American Born Chinese

American Born Chinese

4.1 74
by Gene Luen Yang
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Three very different characters, one simple goal: to fit in.

 See more details below

Overview

Three very different characters, one simple goal: to fit in.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
06/01/2014
Jin Wang is the only Asian American boy in his new school; Danny is a young man deeply embarrassed by his visiting Chinese cousin, portrayed deliberately by the author as an ethnic cliché; and the Monkey King, a figure from Chinese lore, is desperate to be treated like a god. This humorous, insightful story relates how three characters overcome hurdles to find satisfaction within themselves. A wonderful take on the coming-of-age genre and the challenges of assimilation. (LJ 3/15/07)
Publishers Weekly
As alienated kids go, Jin Wang is fairly run-of-the-mill: he eats lunch by himself in a corner of the schoolyard, gets picked on by bullies and jocks and develops a sweat-inducing crush on a pretty classmate. And, oh, yes, his parents are from Taiwan. This much-anticipated, affecting story about growing up different is more than just the story of a Chinese-American childhood; it's a fable for every kid born into a body and a life they wished they could escape. The fable is filtered through some very specific cultural icons: the much-beloved Monkey King, a figure familiar to Chinese kids the world over, and a buck-toothed amalgamation of racist stereotypes named Chin-Kee. Jin's hopes and humiliations might be mirrored in Chin-Kee's destructive glee or the Monkey King's struggle to come to terms with himself, but each character's expressions and actions are always perfectly familiar. True to its origin as a Web comic, this story's clear, concise lines and expert coloring are deceptively simple yet expressive. Even when Yang slips in an occasional Chinese ideogram or myth, the sentiments he's depicting need no translation. Yang accomplishes the remarkable feat of practicing what he preaches with this book: accept who you are and you'll already have reached out to others. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
KLIATT - George Galuschak
American Born Chinese is a graphic novel that tells the story of two protagonists. The Monkey King is a figure from Chinese folklore. Angry at not being admitted to a Heavenly Dinner Party because he isn't wearing shoes, the Monkey King masters the twelve disciplines of Kung Fu and sets about proving that he is a god to his fellow deities. He does this by beating up anyone who calls him a monkey. Danny, an Asian boy drawn with white features, wants to be like the rest of the kids in his high school. Unfortunately, the arrival of his cousin from China, Chin-Kee, dashes his hopes. Chin-Kee is every cliche about Chinese people (pronounce his name phonetically) rolled into one fun-filled package. Chin-Kee is so full of fun that a laugh track follows him around, but Danny, who has transferred out of two high schools already because of Chin-Kee's past antics, isn't laughing. There is also a third storyline featuring Jin Wang (Danny in junior high) and his best friend, Wei-Chen Sun. This is one of the best graphic novels I've read this year. It reminds me of Derek Kirk Kim's excellent Same Difference & Other Stories, which is also worth purchasing. The three storylines are interrelated, and all have the same theme: accept who you are. Be warned that the character of Chin-Kee will arouse strong feelings: some may find him offensive while others may think he's funny. American Born Chinese contains racial stereotypes, comic book violence, and one urinating monkey (from the back). It is highly recommended for all graphic novel collections.
VOYA - Sherrie Williams
Three seemingly unrelated stories blend into a memorable tale of growing up Chinese American. The book begins with the ancient fable of the Monkey King, the proud leader of the monkeys. He is punished for entering the god's dinner party by being buried under a mountain for five hundred years. Second is the story of Jin Wang, the son of immigrants struggling to retain his Chinese identity while longing to be more Americanized. The final story is that of Cousin Chin-Kee, an amalgamation of the worst Chinese stereotypes. Chin-Kee yearly visits his all-American cousin Danny, causing so much embarrassment that Danny must change schools. The final chapter unifies the three tales into one version of what it means to be American-born Chinese. This graphic novel first appeared as a long running Web comic on the Moderntales website, where it enjoyed an enthusiastic following. The artwork is clean and distinctive, with varying panel styles and inking that is visually appealing. The Cousin Chin-Kee story line is extremely hyperbolic and at times difficult to read, as it embraces the most extreme negative Chinese stereotypes, but it displays some of the difficulties in perception faced by young Chinese Americans. This graphic novel could be especially cathartic for teens and adults of Asian descent, but people of any ethnicity would find themselves reflected in the universal themes of self-acceptance, peer pressure, and racial tensions. This book is recommended for libraries serving teens and adults, particularly those enjoying graphic novels.
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-Graphic novels that focus on nonwhite characters are exceedingly rare in American comics. Enter American Born Chinese, a well-crafted work that aptly explores issues of self-image, cultural identity, transformation, and self-acceptance. In a series of three linked tales, the central characters are introduced: Jin Wang, a teen who meets with ridicule and social isolation when his family moves from San Francisco s Chinatown to an exclusively white suburb; Danny, a popular blond, blue-eyed high school jock whose social status is jeopardized when his goofy, embarrassing Chinese cousin, Chin-Kee, enrolls at his high school; and the Monkey King who, unsatisfied with his current sovereign, desperately longs to be elevated to the status of a god. Their stories converge into a satisfying coming-of-age novel that aptly blends traditional Chinese fables and legends with bathroom humor, action figures, and playground politics. Yang s crisp line drawings, linear panel arrangement, and muted colors provide a strong visual complement to the textual narrative. Like Toni Morrison s The Bluest Eye and Laurence Yep s Dragonwings, this novel explores the impact of the American dream on those outside the dominant culture in a finely wrought story that is an effective combination of humor and drama.-Philip Charles Crawford, Essex High School, Essex Junction, VT Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher

