Publication Date: June 30th 2020
Source: Times Reads
Page Count: 315
Blurb from Goodreads:
The iconic author of the bestselling phenomenon Crazy Rich Asians returns with a glittering tale of love and longing as a young woman finds herself torn between two worlds–the WASP establishment of her father’s family and George Zao, a man she is desperately trying to avoid falling in love with.
HERE’S MY REVIEW!
I couldn’t deny that I was so thrilled to receive this gorgeous copy of Sex and Vanity in the mail. Crazy Rich Asians is one of the most celebrated literature for Asian representation, so I was definitely interested in reading Kevin Kwan’s writing and to judge it by myself. Having to know that this new book will also be adapted into a movie, I went through Sex and Vanity like watching a movie in my head. I love the movie Crazy Rich Asians so I could definitely familiarize with the vibes of these ultra wealthy folks.
In the first chapter, we are instantly introduce to Lucie Churchill, the main character of the story who attends a friends’ wedding in Capri. The wonderful visual descriptions of Capri’s landscape made me feel as if I did travel there. The whole reading experience was so immersive that I was definitely looking forward to research on the history of Capri. Capri is definitely a must to visit when you set foot in the Europe.
While on the other hand this is an entertaining read about the shenanigans of the ultra wealthy, it is painful for me to say that the characters were so intolerable to say the least. All of the characters in Sex and Vanity are cliche and two dimensional. From the surface, they all looked great, happy and content with their lives however, when we discover about the essence of each character, they were actually pretentious and superficial. It gave me headache to read about these characters and their shallow problems because it’s definitely not worth my time. I care for deeply researched characters, not just the story. I grew tired of reading about their wealth and status to a point where I had to stop reading and clear my mind. I didn’t even care to google on many things that I haven’t heard before just because. I want out-of-the-box characterization because it makes the story even more meaningful and exciting to read. In other words, reading about rich people is not my cup of tea.
My other complaint is the first half was far too long. I didn’t expect that the wedding chapters would be too long but it took a wrong decision to drag it until half of the book. It made the second half felt so rushed. However, the author did a decent job in explaining about internalized racism that Lucie face from young. Being born a WASP might be difficult for her to adjust and adapt to her parents’ extended family so it is understandable that she always cares for other people’s opinions instead of hers. She is used to people correcting and criticizing her about her looks and needs.
I understand the uproar from my fellow Malaysian reviewers about this fictional character created by Kwan, who is the Sultanah of Penang. I am confused on why he added this royal character into the book and all of the royal monarchs in Asia, why choose this country? I guess he just wanted to add more representation. Not just that, I also rolled my eyes reading about the inaccurate description of Malay lingo. What does “Kami bersedia untuk Ratu” means anyway? It isn’t that hard to ask for sensitivity or beta readers to proofread.
Nonetheless, it is still quite an eye-opening read about how the 1% navigate their lives. Will I watch the movie? Yes! Will I continue reading the series? Probably.
Thank you Times Reads for sending me Sex and Vanity in exchange of an honest review.