Gao, Laura

Messy Roots: A Graphic Memoir of a Wuhanese American

(1) YA In this graphic memoir, debut author Gao wrestles with questions about her evolving sense of identity while navigating the frequently choppy waters of growing up. From her early childhood in Wuhan, China, to her years in Texas and later San Francisco, Gao's memories spring to life: adapting to life in the U.S., struggling with being stereotyped as a math whiz, journeying back to China with her family, dealing with anti-Asian hate during the COVID-19 pandemic, and eventually developing a crush on her first girlfriend. Whether satisfying her craving for White Rabbit Candy (a Chinese confection), reflecting on the Moon Maiden folktale, or imagining a video-game avatar for herself, Gao personalizes her experiences with insight and humor. Through sketched line drawings rendered with often comic expressions and complemented by warm reds and yellows, this book delivers a coming-of-age story that tackles themes of immigration, assimilation, racism, sexuality, and self-identity. An affecting and candid depiction of the universal search for one's place in the world.


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