“As alienated kids go, Jin Wang is fairly run-of-the-mill: he eats lunch by himself in a corner of the school-yard, gets picked on by bullies and jocks and develops a sweat-inducing crush on a pretty classmate. And, oh, yes, his parents are from Taiwan. This much-anticipated, affecting store about growing up different is more than just the story of a Chinese-American childhood: it's a fable for every kid born into a body and a life they wished they could escape. The fable is filtered through some very specific cultural icons: the much-beloved Monkey King, a figure familiar to Chinese kids the world over, and a buck-toothed amalgamation of racist stereotypes named Chin-Kee. Jin's hopes and humiliations might be mirrored in Chin-Kee's destructive glee or the Monkey King's struggles to come to terms with himself, but each character's expressions and actions are always perfectly familiar. True to its origin as a Web comic, this story's clear, concise lines and expert coloring are deceptively simple yet expressive. Even when Yang slips in an occasional Chinese ideogram or myth, the sentiments he's depicting need no translation. Yang accomplishes the remarkable feat of practicing what he preaches with this book: accept who you are and you'll already have reached out to others. (Sept.) ” —Publisher's Weekly

“Graphic novels that focus on nonwhite characters are exceedingly rare in American comics. Enter American Born Chinese, a well-crafted work that aptly explores issues of self-image, cultural identity, transformation, and self-acceptance. In a series of three linked tales, the central characters are introduced: Jin Wang, a teen who meets with ridicule and social isolation when his family moves from San Francisco's Chinatown to an exclusively white suburb; Danny, a popular blond, blue-eyed high school jock whose social status is jeopardized when his goofy, embarrassing Chinese cousin, Chin-Kee, enrolls at his high school; and the Monkey King who, unsatisfied with his current sovereign, desperately longs to be elevated to the status of a god. Their stories converge into a satisfying coming-of-age novel that aptly blends traditional Chinese fables and legends with bathroom humor, action figures, and playground politics. Yang's crisp line drawings, linear panel arrangement, and muted colors provide a strong visual complement to the textual narrative. Like Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye and Laurence Yep's Dragonwings, this novel explores the impact of the American dream on those outside the dominant culture in a finely wrought story that is an effective combination of humor and drama.” —School Library Journal

