Author: Gene Luen Yang
Genre: Graphic Novel, Young Adult
The Recipe: (From Good Reads) American Born Chinese tells the story of three apparently unrelated characters: Jin Wang, who moves to a new neighborhood with his family only to discover that he’s the only Chinese-American student at his new school; the powerful Monkey King, subject of one of the oldest and greatest Chinese fables; and Chin-Kee, a personification of the ultimate negative Chinese stereotype, who is ruining his cousin Danny’s life with his yearly visits. Their lives and stories come together with an unexpected twist in this action-packed modern fable
The Frosting and Sprinkles: I read American Born Chinese because I have an affinity for Chinese culture and my sister, who is an expert of Young Adult and Children's literature (she will embarrassed that I deemed her that :-)) recommended it. This is the first graphic novel I've ever read and I found it a quick, easy, fun, and humorous read.
The book is very amusing and entertaining, but also contains deep levels of meaning and symbolism. It's a book about cultural identity and explores many aspects of shame and pride. I found the character development and layering surprising because it is a graphic novel. You know a writer is talented when they can pull this off in a series of comic strips.
I love that the author includes the Chinese fable of the Monkey King (from the famous Chinese work of literature Journey to the West) and combines it with a modern tale. There are many interesting mixes of East and West culture as well as mixing the Bible and Christian imagery with a story routed in Buddhism. It's a novel that makes you think and a great exploration of the cultural identity issue.
I can't write a review of this book without mentioning the illustrations, which were also drawn by the author. I am not a graphic expert, but I love how Yang portrays emotions and humor in a simple cartoon.
The Hair That Fell Into the Batter: I don't have any complaints about this book other than I felt it ended a little abruptly.
4 Out of 5 Cupcakes!