Title: American Born Chinese
Author: Gene Luen Yang
With three separate storylines that all finally converge in the end, they all focus on different degrees of racism and prejudice. There is the Monkey King, Jin, and Danny. All of them are affected by racism or prejudice, whether it be directed towards them or people close to them. Through their stories, they each learn a valuable lesson on how to deal with different forms of prejudice.
The Monkey King is taken on a journey of self discovery, Jin realizes how important it is to just be yourself and stop trying to impress everyone with being who you think they want you to be, and Danny realizes he’s completely forgotten who he is. Then in the end, it is revealed that Danny and Jin are the same person.
Racism and prejudice is the main driving force behind this graphic novel. Some of the forms are subtle and not very in-your-face but some are obvious. You see when Greg tells Jin he does not want her dating Amelia because she needs to be hanging out with the right people. In essence, he is telling Jin that by Amelia hanging out with an Asian kid, she is hurting her reputation. An example of how some of the racism is very obvious is when you see a picture of a Caucasian is pulling his eyes making them look slanted behind an Asian kid’s back.
Acceptance is another major theme in each of the stories. The Monkey King becomes a dictator and is finally knocked back down to the person he was and learns a valuable lesson. Jin and Danny’s stories intertwine so they both learn a valuable lesson of how they need quit trying to appeal to what everyone else wants and just accept themselves.
Many people have experienced racism and prejudice of many different forms. Sometimes it may be due to you race, your religion, or even some family history. Racism is still very much alive in the world of today. This book was considered very racist itself but I viewed it more as a satire. It addressed racial problems on a level that is understandable by young adults.
I really liked this book. I thought it all tied together very well and I was actually surprised at how deep it touched on these levels of racism. There was a good amount of comedy mixed in with real issues. I viewed it as a satirical piece because it used comedy as a vehicle to address these issues. It was a bit of poking fun at themselves while at the same time showing the audience that these issues are real and current.
“An intentionally over-the-top stereotypical Chinese character — and every protagonist’s search for acceptance — make this a better fit for teen readers who have the sophistication to understand the author’s intent.” The reviewer liked the story and found it to be very effective but made a good point to show that the audience needs to be sophisticated enough to understand the authors message and intent.
“The best thing about American Born Chinese, hands down, was the graphic art. the vibrant colors and cartoonish artwork really brought the story to life and there was much to appreciate, even in the absence of text.” The reviewer high recommends this book and thinks that it would benefit many people to read it.