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Review: American Born Chinese

October 4, 2008

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang is the first graphic novel I’ve read.  I read it for the Book Awards Challenge II.  It won the Michael L. Printz Award in 2007 and was a finalist for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.  It is the first graphic novel recognized by the National Book Foundation.  American Born Chinese starts out by telling three stories.  The wonderful illustrations were colored by Lark Pien.

  • The first is the story of The Monkey King.  He wanted to rule, but he didn’t want to be a monkey.
  • The second story is about Jin Wang, a young boy who was born in America to parents who immigrated from China.  Jin Wang never feels like he fits in with the American students he goes to school with.
  • The third story is about Danny, an All-American boy who is embarrassed when his Chinese cousin, Chin-Kee comes for his annual visit.

The stories don’t tie together until the end of the book.  The book is about learning to live with and accept who you are.  It was a very quick read.  I think this book would really appeal to young males.  While this was a fun, fast read, I don’t think I’ll be picking up another graphic novel anytime soon.  I appreciate how much work went into the drawings, but they just weren’t enough to justify the price in my mind.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. sahar009 permalink
    October 4, 2008 9:07 am

    How much was it?

  2. October 4, 2008 9:13 am

    This book cost $16.95 and it took about an hour to read.

  3. October 4, 2008 9:28 am

    I admit, I’m a snob about graphic novels. I’m just Not Interested. Everyone keeps reading Maus and loving it, but I just don’t care enough to even try it.

  4. October 4, 2008 10:01 am

    My 11 yr old daughter recently decided graphic novels are for her (she also plays football every day at recess with the boys). So I will recommend this one to her. Thanks for the review.

  5. sahar009 permalink
    October 4, 2008 10:33 am

    Yeah…. 16,95$ for an hour doesn’t seem worth it to me, either…

  6. October 4, 2008 10:35 am

    My husband really wants me to start reading graphic novels, especially “The Watchmen”

  7. October 4, 2008 12:11 pm

    I just gave you a little shout out on my blog!

  8. October 4, 2008 6:36 pm

    Kathy, I think I might feel the same way as you about this genre. Enjoyable but not something I’d make a habit of reading.

    Of course, I should totally not say that since I’ve never tried it. I need to take the plunge. Everyone else is doing it 🙂

    On an aside, I received a cookbook from Random House Read It Forward. It’s an uncorrected proof of Outstanding in the Field: A Farm to Table Cookbook by Jim Denevan.

    I haven’t been cooking much lately. Would you be interested in it? I’d be happy to ship it out next time I mail books. Just email me at literarily AT live DOT com.

  9. October 4, 2008 9:23 pm

    I’ve heard really mixed things about this book. I recently read my first graphic novel (Persepolis) and really liked it but your review is kind of telling me not to make this one my next 😉

  10. October 5, 2008 9:45 am

    I’ve never read a graphic novel before. I’m not against doing so down the road, but I certainly wouldn’t spend that much money on a book I could read in an hour. I’d probably get it from the library, though.

  11. October 5, 2008 11:06 pm

    I like graphic novels, but like you said – not enough to pay for them. I get them all from the library : ) I liked this one enough – more than others I’ve read.

  12. October 6, 2008 1:24 am

    I was going to look this up in the library last year, but then my fiance called and said, “Let’s get married before Christmas,” and I forgot all about it. (He called right before American Thanksgiving, and since I hadn’t seen him since January, all thoughts of library books went right out of my head.)

    Thanks for posting about it; maybe the library here has it.

  13. sahar009 permalink
    October 6, 2008 9:18 am

    Trish, did you know that Persepolis also came out as a movie? I have yet to read the novel or see the movie, but I’m looking forward to it – and in case my name didn’t give it away, it’s because I have persian blood 😉

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