Wednesday, February 18, 2015

american born chinese

american born chinese
gene luen yang
first second
published 2006

All Jin Wang wants is to fit in.  When his family moves to a new neighborhood, he suddenly finds that he's the only Chinese American student at his school.  Jocks and bullies pick on him constantly, and he has hardly any friends.  Then, to make matters worse, he falls in love with an all-American girl...

Born to rule over all the monkeys in the world, the story of the Monkey King is one of the oldest and greatest Chinese fables.  Adored by his subjects, master of the arts of kung-fu, he is the most powerful monkey on earth.  But the Monkey King doesn't want to be a monkey.  He wants to be hailed as a god...

Chin-Kee is the ultimate negative Chinese stereotype, and he's ruining his cousin Danny's life.  Danny's a popular kid at school, but every year Chin-Kee comes to visit, and every year Danny has to transfer to a new school to escape the shame.  This year, though, things quickly go from bad to worse...

Gene Luen Yang illustrates well what it means to be different and wanting badly to fit in.  While his Jin Wang's story is about being the lone Chinese-American at his school you could easily insert any sort of difference and any kid could relate.  I remember not wanting to identify with being Japanese at all when I was younger.  Of course, the older I got the more I wanted to connect with my ethnicity, but growing up and being in the minority I wanted to be anything but different.

As with his other work I've read his writing is wonderful and his art is superb.  The story jumps from one character to the next, but in the end everything begins to meld together and form one whole story.  I can't find anything to complain about!

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