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American Born Chinese: 02/28/10
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang was a recent random pick from my library's graphic novel collection. I finished it last month and I'm still actively thinking about it – the sign of a great book.
It has three stories woven together. Jin Wang is starting at a new school only to be the only Chinese American there. Meanwhile Danny feels like his life is being ruined by his obnoxious living stereotype, Chin-Kee. Finally there's a lovely retelling of the Monkey King legend.
I fell in love with the graphic novel on the first page where Jin Wang describes his parents meeting and falling in love at San Francisco State. It's a place I know well and it was a way to connect with the story. I also enjoyed the retelling of the Monkey King legend although I had trouble seeing how the two were connected.
When Chin-Kee burst on the scene I had to struggle to read through his bits. He's so over top. He's worse than the portrayal of the Chinese in Doctor Who and the Talons of Weng-Chiang. I stuck with the novel because I wanted to see how the other two plots played out. Plus I was curious why Danny who appears to be a typical WASP kid would have an obnoxious Chinese cousin. I'm glad I stuck with the book because the three plots come together perfectly.
Had I been more observant I would have seen the ending coming. I know from other reviews that it is possible to connect the dots. I was just too busy enjoying the graphic novel to think a more critical level. So read the book, keep your eyes open and see if you can put pieces together.
Comment #1: Sunday, February, 28, 2010 at 18:26:11
I've had this one on my wishlist for awhile, and I really want to read it. I'm going to need to buy it soon.
Comment #2: Tuesday, March 2, 2010 at 12:11:28
I was fortunate enough to find a copy at my library. How ever you get a copy, it's worth reading.
Comment #3: Thursday, March, 4, 2010 at 00:29:55
I have only read a couple graphic novels so far but this sounds like a really good one. I added it to my TBR.
Comment #4: Friday, March 5, 2010 at 21:33:02
It is a good one. I like reading the graphic novels that stand alone. I'm not always ready to make a commitment to a series.