American Born Chinese

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang was picked up on a whim and it’s excellent. It has three main characters: Jin Wang, a Chinese boy who wants to be All-American (which means white, at least in his eyes and his classmates eyes), the goddamn Monkey King who has his own problems, and Danny, who is ‘All-American’ and suffers from visits from his cousin Chin-Kee that end so badly he has to constantly keep transferring schools.

They’re three separate stories that came together in a way I really was not expecting.

There’s parts of this where kids are cruel enough that it hurts to read, especially on the tail of something that I’d just read in Johnny and the Bomb by Terry Pratchett (gonna be done that today) and it’s a good example of how kids can be horrible for no good reason. And it’s placed so expertly you can see why Jin makes the decisions he does.

Plus any scenes with the Monkey King are great. Gene Yang draws him with the best face.

Art was excellent, and the story was great. I recommend this without reservation.

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