“Gr. 10-12. With vibrant colors and visual panache, indie writer-illustrator Yang (Rosary Comic Book) focuses on three characters in tales that touch on facets of Chinese American life. Jin is a boy faced with the casual racism of fellow students and the pressure of his crush on a Caucasian girl; the Monkey King, a character from Chinese folklore, has attained great power but feels he is being held back because of what the gods perceive as his lowly status; and Danny, a popular high-school student, suffers through an annual visit from his cousin Chin-Kee, a walking, talking compendium of egregious Chinese stereotypes. Each of the characters is flawed but familiar, and, in a clever postmodern twist, all share a deep, unforeseen connection. Yang helps the humor shine by using his art to exaggerate or oppose the words, creating a synthesis that marks an accomplished graphic storyteller. The stories have a simple, engaging sweep to them, but their weighty subjects - shame, racism, and friendship - receive thoughtful, powerful examination.” —Booklist

“Three seemingly unrelated stories blend into a memorable tale of growing up Chinese American. The book begins with the ancient fable of the Monkey King, the proud leader of the monkeys. He is punished for entering the god's dinner party by being buried under a mountain for five hundred years. Second in the story of Jin Wang, the son of immigrants struggling to retain his Chinese identity while longing to be more Americanized. The fnial story is that of Cousin Chin-Kee, an amalgamation of the worst Chinese stereotypes. Chin-Kee yearly visits his all-American cousin Danny, causing so much embarrassment that Danny must chage schools. The final chapter unifies the three tales into one version of what it means to be American-born Chinese.

This graphic novel first appeared as a long running web comic on www.moderntales.com, where it enjoyed an enthusiastic following. The artwork is clean and distinctive, with varying panel styles and inking that is visually appealing. The Cousin Chin-Kee story line is extremely hyperbolic and at times difficult to read, as it embraces the most extreme negative Chinese stereotypes, but it displays some of the difficulties in perception faced by young Chinese Americans. This graphic novel could be especially cathartic for teens and adults of Asian descent, but people of any ethnicity would find themselves reflected in the universal themes of self-acceptance, peer pressure, and racial tensions. This book is recommended for libraries serving teens and adults, particularly those enjoying graphic novels.” —Sherrie Willians, VOYA

“Raised in San Francisco's Chinatown, Jin Wang moves to a new neighborhood and a new school in third grade, where he quickly realizes that he's an oddball among Anglo-American classmates. Further complicating his life is the arrival of a Taiwanese student who latches onto him for companionship and sticks like a burr on through junior high. The picture of dorkiness in his huge eyeglasses, Robo Happy shirt, hiked-up pants, and cowlick, Wei-Chen Sun turns into Jin's closest friend and greatest embarrassment, both a cheerleader and a stumbling block to Jin's efforts to fit into mainstream school life and win the blonde girl of his dreams. Weaving around and ultimately converging with the seriocomic story of Jin's coming-of-age problems are two related tales that comment on issues of identity. In the first, the Chinese legendary Monkey Kong, banished from the gods' dinner party because he is a monkey, perfects his skills and disciplines to the point where he claims to have transcended his monkeyness. As "The Great Sage, Equal of Heaven," he's ready to take on all comers including the creator god Tze-Yo-Tzuh, but he is ultimately punished, humbled, and redirected to the understanding that his freedom will only come through acceptance of his true nature. The last piece of the narrative triad is a sitcom, "Everyone Wuvs Chin-Kee," complete with a laugh track, in which broadly stereotyped Chin-Kee turns up on an annual visit to Americanized cousin Danny and, in a series of classroom episodes that play out Jin Wang's worst nightmares, turns Danny's social life into a shambles. The graphic novel format is particularly well suited to managing the flow of three simultaneous storylines, and the action sequences of the Monkey King's tale and over-the-top satire on the portrayal of immigrants in American pop culture settle right into their spacious frames on the generously white bordered pages. Compositions are tidy and the palette is softly muted, so that even the strongest colors in the action scenes never reach the intensity of a visual assault. Kids fighting an uphill battle to convince parents and teachers of the literary merit of graphic novels will do well to share this title. EB” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“A National Book Award finalist and ALA's Printz Award winner, this fable stars the mythological Monkey King, realistic youngster Jin Wang of Taiwanese parentage, and TV sitcom teen Danny. All three are dogged by an unwanted identity and humiliated by others' prejudice. The Monkey King trains to be a god but is unceremoniously bounced out of heaven and urged by "he who is" (the great god) to be what he is: a monkey. Jin tries to be accepted and romance a fellow student but gets picked on by classmates. Danny does well with friends until Chinese cousin Chin-Kee, a bitingly funny bundle of racist stereotypes, makes his annual visit and behaves so offensively that Danny must change schools. Finally, the three stories suddenly merge, to center on Jin coming to terms with his minority experience and moving beyond his own fear and hostility. Coalescence comes almost too quickly, but the trivision approach and treatment are unique and moving. The art is simple, colorful, and both attractive and effective. Some potty humor; recommended for teen and adult collections.” —M.C. (from the Graphic Novels column by Martha Cornog & Steve Raiteri), Library Journal

