Looking back on his childhood the author, Gus Lee, writes a semi-autobiography about growing up in a very abusive family and town, describing all the issues the writer has had to deal with in order to become acceptable.
Kai needs to change his identity by learning how to respect and stand up for himself in order to overcome his issues of construction of identity, assimilation and violence in America.
Kai Ting is the first born american son from a chinese family who has recently immigrated from China to a very dangerous town in San Francisco where at least 90 percent of the people are black. Kai struggles with standing up for himself since most of the time he is verbally and physically bullied, therefore he has the urge to change his identity to become or feel respected and finally have a say of his own.
“I was trying to become an accepted black male youth in the 1950s -- a competitive, dangerous, and harshly won objective. This was all the more difficult because I was Chinese.” (p.14)
Growing up in a dangerous town, Kai Ting faces physical bullying from elder men to young kids that are about 5 years old trying to prove they’re tough. Kai Ting has always lived by his mama’s saying: “ quote” therefore he’s scared to fight because he won’t risk to damage his karma, specially recently now that his mom has passed the way.
Kai is a kid who can never even be fine at home, and relax now that his mom has died. His older sisters all they do is ignore what has just happened, in order to not deal with it as they grieve. Now that Mama is gone, Kai has to face a new relationship with his father and new stepmother, a racist bitch named Edna.
Edna is completely different than Mah-mee, Kai’s mother, as Kai tries to communicate his feelings with facial expressions like he did with Mah-mee, Edna hates them, and tells him he is a burden. Edna beats Kai and abuses him emotionally as well.
Edna cares more about what people think rather than what his own...