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American Born Chinese (2006)

by Gene Luen Yang

Other authors: Lark Pien (Colorist)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,2263162,052 (3.97)173
Alternates three interrelated stories about the problems of young Chinese Americans trying to participate in the popular culture. Presented in comic book format.
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» See also 173 mentions

English (315)  Japanese (1)  French (1)  All languages (317)
Showing 1-5 of 315 (next | show all)
I picked this up and read it in one day - it reads very quickly, as there are not many panels per page (usually about 4). There are several good messages in this book, including this: "It's easy to become anything you wish ... so long as you're willing to forfeit your soul". The artwork fits the story really well, and I was quite pleased with the ending. ( )
  quinton.baran | Mar 29, 2021 |
Eisner 2007 Best Graphic Album New
  JEJanke | Feb 16, 2021 |
I was surprised by how much I liked this. At first I kept avoiding it, knowing it was supposed to be great (Printz Award winner and all), but I just wasn't completely interested. However, I read it in about two days and really appreciated how it all came together. Yang successfully weaves three very different stories together in order to explore concepts of racism in America, identity, self-loathing, and one’s acceptance of his/her own culture and race. Initially, I didn't see how where each stories was headed but they finally tied together in a very poignant way. Great characters, successful use of space, color and comic book-style action sequences, and both subtle and bold explorations of racial stereotypes.

Course evaluation: This frequently challenged book presents controversial topics in subtle and over-the-top ways; Jin’s self-loathing is shown with his permed hair while Chin-kee’s character throws various stereotypes at the reader. Chinese-Americans may relate to the subtle touches while readers from different backgrounds will learn what it means to look different in society. Yang’s illustrations utilize comic book-style action sequences and words to show conflict, and his use of color is appropriate for the topic (white framing on each page, yellow as the dominating cover color to signify the stereotypes addressed).

( )
  JustZelma | Dec 20, 2020 |
I wanted to like the book more than I did. This graphic novel, by Gene Luen Yang, is basically three stories in one. There’s a pseudo-mythological tale about the Monkey King who seeks to be respected as (or perhaps even transcend) the divine beings, kind of Journey to the West-esque. There’s a cartoonish story about Danny, an all-American boy, who has to deal with the arrival of his cousin “Chin-Kee”, an incarnation/representation of the worst American stereotypes about China. And there’s a more “realistic” story about Jin Wang, going through school as one of the few Chinese-Americans in his class.

There’s a lot going on in all these stories, but the ~200 lightly-worded pages just don’t give them anything enough development. The stories of the Monkey King and Danny have to be read on very allegorical levels, while the most relatable (/understandable) story of Jin Wang ends up fiercely competing for space. They all (kinda) come together at the end, but if you’re like me, you spent most of your brainpower deciphering the metaphors rather than empathizing with the characters. So while there’s a ton being discussed about race, identity, cultural assimilation, cultural identity… I found it either too rushed or too abstract to be really empathizing. The memoir Diamond Grill by Fred Wah worked much better for me. ( )
  pvoberstein | Dec 14, 2020 |
Here is what I wrote about it in my blog:

"This was a book recommended by one of my colleagues, so I knew it would probably be good. It was great. It contains three seemingly unrelated stories: the story of Jin Wang, who just wants to fit in at school when his parents move into a new neighborhood; the story of Danny and his very Chinese cousin Chin Kee; and the story of the Monkey King. At first, the book seems to be a set of separate stories, but as one reads, the connection becomes apparent. The book does have some very funny moments too, and there are some lessons here and there as well. And when you get to the end, you just don't quite want it to end. A pleasure to read, and a fast read as well. I highly recommend this one."

I borrowed this one from the UHD Library.

The rest of the blog post is at:
[http://gypsylibrarian.blogspot.com/2007/06/short-booknotes-on-graphic-novels-14.html] ( )
  bloodravenlib | Aug 17, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 315 (next | show all)

School Library Journal Review
Starred Review. Gr 7 Up Graphic novels that focus on nonwhite characters are exceedingly rare in American comics. Enter American Born Chinese, a well-crafted work that aptly explores issues of self-image, cultural identity, transformation, and self-acceptance. In a series of three linked tales, the central characters are introduced: Jin Wang, a teen who meets with ridicule and social isolation when his family moves from San Francisco s Chinatown to an exclusively white suburb; Danny, a popular blond, blue-eyed high school jock whose social status is jeopardized when his goofy, embarrassing Chinese cousin, Chin-Kee, enrolls at his high school; and the Monkey King who, unsatisfied with his current sovereign, desperately longs to be elevated to the status of a god. Their stories converge into a satisfying coming-of-age novel that aptly blends traditional Chinese fables and legends with bathroom humor, action figures, and playground politics. Yang s crisp line drawings, linear panel arrangement, and muted colors provide a strong visual complement to the textual narrative. Like Toni Morrison s The Bluest Eye and Laurence Yep s Dragonwings, this novel explores the impact of the American dream on those outside the dominant culture in a finely wrought story that is an effective combination of humor and drama. Philip Charles Crawford, Essex High School, Essex Junction, VT Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. From: Reed Elsevier Inc. Copyright Reed Business Information
 

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gene Luen Yangprimary authorall editionscalculated
Pien, LarkColoristsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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To Ma,
for her stories of the Monkey King

And Ba,
for his stories of Ah-Tong, the Taiwanese village boy
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One bright and starry night, the Gods the Goddesses, the demons, and the spirits gathered in heaven for a dinner party.
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Alternates three interrelated stories about the problems of young Chinese Americans trying to participate in the popular culture. Presented in comic book format.

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Book description
A great mix of mythology and the second generation immigrant experience told with wit, insight and humour. The graphic novel format is spot-on for this book. The illustrations contribute powerfully to the text.
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