Friday, April 23, 2010
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
It's nice to find a book that directly addresses the not-inherantly funny topic of race in a hilarious fashion, which is exactly what this lively graphic novel does. Set in a mostly-white American high school, Jin Wang (later to be called Danny) struggles to accept his own heritage, embarrassed as he is by it. A surreal and HI-larious section featuring Danny's cousin Chin Kee, a loud-mouthed, know-it-all Chinese stereotype who constantly expresses his desire to bind women's feet, cleverly illustrates what self-hating racism feels like in a way that is fresh, and as previously mentioned, laugh out loud funny. Already the winner of the Printz Award, a national book award finalist, a Booklist top ten Graphic Novel for Youth, NPR holiday pick, Publisher's Weekly best comic of the year, San Francisco Chronicle best book of the year, 2007 Eisner Award for best Graphic Album, Time Magazine Top Ten Comic of the year and an Amazon.com Best Graphic Novel/Comic of the year, I'm clearly not the first person to like this book, and certainly won't be the last.