I received this book as a #BookWish on Twitter all thanks to Kat Slater my book fairy 🌟🌠
The story revolves around Mei a 17 year old Taiwanese-American attending her first year at MIT for pre med who has super over bearing parents who have mapped out her life from what she should study to the kind of guy she should marry . The book shows Mei having an inner battle between the clashes of what her Taiwenese parents want and what the American culture around her represents especially with respect to want she wants to become in the future and who she wants to date & fall in love with .
But at the same time the author wanted to convey that it was just a story of one immigrant kid and other immigrant kids around her had different stories with some parents being totally cool and others embracing and balancing both the cultures.
There were many emotional aspects the book. One was the way her parents abandon her older brother because he chooses a girl who can’t get pregnant though she is Taiwanese . And how for 4 years she has no contact with him. Next was Mei’s mom. Now she was a character who grew upon me. She all the time in the beginning of the book she kept on scolding Mei about her weight and bodily appearances and finding the right Chinese guy who would also be a doctor. But in between you get glimpses of her as someone carefree who truly loves her daughter but due to her own upbringing and troubled married life and not so amazing in laws was pressed upon by her culture.
I really liked when Mei through her inner thoughts expresses that embracing the good of both the cultures (Chinese / Taiwanese & American ) was what she wanted to do. That she wanted to let go of things which were a hindrance but at the same time accept her roots. Its shown that her parents overbearingness made her actually hate her culture .
This book was a whirlwind of emotions. And made me cry a lot . The author described MIT beautifully and I have to say Mei did have a pretty cool college life where she ended up meeting Darren ( A third generation Japanese American ) who is one of the cutest love interest written in YA . How he understands Mei , her inner clashes , and is ready to be with her if she wants to be with him and not about what her parents want . He actually ends up becoming her rock.
So another thing . Mei actually had a love for dancing 💃 . Mixing up western beats to different Chinese dance forms. So we see her going through another turmoil cause her parents want her to become a doctor but she had a phobia towards germs making her coil up whenever she thought about her future .
We see her going through a whirlwind of emotions related to her future with respect to her dreams her love life and hanging on to a brother she dearly loved . Which at the same time meant going against her parents.
I just want to end with saying that read this book if you want a mix of coming of age and YA romance. Cause this book is something we all can identify with even if we belong to different cultures. This book is about standing for yourself , for your dreams cause today you might have to give up one thing because of society and culture and these things would just increase . It’s a very emotional story but humorous at the same time.
An Epiphany : I just wanted to share something about the immigrant life I have been understanding from what I read talk and see . I have realised the people who immigrated to western countries in the past from Asia were majoritorily very rich or very poor people in want of jobs. And yes they went to the western world but they took along with themselves the most regressive form of their societal principles. Today Asian minds have really opened up . I am an Indian and we don’t have marriage talks until we are actually into the job market for 3-4 years but its really surprising to see as Asian kids reach college in western world the parents start setting them up . I just feel that the kind of Indian / Chinese / south East Asian mind set you might see in the western world and feel is very regressive actually feels very regressive to me too sitting in India cause the Asia of today has accepted the good things about its culture but is also accepting the positives & openness about the western culture.
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2 thoughts on “American Panda |By Gloria Chao|Book Review|”
I want to read the book after reading this. And your thoughts on marital culture talk in India is absolutely prevalent. Well done!
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