American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang.
To be perfectly honest, this book is so incredible that I'm pretty much at a loss for words. I really don't know how to do this book justice...and I really wish I did, because if I could convince even one person who hasn't yet read this book to do so, it would make me very happy.
The book is three stories in one, told in alternating chapters. The first story is that of the Monkey King, a Chinese legend. The Monkey King of Flower-Fruit Mountain isn't happy being a monkey, and he works very hard trying to turn himself into a god, The Great Sage, Equal of Heaven. Second, there is the story of Jin Wang, who moves from his apartment near San Francisco's Chinatown and finds himself the only Chinese-American kid at Mayflower Elementary. It's not an easy place to find oneself. And finally, there is the story of Danny, an American teenager. Each year his Chinese cousin, Chin-Kee, comes to visit for a few weeks, and Danny finds his life so ruined that he transfers schools. Chin-Kee is the epitome of a negative Chinese stereotype. Eventually the three stories mesh into one. And maybe I'm just slow on the uptake, but the way this happened took me by surprise...it was simply brilliant.
In fact, the whole book was simply brilliant. Deceptively simple to read. For it is truly so sophisticated. It contains so much depth. To be perfectly honest, I suspect that if I read it again, I would discover things I'd missed. And if I read it again after that, I would find even more. The book addresses many themes: identity, racism, friendship, self-acceptance, and how these things play off of one another, how they affect one another. It was humorous, and it was painful. Bottom line, it was amazing.
Want to read what others thought?
Dewey at The Hidden Side of a Leaf
Nymeth at Things Mean A Lot
Alison at So Many Books, So Little Time
Chris at Stuff As Dreams Are Made On
Ali at Worducopia
Kailana at The Written World
Joy at Thoughts of Joy
And if you've read and reviewed this book, please feel free to leave a link in the comments, and I'll add it here. Thanks.