“American Born Chinese is a graphic novel that tells the story of two protagonists. The Monkey King is a figure from Chinese folklore. Angry at not being admitted to a Heavenly Dinner Party because he isn't wearing shoes, the Monkey King masters the twelve disciplines of King Fu and sets about proving that he is a god to his fellow deities. He does this by beating up anyone who calls him a monkey. Danny, an Asian boy drawn with white features, wants to be like the rest of the kids in his high school. Unfortunately, the arrival of his cousin from China, Chin-Kee, dashes his hopes. Chin-Kee is every cliché about Chinese people (pronounce his name phonetically) rolled into one fun-filled package. Chin-Kee is so full of fun that a laugh track follows him around, but Danny, who has transferred out of two high schools already because of Chin-Kee's past antics, isn't laughing. There is also a third storyline featuring Jin Wang (Danny in junior high) and his best friend, Wei-Chen Sun.

This is one of the best graphic novels I've read this year. It reminds me of Derek Kirk Kim's excellent Same Difference and Other Stories, which is also worth purchasing. The three storylines are interrelated, and all have the same theme: accept who you are. Be warned that the character of Chin-Kee will arouse strong feelings: some may find him offensive while others may think he's funny. American Born Chinese contains racial stereotypes, comic book violence, and one urinating monkey (from the back). It is highly recommended for all graphic novel collections.” —KLIATT

“Is it so bad to grow up Asian in America? One might be forgiven for asking upon encountering American Born Chinese, a graphic novel that, with its dark exploration of Asian-American adolescence, won last year's Michael L. Printz Award for young adult literature and was also a finalist in its genre for a National Book Award.

After all, Asians are widely perceived to have it easier than other minorities in the United States, especially African-Americans, whose coming-of-age struggles have been chronicled for decades by writers like Walter Dean Myers, Jacqueline Woodson and Sharon G. Flake. But in American Born Chinese, Gene Luen Yang makes growing up Chinese in California seem positively terrifying.

The narrative is divided into three parts: the coming-of-age tale of the Asian-American Jin Wang, which centers on his relationship with his best friend, Wei-Chen Sun; the fantastical tale of a Monkey King who does not want to be a monkey; and the deeply disturbing story of Chin-Kee, a grotesque who takes every Chinese stereotype and wraps it into a leering, drooling package. Yang seems to use Chin-Kee to express his deepest fears of how others perceive Asian-Americans. In the book's more realistic sections, Wang's friend Wei-Chen is embarrassingly "fresh off the boat"; Chin-Kee is less embarrassing than monstrous. He comes to the United States for an extended visit with Danny, his blond, blue-eyed cousin, and enters with a shout of "Harro Amellica!" (The author uses Chin-Kee's L/R switch to great effect - at one point he says he's having a "lorricking good time" in his new school.) He wants to bind the feet of Danny's attractive study partner. His eyes are pupil-less slits. And he dominates Danny's classes, reminding us that the image of a Chinese student filling out all the SAT bubbles correctly can be as damaging as one eating "flied cat gizzards."

More disquieting than Chin-Kee himself is the reaction of his American peers. They accept him with blank, idealized political correctness. Only when he begins to engage in truly disgusting behavior do they turn on him. It is as if Chin-Kee is trying to make others despise him.

