It’s been a minute since I last suggested something for Recommended Analyzing. This came across my radar this week and I knew immediately to recommend it.
Last month, author Sarah Kuhn released her second YA novel, From Little Tokyo, with Love. It follows a mixed-race Japanese American teenage girl with a hot temper who is suddenly faced with the possibility that her mother, whom she long believed was dead, might actually be alive. Along the way of discovering the truth, she navigates her feelings for both a cute actor she befriends, and about herself and where she fits in the world.
It’s a novel I didn’t expect would resonate with me so much, and this essay that Sarah did for Angry Asian Man pretty much explains why. Throughout the novel, the protagonist, Rika, comes to terms with her anger that she is always criticized for by others, where it stems from, and why it actually can be viewed as sort of a super power. Coming to terms with that anger is something directly from the author’s own life, as she recounts the moment her mother opened her eyes to what that’s all about.
Woman, particularly Asian women, are often scrutinized for not behaving what is deemed appropriate either on a cultural level or a societal level; when we behave beyond the submissive, sexist stereotypes frequently associated with us. Sarah’s essay and her novel knock those walls down in the best way possible, and as much as I wish her book existed when I was a hot-tempered teenager, I’m glad it exists for readers who identify in a similar matter.
Please go read her essay, and in turn, go read From Little Tokyo, with Love. Let the monsters roar and don’t let anyone try to second-guess the validity of your anger.