A review by bookph1le
Level Up by Gene Luen Yang


I really liked the way this book handled the struggle between a young man trying to figure out what he wants from his life, but being waylaid by his parents' vision for him. As a parent, I understand the impulse to try to get your kids to take the "safe" path in life, so I like books like this, that give me perspective on the unintended harm parents can do when they push their kids in directions opposite the ones their kids want to go. It's a theme that very much resonates with me.

What I'd like to see less of is the casual sexism. I cringed when one of the male characters said he liked his women more "womanly". What does that even mean? And I'm also bothered by this author's tendency to use gendered terms as insults--feminizing men who don't confine to masculine stereotypes. That really bothers me, both because it's offensive to women (What's *wrong* with being feminine? Why do we live in a society that equates being "feminine" with being weak?), AND because it's offensive to men, who are supposed to fit into a very narrow definition of what constitutes manhood. So while I do appreciate what Yang has to say about the struggles of being an ethnic minority in the U.S., it really bothers me that he's throwing women under the bus at the same time. This is why intersectionality is crucial, folks.