Study Guide

Eleanor's Friends in Crazy Rich Asians

By Kevin Kwan

Eleanor's Friends

Eleanor Young, the only member of the Shang/Young/T'sien team who "socializes outside the family," has assembled a crew of women around her with social aspirations like she has (3.2.7). Eleanor sits at the top of her personal social pyramid with Carol Tai, Lorena Lim, Daisy Foo, and Nadine Shaw (Mrs. Shaw will be dealt with separately).

What these women have in common is their social aspirations and their "problematic," over-Westernized children. When we first meet them, we get an indication of their accomplishments: Carol married Dato' Tai Toh Lui; Daisy married "rubber magnate Q. T. Foo," and Lorena married "Lawrence Lim (of the L'Orient Jewelry Lims)" (1.2.5 and 1.2.21).

All the women lament their children are some kind of disappointment or that "children these days don't know how to behave" (1.13.38). Daisy's "too Westernized" kids require appointments in advance to see her grandkids and walk around with security details. Lorena's "good-for-nothing daughter Tiffany" failed to attract Nick Young.

And Carol is responsible for Bernard Tai (more on him here). See her strong parenting skills: "I gave up on trying to get Bernard to listen to me long ago. His father lets him get away with everything. What to do? His father just pays and pays, while I just pray and pray" (1.13.43).

So we have a crew of woman giving advice to each other about their children when none of them would say they feel successful in raising their children. This helps us understand why Eleanor so easily slips down the crazy lane to hiring private investigators and flying to Shenzhen to get "valuable ammunition" on Rachel (1.13.64).