A review by dewey7962
American Panda, by Gloria Chao


I can't get over how much this book made me feel. I expected this book to be good, but I did not expect it to stir up so many different emotions. I both couldn't put it down and had to take a break between chapters to sort through everything, so most of my day yesterday was me reading a chapter, closing the book and holding it while I sat there and felt things, and then opening the book back up. I loved getting to know Mei and being able to see the similarities and differences between her culture and upbringing and my own, and I loved even more that Mei got to do the same thing after observing her friends' relationships with their families in comparison with her own. This story wasn't just Mei learning how to be true to herself, it was her realizing that what she had experienced as Taiwanese culture was only one interpretation of that culture, and that there were lots of ways to respect her parents' customs while still being who she was.