Eddie Huang's "Fresh off the Boat" Book Review

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Freshman (College 1st year) ・English ・MLA ・2 Sources

Huang’s writing is commonly based on an exploration of childhood challenges faced by his family as a result of stereotyping and racism. Having been the son of immigrant parents who lived in the US, he remained prideful to his heritage and culture no matter the unfortunate experiences such as bullying and feeling unfulfilled in a boring work environment. His writing illuminates and illustrates the modern experience via Asian-Americans in situations where race would be a basis of discrimination. Huang’s belligerent, authenticity and demand to in shape in the American society gives a wakeup call to individual or readers attempting to deal with racial issues and identity questions. The book develops confidence and pride in one’s culture that inspires readers to pursue whatever fields one may be interested in without feeling racially marginalized. One of the ultimate goals of Huang’s writing is to illustrate the possible challenges in academia and how to overcome them (Huang, 2016). Huang struggled academically during his school sessions despite the fact that he was smart. His low grades did not discourage him in school instead he developed scholastic writing skills through his love for hip hop. He learnt new vocabulary and language that assisted him better his understanding of the English courses that seemed senseless to him because of the way it was taught to him by his teachers. One of the main challenges of the modern academia is the overreliance on the standard paths of teaching that most students usually struggle with.

Eddie, in the writing, leverages his interest in hip hop music to assist him level up and progress in his academic endeavours without relying on the standard paths that are challenging to him. He becomes extremely literate in NBA and is devotion to this subculture appears genuine through his love for hip hop fashion (Huang, 2013). His relationship with his peer is highly influenced by his love for his hop to the extent that he respects those whose hip hop literacy is beyond his own or matches his own. Eventually, his teachers also use his love for hip hop to demonstrate cultural diversity to other students in class. This is an effective mode of teaching in the modern world, faced with cultural differences and minority discourses that affect the system of education.

Eddie equally struggles with identity issues in high school, a situation faced by many college students who study in different countries where they face racial discrimination and stereotyping. He also suffers beatings from his parents who also disconnect him from associating with children of his age (Huang, 2013). He faces ups and downs trying to identify himself and he often experiences negative thoughts and sometimes judges himself based on the dominant discourse societal standards. Further, Eddie, in his college experience, ridicules and reviles his classmates and peers who pledge fraternities. He refuses to take part in a game requiring him to debase himself or is dignity in the white upperclassmen service. In law school, he forges connections and relationships with the other minority students through joining an Asian club. After finishing school and becoming a lawyer, he quits the profession and ventures into entrepreneurship when he decides to start a restaurant.

Huang’s writing gives rich examples of dynamic versus static constructs of identity. His work gives a clear picture of the complexity of the forces that construct identity especially through Eddie’s expressions of what he likes and dislikes (Huang, 2013). It is of great importance for students to have the ability to identify clearly and explain the different forces of identity construction such as culture, race, ethnicity, relationships with peers and family. The struggles Eddie faced such as disappointment, unhappiness and unstable levels of personal self-esteem in school reveal the importance of the concept of race as an important component of self-identity that students ought to understand.

Huang’s writings equally demonstrate the struggles of desiring financial success especially in the modern educated world. Eddie fails to control his emotions especially when relating with successful Asians (Huang, 2013). His feeling of submission to the racialized system silences him and his unwillingness to conform to approved and accepted ways of accomplishing success inevitably influences his criminal behaviour. However, Eddie eventually put all his efforts and everything he loved into the restaurant and a legacy stretching back to his roots as well as the shards of modern global culture that defined his identity.

In conclusion, Huang’s style of writing effectively fit the constraints of modern academia because the examples used in the writing to demonstrate the idea of racism, stereotyping and minority disadvantages are a true picture of the experiences faced by students and learned individuals in society. The writing is more particular and focused on individuals struggling with identity in in foreign societies with different cultures. It promotes the idea of self-esteem and pride for one’s culture as an important virtue in such societies. It discourages parents, teachers and the society at large from encouraging racism and segregation an instead appreciating different cultures and encouraging cultural integration.

Works Cited

Huang, Eddie.Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir. Random House USA Inc, n.d..

Huang, Eddie.Double Cup Love: On the Trail of Family, Food, and Broken Hearts in China. Books on Tape, 2016.

Huang, Eddie. Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir. Spiegel & Grau, 2013.

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