Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate, Young Adult
Author: Gene Luen Yang
Publisher: Square Fish
The Monkey King is a fair and good ruler. Jin Wang is a second-generation Chinese American. Chin-Kee is a combination of most of the Chinese stereotypes. Together these characters make up the story of the American-Born Chinese, each fighting to find their place amidst the confusion of their ancestry, traditions, and the expectations and conformity they see around them. Along the road these three stories collide and merge, bringing the whole thing together and showing that accepting your cultural identity and heritage is a strength.
This graphic novel is really well-done. The author takes three stories which appear different and merges them together into something understandable and relatable. It is a story about identity, shame, cultural background, and how you want others to view you. This is very relatable, because at some point doesn’t everyone wish they could be something or someone other than themselves? The paper and print quality are simply great. The illustrations are in color and the paper is a heavy gloss, giving it an appealing feel. Overall, the book is well put together, illustrated, and structured.