So I’ve been reading a bunch of graphic novels lately and have been on a total Gene Luen Yang kick. I just finished off Prime Baby and Animal Crackers, and will be working on Boxers & Saints next. But, I wanted to take a moment to post about the first book of his that I encountered, that being American Born Chinese.
This is a wonderful read for anyone in high school up to adulthood. At first, it seems like the stories are separate: the one about the legendary Monkey King vs the one about the teen who has an annoying visiting Asian cousin. The tales wind up intersecting and commenting on being an Asian-American torn between two cultures (Western and Eastern). As an Asian-Canadian, I too could relate to these feelings of wanting to be “white” and yet having the world reflect back to you that you aren’t, while juggling traditions and customs of your heritage.
Yang’s books that I’ve read so far have all included characters of Asian descent. In Animal Crackers, there’s also an African-American character and two female characters who get a bit of airtime. Overall, I’d say Yang’s books are RAD and I can’t wait to get to more of them!