American Born Chinese, by Gene Luen Yang
Title: American Born Chinese
Author: Gene Luen Yang
Publisher: First Second
American Born Chinese won the Michael L. Printz Award in 2007. That is how it found its way onto my reading list – for the Printz Project. Having read (and loved) two of the honor books that year, The Book Thief and An Abundance of Katherines, I was ready for this book to wow me. It didn’t quite wow me, but I liked it.
American Born Chinese follows three story lines that converge unexpectedly. The first story is that of a monkey king who thinks he is better than the gods. The second story is that of a second-generation Chinese immigrant who has adventures with his best friend and his first crush. The final story is that of a white boy who is humiliated when his stereotypical Chinese cousin comes to visit every year.
I must confess that I am not a visual learner. I usually skip over artwork in other books. I don’t particularly enjoy picture books. And, I’m not really enthused about the graphic novel genre. Thus, while I thought American Born Chinese was intriguing and innovative, I was rather nonplussed. The artwork was nice but didn’t really do anything for me. I can recognize, though, that this is a piece of art and literature and that those who appreciate graphic novels will likely love this one.
American Born Chinese, by Gene Luen Yang [rating:3]