Author(s): Gene Luen YangDownload
All Jin Wang wants is to fit in. When his family moves to a new neighborhood, he suddenly finds that he’s the only Chinese American student at his school. Jocks and bullies pick on him constantly, and he has hardly any friends. Then, to make matters worse, he falls in love with an all-American girl…Born to rule over all the monkeys in the world, the story of the Monkey King is one of the oldest and greatest Chinese fables. Adored by his subjects, master of the arts of kung-fu, he is the most powerful monkey on earth. But the Monkey King doesn’t want to be a monkey. He wants to be hailed as a god…Chin-Kee is the ultimate negative Chinese stereotype, and he’s ruining his cousin Danny’s life. Danny’s a popular kid at school, but every year Chin-Kee comes to visit, and every year Danny has to transfer to a new school to escape the shame. This year, though, things quickly go from bad to worse…These three apparently unrelated tales come together with an unexpected twist, in a modern fable that is hilarious, poignant and action-packed. American Born Chinese is an amazing rise, all the way up to the astonishing climax–and confirms what a growing number of readers already know: Gene Yang is a major talent.
Some Reviews: 7334 in Goodreads.com
I gave this graphic novel 3.5 stars
I’ve been wanting to read this graphic novel ever since I saw it on FrenchieDee’s YouTube channel. I found it at my college’s library and read it in one sitting. I really enjoyed the storyline for the most part, but was left iunsatisfied by the end. To me, it seemed as if Yang ran out of steam before he had finished all the characters’ stories. In short, the story was going good until it abruptly ended.
Nevertheless, the artwork in the book was really eye catching. The pictures were drawn in a manner that sort of reminded me of the cartoon character, Astroboy. They weren’t too extravagant in look however, they were befitting of the story that Yang was trying to tell. All in all, I’d recommend this graphic novel for anyone who wants a good read that’s quick and comical. But be warned, one of the characters do display exaggerated stereotypical characteristics.
While I liked this book, it kind of baffles me why it won so many awards. I mean it’s a good comic book, but nothing stands out. I think what I liked most about this comic was how it was written. You have three different stories and characters all alike, but all different, than somehow merge at the end…very much like Michael Cunningham’s the Hours but written for teenage boys. The ending (without giving anything away) through me off. I do however like the art, one of the main reasons I got the book. I liked the fact it was cartoony rather than realistic. I still think people should check this book out. It’s probably not what you’s expect.
The opening section of this graphic novel, the Monkey King story, was a little hard to get into at first because I felt like I was missing some kind of cultural knowledge that would help me understand the story better. It felt like if I were Chinese, perhaps I would have heard this story before and would have a better idea of where it was going, what kind of message it was trying to give me. Whether it was intentional or not, this initial disconnect to the story actually helped me better understand Jin Wang’s character, since he too felt disconnected from his new classmates and their “stories” when he first moved. Essentially, my feeling of being disconnected allowed me to empathize with his situation and become more invested in his story. By the end of the novel, my disconnect was no longer relevant, as I understood what the point of the Monkey King’s story was and saw how it related to Jin Wang’s and Danny’s stories.
What I enjoyed the most about this book was how the three story lines of the Monkey King, Jin Wang and Danny all converge in the end and the reader realizes that they were showing her the same idea in slightly different ways all along. This kind of storytelling takes skill to be done well, and this novel delivers in that way. As a high school teacher, I teach literature that focuses on the conflict of the individual in society and the struggle to be oneself when one’s identity is in direct conflict with the larger society. This book would be an excellent addition to my curriculum because it offers perspective for the individual (arguing that you should embrace who you are as there is no point in trying to be something you are not) as well as society (arguing that you should be tolerant of others who are different from you as you never know what kind of internal struggles they are already dealing with). Overall, a recommended read!
Read for English 9
You know, I don’t read too many graphic novels. But I quite enjoyed this! I will definitely check out more by this author.
This book is composed of three stories; 1) the tale of the Monkey King, who wants to be more than a monkey, he wants to be a god. 2) The story of Jin Wang and how he struggles with being Asian in a predominantly white school and 3) Danny’s story and his relationship with his Chinese cousin Chin-Kee.
It’s kind of confusing at first, but all the stories end up being connected. There’s a big twist and I will NOT spoil it, but I will say it was surprising but it was good!
I just really liked this book. It’s funny yet thought provoking (it raises some interesting questions about identity and embracing who you are), it has really good characters (I like Wei-Chen the most!) and I like the pictures. Plus, hooray for diversity, as it features Asian characters as the protagonists.
And I’d like to talk about Chin-Kee for a second. Sure, is he a stereotype of a Chinese person? Yes. But I don’t think the author’s intent was to perpetrate this stereotype, I think his intention was to address the issue of stereotypes (more in this article: http://firstsecondbooks.typepad.com/m…)
Overall, I really enjoyed this and I do recommend it. Usually I resent books that I read for school, but American Born Chinese was really good!
I know this is shallow, but one of the things I like about graphic novels is that they’re such fast reads. It was extremely satisfying to complete Yang’s funny, engaging, and wise tale in under an hour – which included lingering over the simple, colorful artwork.
Yang weaves together three distinct stories that generate deft insights into racial identity, adolescent anguish, and the folly of hubris. Although I found each storyline interesting, my favorite was the legend of the Monkey King, whose astounding self-confidence first immortalizes him as god “equal to heaven,” then brings him low as a stubborn but eventually devoted servant of the One Who Is. In the end, ancient symbolism and pop culture merge seamlessly to showcase a particular American experience – and produce a brisk, compelling afternoon read.
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