Publisher: Square Fish
Published: December 2008
Source: A gift from Joanna (Book Blogger Holiday Swap)
First of all, I want to thank Joanna again for sending American Born Chinese to me. I have been coveting this graphic novel for a while after reading so many glowing reviews on the blogosphere and after reading it for myself, I can now understand why this book deserves a shout out.
The first tale is about a Monkey King (also known as Sun Wukong in the original, classical Chinese novel, Journey to the West, but please do not confuse that with this graphic novel) who vows to be recognized as a deity after his embarrassment from admitting to the Heavenly Dinner Party because he is a monkey and does not wear shoes. He begins to master the various arts of kung-fu and in no time, he is all set to prove to the other deities that he could share the same ranks as them. Alas, he is being tested after his encounter with Tze-Yo-Tzuh, his creator, and the latter buries him in a mountain of rubbles for five hundred years.
The second tale is about an American Chinese boy named Jin Wang, whose purpose is to fit in after his family moved to a new neighbourhood. He met a fellow student, Wei Chen, who came from Taiwan and they became good friends after their exchange over a Transformers toy. Jin Wang also begins to fall in love with an American girl, Amelia but he is intimidated and feels he is not good enough for her and it does not help much when another classmate feels it is best of him to leave her alone.
Finally, the last tale is about the relationship between an American boy, Danny, and his Chinese cousin, Chin-Kee. You may wonder at this point why they are related in the first place, and that I would have to leave it to you to find out yourself because it is part of a plot setup and it involves major spoilers.
What I loved most about American Born Chinese is aside from the colourful illustrations and the great characterization, these three little (interlinked) stories convey the same message about finding one's identity and to love and to accept who you are. I think the good part of these stories is they are told in a light, humourous way without losing the topic. There are indications of racial stereotypes of the Chinese people but I think in a way it helps to create awareness of racism/stereotypes no matter what races we are. I absolutely loved the twist ending and thought how brilliant that is. I would recommend this to anyone who love a good story (and a good laugh).
An Adventure in Reading
Books of Mee
nothing of importance
Stephanie's Confessions of a Book-a-holic
Stuff as Dreams are Made On
The Hidden Side of a Leaf
The Written World
The Book Zombie
Things Mean A Lot
Tripping Towards Lucidity
(Let me know if I missed yours.)