Mona in the Promised Land
It is 1968, the dawn of the age of ethnicity: African Americans are turning Chinese, Jews are turning black, and though some nice Chinese girls are turning more Chinese, teenaged Mona Chang is turning Jewish, much to her parents' chagrin.
The Chang family has just moved to posh Scarshill, New York, where the rhododendrons are as big as the Chang family's old bathroom, and no one trims the forsythia into little can shapes. This takes some getting used to, especially since there's also a new social landscape, with a hot line, a mystery caller, and a Temple Youth Group full of radical ideas.
Mona quickly bleaches her bell-bottoms; then it's off with her friends to reform race relations. They find a cause in Alfred, the handsome black number-two cook at Mona's parents' pancake house, and pretty soon there is a mansion hideout with an underground railroad and a utopia called Camp Gugelstein.
Certain love affairs run into trouble, though. And by the end, for better or for worse, unforeseen truths of contemporary America have been memorably revealed.
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MONA IN THE PROMISED LANDUser Review - Jane Doe - Kirkus
``American means being whatever you want,'' the intensely bright and high-spirited protagonist of Jen's second novel (after Typical American, 1991) declares to her mother early in the narrative, and ... Read full review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - purlewe - LibraryThing
I am a huge fan of Gish Jen. I don't know when I first encountered her, but I like her stories about growing up in America. Read full review