While Chin-Kee's coolie outfit harks back to the 19th century, Yang - who teaches high school computer science in San Francisco - also takes from modern sources. In one scene, Chin-Kee dances on a table singing "She Bangs" in the style of William Hung, the Berkeley student who turned a ridiculed American Idol audition into a brief singing career in 2004. Hung's hooks were his geeky appearance and accent; his music video soaked him in bling and surrounded him with backup dancers to drive home the point that he would never have bling or backup dancers. American Born Chinese blends Chinese and American cultures in inventive, unexpected ways. Structurally, its interwoven stories form a trilogy - a familiar Western construction - but the tale of the Monkey King is dominated by groups of four: four Major Heavenly Disciplines of kung fu; four emissaries of Tze-Yo-Tzuh, creator of all existence (an invention of Yang's). Thus four, a cursed number in Chinese numerology, dogs the Monkey King until he comes to terms with his identity. At the end of his story, in the book's most clever ethnic synthesis, he turns four to his favor, becoming one of four emissaries to the West who replace the wise men in their pilgrimage to see Jesus.

This image of the blending of Asian-American and white cultures will be tested in the coming years. As the white population in America falls below 50 percent, around 2060 (according to census projections), the definition of "white" is once again set to expand as it did for Italian- and Irish-Americans. Who will get to join the club? Or will the club finally fall to pieces? Caught up in these complex questions, it is easy to forget that American Born Chinese also functions well as a comic book. (Many graphic novelists are taking back this once-disparaging term.) The art blends the clean lines of anime with a bold American palette. Yang is equally adept at depicting a high school cafeteria and the Monkey King's fantastical realm.

American Born Chinese is sometimes needlessly crass - it opens with a joke about breasts and peaches - and it is hampered by a confusing ending that stretches to resolve the three tales. But with Chin-Kee's striking embodiment of ethnic confusion and self-betrayal, Gene Luen Yang has created that rare article: a youthful tale with something new to say about American youth.” —NED VIZZINI, New York Times Book Review, Children's Books

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312384487
Publisher:
Square Fish
Publication date:
12/23/2008
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
28,873
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)
Lexile:
GN530L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

American Born Chinese


By Gene Luen Yang

Roaring Brook Press

Copyright © 2006 Gene Yang
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-59643-152-2



CHAPTER 1

ONE BRIGHT ANS STARRY NIGHT, THE GODS, THE GODDESSES, THE DEMONS AND THE SPIRITS GATHERED IN HEAVEN FOR A DINNER PARTY.

YOUR PEACHES ARE LOOKING ESPECIALLY PLUMP TODAY, MY DEAR!

TEE HEE! OH STOP IT, LAO-TZU!

I DON'T MEAN TO BOAST, BUT THAT THUNDERSTORM I PUT TOGETHER LAST NIGHT IMPRESSED EVEN MYSELF!

THEIR MUSIC AND THE SCENT OF THEIR WINE DRIFTED DOWN ...

... DOWN ...

... DOWN ...

... TO FLOWER-FRUIT MOUNTAIN ...

... WHERE FLOWERS BLOOMED ROUND ...

... AND FRUITS HUNG HEAVY NECTAR ...

... AND MONKEYS PROLICKED UNDER THE WATCHFUL EYE OF THE MAGICAL MONKEY KING.

NOW THE MONKEY KING WAS A DEITY IN HIS OWN RIGHT.

LEGEND HAD IT THAT LONG AGO, LONG BEFORE ALMOST ANY MONKEY COULD REMEMBER, THE MONKEY KING WAS BORN OF A ROCK.

WHEN HIS EYES FIRST OPENDED, THEY FLAGHED RAYS OF LIGHT DEEP INTO THE SKY.

ALL OF HEAVEN TOOK NOTICE.

WHAT THE-?

SOON AFTER, HE PURGED FLOWER-FRUIT MOUNTAIN OF THE TIGER-SPIRIT THAT HAD HAUNTED IT FOR CENTURIES.

HE ESTABLISHED HIS KINGDOM AND MONKEYS FROM THE FOUR CORNERS OF THE WORLD FLOCKED TO HIM.


THE MONKEY KING RULED WITH A FIRM BUT GENTLE HAND.

