American Born Chinese, Gene Luen Yang


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One Response to “American Born Chinese, Gene Luen Yang”

  1. bachbooks Says:

    This graphic novel weaves together the three stories of the adventures of Monkey King (a famous figure in Chinese folklore), Jin Wang (an American boy born to Chinese immigrants – the title character), and Chin-Kee (who embodies American stereotypes of Chinese people through a sitcom). Each character must face and overcome challenges. The Monkey King struggles to earn the respect of the gods and to achieve divinity. Jin Wang befriends the newly immigrated Wei-Chen-Sun, who supports Jin though his budding (awkward, middle school) love for their classmate Amelia. Chin-Kee comes to America for his yearly visit to his cousin, and embarrasses Danny with his outrageously stereotyped behavior. Eventually the three stories converge and the characters grow in their understanding of their lives and selves.

    In college I took a Chinese history class, and we read a bit of Chinese folklore, so I was familiar with the Monkey character, and I enjoyed reading more about his exploits. The story of Jin Wang’s awkward adolescent crush and subsequent date resonated all too well with my own preteen, teen, and young adult years. I found the story of Chin-Kee disturbing, but I think that was part of its ultimate purpose, using humor to challenge and confront readers with their own stereotypes. This is the first major graphic novel I have read, and I thoroughly enjoyed Yang’s storytelling. American Born Chinese left me eager to read more of Yang’s work as I dig deeper into this genre.

    Rating: 4 stars

    Recommendations: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, The Glass Castle

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