Gene Luen Yang
blends three stories (that of the famous chinese Monkey god from
Journey to the West; the story of Jin Wang, an American boy born of
Chinese immigrants; and Chin-Kee, a walking stereotype) into one
humorous and thought-provoking story told in graphic novel form that
reads like a self-effacing diary. His characters are funny and
charming, and the three separate threads combine at the end to make
them something greater than the sum of their parts.
American Born Chinese
is easily a one-sitting read, though much more time may be spent poring
over the illustrations (which have a Bazooka Joe lightness to them),
which capture the moods perfectly.
Despite mild and rare cursing, this book can easily be shared with younger readers.
Yang manages to deal with serious subjects with a light hand,
respecting them without getting bogged down in didacticism or the
pointing of fingers. His writing is fun, witty and playful, and his
Seems strange at first, but wow what a cool ending!
Reader reviewed by Meg
When I first started reading this book, I was like "Huh? What do these story lines have to do with each other. Why would anyone want to represent asian americans this way?" But then I got to the end and man was it cool how the author wrapped the three storylines together and the ending was totally like, "asian americans, rah rah rah!" Made me proud.
This book became a groundbreaker for graphic novels by winning the 2007 Printz Award, the highest award given to young adult literature. What do a mythical monkey king, a Chinese boy, and a white boy have in common? More than you think!
Jin Wang moves from his almost completely Asian neighborhood to a white suburb. The monkey king (a famous Chinese legend) deals with his arrogance and feelings of superiority, only to be taught humility. Danny, a white boy, must deal with annual visits from his super-Chinese cousin Chin-Kee, who always manages to ruin Dannys life just enough that he is forced to transfer schools at the end of every year.
Each of their tales is touchingly real and raw with truth, and come together in a somewhat confusing ending. Asians and non-Asians alike will appreciate the myth, mystery, and reality that appear in AMERICAN BORN CHINESE. I highly recommend this novel.