Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Boxers (Boxers & Saints) by Gene Luen Yang

China, 1898, foreign missionaries have started to convert townsfolk to Christianity.  There are those who didn't want the "foreign devils" to be in their land and erasing their heritage.  Little Bao enjoys going to the market and watching the operas and seeing stories of the gods of China.  One day his enjoyment is disrupted by a band of Christian converts lead by a Catholic priest who come to the town and destroy any signs of other gods.  With his way of life being threatened and then the natural disasters that follow, Little Bao and his brothers join a group that will be known as Society of the Righteous and Harmonious Fists.  This band of townsfolk turned solders are on a quest to return China to its original glory.  To do this, Little Bao and the Society use the power of China's gods to unite the nation as one and will destroy all who stand in their path.

Boxers is the first volume in Gene Luen Yang's two volume graphic novel story covering China's Boxer Rebellion.  By using fantasy elements, readers are swept into an engrossing narrative of the events that lead up to and surrounding the Chinese Boxer Rebellion in 1898-1901.  We follow the life of Little Bao and see the effects of the Chinese conversion to Christianity from his perspective.  With the combinations of compelling prose and stylized artwork, the reader is completely swept up into the heartbreaking events of this rebellion and the aftermath.  This title is appropriate for older teens and adults as there are more adult themes and depictions of war.  Boxers is an eye-opening look for western readers into a piece of China's history with ramifications in the present.

You can find Boxers by Gene Luen Yang on the VBPL Catalog. If you enjoyed Boxers, you may want to try American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang or Zahra's Paradise by Amir.

Review by Michelle L. Chrzanowski, TCC Norfolk Campus Library

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