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American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang is a phenomenal graphic novel addressing self-acceptance, racial stereotyping, and identity. Not to mention, Gene Luen Yang blew my socks off with a brilliant intertwining of three seemingly unconnectable storylines.
Yang tackles the negative stereotypes of a Chinese- American head-on, illustrating Chin-Kee to possesses the physical stereotypical qualities of a Chinese person. These traits include small eyes, two large teeth, and yellow skin. Broken-English such as mixing up his Rs and Ls. In addition to these, he carries unmannered and uncivilized qualities that have historically been described to Chinese people.
Jin wang is an insecure Chinese-American teenager battling an identity crisis that is reinforced by the stereotypes. The desire to blend in, and the need to eliminate traces of heritage.
Identity also plays a tremendous part in the theme of the monkey king’s story as he is rejected by others because of the way. No matter how much more qualify he is than others, he still ends up being rejected.
Although after five hundred years of living under a pile of rocks, he learns to accept his identity and recognize his true form.
The form of the story truly is one of a kind with three diverse stories leading to one huge climatic events. The author illustrates the story of Jin Wang, who happens to be the only Chinese-American at his new school, the tale of Chin-Kee and cousin Danny who is a white boy embarrass by his cousin Chin-Kee and the legend of the Monkey King.
Now how exactly does Gene Luen Yang combine all these? We discover that Danny is Jin and is whom Jin wishes to be. Chin-Kee happens to be the Monkey King and teaches Jin self-acceptance through the learning of his own mistakes. Mind-blowing am I right!!
Overall, I would give this book a 4/5 as I felt that the ending was very rushed. Other than that I enjoy and had a fun time reading this entertaining graphic novel. It is perfect for readers who battle with maintaining their self-identity and cultural while fitting in with their community. I recommend it to those who love a good humorous adventure story, with thoughtful and relatable stories. I had a hard time finding a book, movie or show to help you understand the genre and style of this book as I tend not to watch that many shows or movies. As for books, I do not think I have read any that is somewhat similar to American Born Chinese.
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