MY CHINESE-AMERICA

Provocative and mostly thought-provoking essays.

A Chinese-American professor and writer reflects on the social and cultural ramifications of his ethnic identity.

In this collection of essays, Gee (English/Georgia Coll.) engagingly probes his thoughts about living as a man of Chinese origin in the United States. Feeling different from other Americans was a constant of his life that began in childhood. Representations of Asian people he saw on TV and in the world “failed to correspond with who [he] was.” Forced to deal with Chinese stereotypes—such as math geek and music prodigy—Gee had to defend his right “to belong,” even among other nonwhites. But being considered a “model minority” didn’t always equate to better treatment. He tells the story of how a state trooper assumed criminal intent on his part because of what he looked like. At the same time, his Chinese background was also a source of fascination and even desire. Gee recalls how a young white woman asked him to a dinner and then later invited him to sleep with her. “She wasn’t interested in me as much as the idea of me,” he writes, “…based on the hue of my skin and shape of my eyes.” Cultivating visibility and nonviolent means of retaliation against all forms of anti-Asian racism is crucial. In one essay, Gee celebrates the efforts of a young man who, in 2011, combated a white student’s video rant against Asian students in the UCLA library. Commenting on the fact that he is part of a tiny Asian minority in his small town of Milledgeville, Georgia, where he lives and works, Gee remarks that his presence—like that of Chinese-American NBA star Jeremy Lin, whom he discusses elsewhere—is not just a defiant marker of difference. It is also a reminder that he is “part of the grand experiment in democracy” that is America.

Provocative and mostly thought-provoking essays.

Pub Date: May 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-939650-30-6

Page Count: 188

Publisher: Santa Fe Writers Project

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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TO THE ONE I LOVE THE BEST

EPISODES FROM THE LIFE OF LADY MENDL (ELSIE DE WOLFE)

An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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