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Heartless Lyn @ Great Imaginations

"All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost"

American Born Chinese

American Born Chinese - Gene Luen Yang Let's start this review with a confession: Everything I know about the Monkey King comes from watching DragonBall Z (one of the only three animes that I actually enjoy). American Born Chinese uses the maturing field of graphic novels to address friendship, racism, and self awareness. Three disconnected stories highlight three completely separate elements of the Chinese culture: Mythology, the present and the stereotypical view. The Monkey King, or Journey into the West is a critical story in the Chinese mythology, resulting in the birth of many popular icons and media coverage. Yang uses the myth as the heart of his story. Next, Jin Wang, a young Chinese American boy who struggles to find acceptance in his primarily Anglo environment. Finally, the final storyline centers around Danny and his outrageously stereotyped Chinese cousin, Chin-Kee. This final storyline is a horrifying racist character embodying the misconceptions of the Chinese people. Yang is courageous to use such dramatic elements in his storyline. Each plot slowly starts to entangle together, and the final message of the book is the common theme of acceptance and positive self identity.