American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This was the teen book chosen for our Big Read for my library, so my bookclub read it for that month. I will say, I was a bit leery going into it because I'm not a fan of graphic novels. But this book read very fast, even if it was a bit confusing about the story lines.
This book is about three characters:
The Monkey King
Jin (Chinese-American) and his friend at school Wei-Chen (Taiwanese)
Danny (American) and his cousin Chin-Kee (Chinese)
And these three characters all intertwined by the end of the novel. In a very weird, unique way. The novel bounced from character to character, not really having a theme or reason for the random stories, but somehow keeping my attention gathered to find out how this will all come together.
I do have to admit that I really didn't like Jin. He was rude to his friend and he was always calling him an F.O.B. (Fresh off the Boat from Taiwan), which I thought that was harsh. Instead of judging Wei-Chen for being different since he was from another country, I thought that Jin might be nice and help Wei-Chen learn the different culture. Instead, he did so many terrible things to him that I think Wei-Chen would have been better off without Jin as a friend.
I can understand Danny's frustration with Chin-Kee, even though he didn't act like a nice person either to his cousin. I think if Danny would just take the time and effort to include Chin-Kee in his life for that one week of the year that he would have had a better relationship with his cousin and he would have had to leave his other schools.
The Monkey King story started off weird, but the moral of the story was well told by the end. The way that the three stories intertwined with each other was just plain odd and I did not see it coming at all. But it will make for an interesting book discussion talk for my book club, so that's a plus I suppose!
Even after reading this, if I didn't have to read it for our promotion of the Big Read, I never would have touched this book. It was alright, but it won't be anything that I will be re-visiting anytime in the future.
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