PLAY NICE.

HE SPEND HIS DAYS STUDYING THE ARTS OF KUNG-FU. JE QUICKLY MASTERED THOUSANDS OF MINOR DISCIPLINES AS WELL AS THE FOUR MAJOR HEAVENLY DISCIPLINES, PREREQUISITES TO IMMORTALITY.

DISCIPLINE ONE: FIRST-LIKE-LIGHTNING

DISCIPLINE TWO: THUNDEROUS FOOT

DISCIPLINE THREE: HEAVENLY SENSES

A DINNER PARTY!

THE MONKEY KING LIKED DINNER PARTIES VERY MUCH.

MY DEAR SUBJECTS, I MUST TAKE LEAVE OF YOU TONIGHT FOR THERE IS A VERY IMPORTANT PARTY I MUST ATTEND.

DISCIPLINE FOUR: COULD-AS-STEED

THE MONKEY KING WAITED IN LINE FOR WHAT SEEMED LIKE AN ETERNITY.

HE FIDGETED THIS WAY AND THAT (MONKEYS JUST AREN'T VERY GOOD AT WAITING) BUT FORCED HIMSELF TO STAY IN LINE.

ALL THE WHILE HE THOUGHT ABOUT HOW MUCH HE LIKED DINNER PARTIES.


BY THE TIME THE MONKEY KING ARRIVED AT THE FRONT GATE. HE WAS BESIDE HIMSELF WITH ANTICIPATION.

ANNOUNCING THE ARRIVAL OF AO-JUN. THE DRAGON KING OF THE WESTERN SEA!

"AHEM" PARDON ME SIR, BUT MIGHT YOU STEP THIS WAY FOR A MOMENT?

OH, I'M SORRY.


YOU MAY ANNOUNCE THAT I AM THE MONKEY KING OF FLOWER-FRUIT MOUNTAIN!

YES, YES, I APOLOGIZE PROFUSELY SIR, BUT I CANNOT LEY YOU IN.


YOU HAVEN'T ANY SHOES.

BUT THERE MUST BE SOME MISTAKE! I AM THE SOVEREIGN RULER OF FLOWER-FRUIT MOUNTAIN, WHERE THE FLOWERS BLOOM YEAR ROUND AND THE FRUITS HANG HEAVY WITH NECTAR!

THOUSANDS OF SUBJECTS PLEDGE LOYALTY TO ME.

I, TOO. AM A DEITY! I AM A COMMITTED DISCIPLINE OF THE ARTS OF KUNG-FU AND I HAVE MASTERED THE FOUR MAJOR HEAVENLY DISCIPLINES, PREREQUISITES TO IMMORTALITY!


(Continues...)

Excerpted from American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang. Copyright © 2006 Gene Yang. Excerpted by permission of Roaring Brook Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More

Meet the Author

Gene Luen Yang began drawing comic books in the fifth grade. In 1997, he received the Xeric Grant, a prestigious comics industry grant, for Gordon Yamamoto and the King of the Geeks, his first comics work. He has since written and drawn a number of titles, including Duncan's Kingdom (with art by Derek Kirk Kim), The Rosary Comic Book, Prime Baby and Animal Crackers. American Born Chinese, his first graphic novel from First Second, was a National Book Award finalist, as well as the winner of the Printz Award and an Eisner Award. He also won an Eisner for The Eternal Smile, a collaboration with Derek Kirk Kim. Yang lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he teaches high school.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

