Sunday, March 5, 2017

13:120 American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

Three seemingly unrelated tales interwoven until they all wrap up together at the end.  You have the Monkey King who has trained and studied to be accepted into Heaven with the other Gods but is shut out because he is only a monkey. There is Danny, an all-American boy, who is continuously embarrassed every time his cousin Chen-Kee visits from China and behaves as the most horrific characterization of every horrible Chinese stereotype ever.  And then there is Jin Wang, a new student in a new school, trying to fit in with his all-American classmates and horrified when a boy from Taiwan starts at the school and wants to be friends with him because what will that do to his chances with the girl he is falling for?  All three main characters are dealing the fact that they are not happy in their own skin and looking for acceptance from outside is not working out so well for any of them.

My older son read this for his college comics class and recommended it to me.  It has won several awards and it's easy to see why.  The graphic novel format allows it to swing back and forth between the stories easily and conveys the thoughts much easier than I think the written word alone would have allowed for.  The interweaving of the stories was well done although a bit heavy handed at the end on the moral but since it's such an important one, it's easy to forgive.

Page count: 233p/2,979p ytd/277,454p lifteime

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