Before I opened the book, I thought this book is about stories of Chinese people born in the United States, but when I open the book, the first scene is a story that I am so familiar with. When I was a little child, I spend summer breaks in my grandparents’ place in a village. My grandma is traditional old-time Chinese woman: non-literal, and never met my grandpa before the night they were married. She use to take me to the river near her house and teach me how to make hats using “dog tail grass” that grows all over the riverbank.
And she would tell me stories, not the prince and princess lived happily ever after kind—the kind my mum would read me before bedtime, but ancient Chinese stories like “All Men Are Brothers” and “Journey to the West”. Monkey king’s uproar in the Heaven Palace is one of my favorites from “Journey to the West”. The way Monkey King is gifted and don’t want to be ordinary fascinated the 7-year-old me, and I’ve always thought maybe that story help planted the seed of curiosity, adventurous and bold in me. Last summer, grandma had critical surgery.
She can’t drink water before the surgery, so I used Q-tips dipped in water to hydrate her parched lips. She held my hand and said, ”Granny’s ganna be just fine! When granny wake up, she’ll take you to the river side and tell you a monkey king story. ” She looked at me and smiled. Between our eyes, there is something I would do whatever to protect. Reading the first sense of American Born Chinese brought me back to the old summer times when I had nothing to worry but enjoying the sunshine and stories.
If I were to be asked to write about this novel, I would be most interested to explore the theme of identity and acceptance. In the book, there are many plots of the characters attempts to deny who they are, but gradually they learnt to accept the fact that nothing’s more useful than embrace themselves. The hard truth is there are always things permeable to change as well as some preset “as is”. And after realizing that, the characters accepted their unique identity and live happily with what they have achieved and what they always are.
I think it applies to our daily life as well. A lot of people lost themselves in pursing things that don’t belong to them. If they learn to accept their potential and While reading the book, I was also impressed by the fact that the book has both Eastern style action and dialect, and Western style humors. The two factors are perfectly united and combined, and as the story flow, they helped the three story line magically incorporated, while makes perfect sense. My question toward this book is, is this book based on the author’s personal experience?
From the research I found out the author is the son of Chinese immigrants, I wonder if this comic novel a reflection of his experience and epiphany while he is growing up fighting to obtain himself and mean while trying to fit in. Also, it’s interesting that according to his background, he faced a typical Chinese style dilemma: he wanted to study art in college but his father encouraged him to pursue a more “practical” field. Therefore he majored computer scientist and minored in creative writing. And now he is a successful comic book author, which is really an incorporation of the two of his specialties.
Courtney from Study Moose
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