American Born Chinese 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 74 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This graphic novel is much more than it may seem- simply just a graphic novel. While on the surface it is an interesting tale about a boy that doesn't fit in, underneath the surface there lies a whole world of myth and legend, individuality, cultural and self acceptance. An absolute must read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book starts out as a mythological story then envelops into a new era , bringing in the other characters of the book, showing how the main characters all have something in common. This books shows that being yourself is always something to consider, but if you dont read the book you will not understand what I am trying to say. GREAT BOOK and GREAT MEANING.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A monkey and a boy share one common goal, to fit in. Another boy who has everything gets his social life destroyed every year by his FOB cousin. In American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang which has won numerous awards including but not limited to Npr Holiday Pick, Publishers Weekly Comics Week Best Comic of the Year, and San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year. The New York Times book review says that, “it is a youthful tale with something new to say about American youth.” The monkey king thinks he should be a god so he goes to the goods party and is kicked out. He gets mad so he learns how to shape shift but is punished for changing his form. The head god traps him for 500 years under rocks. He is waiting under the rocks for someone to come save him but he doesn’t realize that he can get out easily if he wasn’t so selfish. When the Chinese boy gets to America he is out casted by his peers. In the turmoil he finds a friend, someone who is in his same situation. They go through everything together thick and thin. The all American boy Danny who has the bad cousin is always getting embarrassed by him at every school, he has to move away every year after his cousin comes. He despises his cousin or even hates him everything he does he hates but he doesn’t know his inner most dark secret. I think this is a very good read for young adults aka highschoolers/middleschoolers it is an easy read with a great lesson for any one no matter whom you are it can always relate to the person reading. The biggest theme in the book is that one must be themselves, they must not change their inner most being for the sake of someone or peoples opinion. For example in the book when the monkey king wants to be a god he shape shifts into the form of a human, which is quite literally being something you are not, because of this mistake he is punished mercilessly by Tze-Yo-Tzuh and imprisoned under a mountain. Another example is when Jin Wang tries to be an American instead of Chinese his life is good at first just like the monkey but soon everything falls apart. This book is extremely good for many other reasons besides the theme, one of these reasons is that it is very funny. An example of this is when Chin-Kee (Danny’s cousin) goes pee in one of his friend’s cokes or when he comes to school eating dog and talking in a ridiculously thick chinese accent. Another example is when Jin Wang is playing with a kid from school and they pretend to be Jewish and put bras on their head and use them as Yamahas. This book American Born Chinese is a somewhat recent book published in 2006. This means it focuses on actual problems that this generation have with being unique, because of this it is one of my favorite books I’ve read in a long time and surprisingly one of the shortest. Will the monkey king ever change his ways? Will Danny ever accept his cousin? Will Jin Wang ever get his wish about being American, find this out and more by reading American Born Chinese, a great book for young readers and a great message for any one.
JimRGill2012 More than 1 year ago
Gene Luen Yang’s graphic narrative combines elements of autobiography, Chinese mythology, and magical realism to create a tale of “othered” youth to which any young adult or adult who has ever struggled with the dilemma of assimilation should be able to relate. Yang adds ample doses of snarky humor to his intricately woven narrative, which seems to develop along three distinct strands. The narrative opens with the tale of the Monkey King, a Chinese mythological figure who feels slighted by the more powerful gods and resolves to prove his power and might. Next we meet Jin, the American-born Chinese of the title. We follow Jin’s tale through middle school as he endeavors to identify as a member of “mainstream” American youth by avoiding fellow Asian students, adopting an “American” hairstyle, and dating a Caucasian girl in his class. The final narrative strand focuses on Danny, a white American teenager who is bedeviled by annual visits from his Chinese cousin Chin-Kee, who behaves in stereotypically boorish ways and alienates Danny from his peers. Yang ultimately conjoins the three strands in a way that highlights the complexities of ethnic identity—and Identity in general—that confront American youth, especially those who are visibly “other.” Yang’s skill in highlighting this issue in metaphorically powerful ways is quite effective and should lead to some difficult but important questions from both young adult and adult readers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
lovelybookshelf More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story, art, characters etc! Didn't want to end!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was utterly amazing, being a color graphic novel was exceptional. While I was reading it I couldn't help but laugh, when I found myself finished with it I was pretty upset. The characters are all very well thought out and I love all of them. So please read this book if you're looking for not only a funny read but a quick one too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What the jell!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
G.L.Y .youve done it agian.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It had so much action and different stuff and more stuff. It goes from this to that, back this, back to that, then it combines all together in the end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tuss_89 More than 1 year ago
I would highly recommend this book to anyone in the teen age group. It is a very good book, based on how every teen want's to either be somebody else or change who they are. And in the end they always find out that their true personality will always be golden.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago