Review: American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

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American Born Chinese consists of three tandem narratives. A second generation immigrant and the only Chinese-American student at his new school in a predominantly white area, Jin Wang just wants to be a typical American boy. The immortal Monkey King is a proud kung fu master who is trying to become more than just a monkey. And all-American Danny is embarrassed by his Chinese cousin Chin-Kee, who puts every Chinese stereotype into loud, off-putting action.

As I read along, I wondered what, if anything, these storylines had to do with each other. Were they merely different perspectives on common themes, since all three addressed issues such as racism and intolerance? When the connections between these three narratives were revealed: wow! I was stunned. An entirely new and profound layer of understanding opened up for me.

I loved the artwork and the message of this one. Though aimed at grades 7 and up, it’s a great selection for adults as well. It’s an incredibly fast read, so it would be a nice pick for a read-a-thon.