complexities that Nick experiences by returning home. He is still tied to his family’s lifestyle and history but craving a normal lifestyle with Rachel. Even Nick’s friend, Charlie Wu, experiences episodes of depression and anxiety that makes him more human than the one sided figure we see in the movie version. What pushes the book as the winner in this category is the cultural differences between the rich Asians from Singapore vs. Rachel’s American upbringing is very palpable in the book, which becomes important to the character development. The movie hits the differences on the head but is missing the subtly differences that push Rachel and Nick through the story.
The second category is the plot. The book has way more twist and turns that the movies either chooses to not cover or simply glances over without the necessary pause that should have been given. The book series is comprised of 3 books (Crazy Rich Asians, China Rich Girlfriend, Rich People Problems) and the movie truly is the summary of the smashed up version of all the books combined.
The third category is the setting. Setting gives context to the actions that occur during the plot. The movie is the clear winner in this category, because an actual picture is hard to beat.
The fourth category is the point of view, which the book is the winner. This is due to the changing point of views that allows you to explore the complexity of each situation that each character experiences. The book switches to Nick’s point of view while he interacts with his family and friends without Rachel there. The author even takes time to give Eleanor a moment in the sunshine so we can see the motivation behind her actions and the future she has pictured for the family’s legacy. This may have helped Eleanor be more appealing to audiences vs. this stubborn mother without valid reasoning that a normal person could relate to.
The final category that I think matters when it comes to a fictional story is the entertainment value. This category takes in the categories above and the pleasure one experiences while diving into the story. I will keep it simple and say the book won.
As you can see by the graphic and reasoning above, Crazy Rich Asians the book was a hit in a majority of the categories. So I highly suggest, if you loved the movie like I did or haven’t discovered this series yet then curl up with Crazy Rich Asians before choosing which was better the book or the movie.