Category Archives: Reviews

Revisiting Ross Gay’s The Book of Delights

Wakes of Joy: On Ross Gay's "The Book of Delights" | Porter House Review

All writers are given the same piece of advice to write each and every day; Ross Gay took on this challange and made it literal. 

And so The Book of Delights was born, Ross Gay’s collection of personal essays, a one-year project beginning and ending on Gay’s birthday. Each piece is framed around the blissful premise of capturing the little pleasures in everyday life. 

The topics of the delights range from the smallest joy, like a “Flower in the Curb,” where Gay recounts seeing, “some kind of gorgous flower, mostly a red I don’t think I actually have words for, a red I maybe only seen in this flower growing out of the crack between the curb and the asphalt…”  (Gay 9). 

In addition to the light moments, Gay reveals truths that ask his reader to think. A writer of color, Gay raises the issue of inequality throughout the text, like when he discusses his friend’s book : 

“…the fact that innocence is an impossible state for black people in America who are, by virtue of this country’s fundamental beliefs, always presumed guilty. It’s not hard to get this. Read Michelle Alexander’s New Jim Crow. Or Devah Pager’s work about hiring practices showing that black men without a record receive job callbacks at a rate lower than white men previously convicted of felonies… (Gay 25).”

This perspective that Gay shares invite his readers not only to be appreciative, but critical, of their surrounding world. More serious themes such as this are interwoven throughout the novel, balancing the existing uplifting moments. 

As a reader, this feels more authentic to read than a book solely about delights. It’s not realistic to have a positive outlook every day for an entire year. Gay’s balance of the ideas he wrestles with in daily life, along with the little joys he experiences make for a reliable narrator. 

The Book of Delights is a great read that asks its reader to reflect on life’s positive experiences, amid times of uncertainty and negativity. Its essay-like structure of one delight at a time makes it easy to breeze through, since it is connected by a premise more than a plot. It’s positive tone will put you in an uplifting mood and help you to notice the daily delights in life than go often overlooked. 

– Charleigh

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The Coronavirus Novel

World's Largest Mall, Now Abandoned, Might Become New Amazon Fulfillment  Center | HuffPost

The Simpsons “predicted” the 2016 election results and medium Laurie Garrett foresaw the 90’s AIDS epidemic. Whether this is truth or coincidence, Ling Ma’s telling of a devastating pandemic in her novel Severance is uncanny. 

Written in 2012, the apocalyptic-fiction novel has resurfaced since the pandemic began. Severance tells the story of a New York Bible publisher, Candace Chen, who wakes up and the world as she knows it has shut down. 

This turn of events happens after Shen Fever, an airborne fungal infection, emerges from a production facility in Shenzhen, China. No one knows how the infection reached the United States, but it is not long until it reaches the rest of the world. Citizens become “fevered,” experiencing cold and flu-like symptoms, tiredness, dizziness, vomiting, and ultimately a loss of consciousness. 

Reading Severance in the pandemic, with cases increasing yet again, is a surreal experience. There is desperate talk of a vaccine. Infection rates climb, as does the death toll. Everyone is fleeing New York. The United States implements a travel ban. Working in-person shifts to working from home. For jobs deemed “essential,” each employer is mandated to provide its workers with sanitation supplies. Ma even depicts mask wearing, such as the safety and discomforts a hot, N-95 mask can bring. In one exchange, a character nastily asks Candace “Where’s your mask?” when she forgets hers.

Even the naturalism seen in the pandemic appears in the novel. While we saw deer and wild boar freely roam cities, and South African lions napping in the street, Candace too experiences a similar return to nature. She finds and photographs a horse in Times Square running, “purposefully, cheerfully, unhurried, down Broadway.” It is as if a horse had perfect business being in midtown, making the sight all the more strange. 

The monotony of living through a shutdown also comes through in the novel, as characters pass the time trying on clothes and rearranging furniture. Most of the characters look to the media for guidance and answers, as The New York Times keeps a tally of those who become fevered. Candace starts a blog aimed to capture the post-apocalyptic feel of New York City — empty streets, still subway tunnels, and abandoned food carts are all shared online with her followers. 

After closing Severance, I wondered, how could someone capture this situation years before it happened? Was this coincidence no different than a TV sitcom, predicting a presidential candidate? Or is Ling Ma a prophet? 

I settled on an imaginative and thoughtful composer.

-Charleigh

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In Need of a New Read? Check Out These Titles

“Books shed light unto the darkness. Darkness retreats one letter, one line, one page at a time,” said writer Kiyoko Yoshimura. Remembering that books hold the incredible power to enrich and educate can be a lifeline, especially during turbulent times like these.

If you’re craving a deep-dive into a title that makes you think, critique, and reflect, check out these 8 well-reviewed books:

NONFICTION

1. Joe Biden: The Life, the Run, and What Matters Now by Evan Osnos is a “fast-paced biography that draws on extensive interviews with his subject, as well as with Obama and a host of Democratic party heavyweights. In pursuit of brevity it races through the many personal dramas of a tumultuous life and deals only perfunctorily with Biden’s surviving son … This book suggests Biden has the capacity for self-reinvention,” according to Julian Borger, of The Guardian.

2. Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath by Heather Clark is an “incandescent, richly researched biography … Red Comet takes us on a literary picaresque, drawing on untapped archives, Plath’s complete correspondence, interviews with surviving members of the couple’s social and professional circles, and, most crucially, on Hughes’ journals and letters… A bravura performance, Red Comet is the one we’ve waited for,” The Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Hamilton Cain stated.

3. Kindred: Neanderthal Life, Love, Death and Art by Rebecca Wragg Sykes “explains in splendidly engaging prose why this fact is cause for wonder and celebration … What Wragg Sykes has produced in Kindred, after eight years of labor, is masterful,” says NPR writer Barbara King. “Synthesizing over a century and a half of research, [Wragg Skyes] gives us a vivid feel for a past in which we weren’t the only smart, feeling bipedal primate alive. That feel comes across sometimes in startlingly fresh ways.”

4. Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson includes “vivid stories about the mistreatment of Black Americans by government and law and in everyday social life—from the violence of the slave plantation to the terror of lynchings to the routines of discourtesy and worse that are still a common experience for so many—retain their ability to appall and unsettle, to prompt flashes of indignation and moments of sorrow,” as stated by Kwame Anthony Appiah, a writer of The New York Times Book Review. “The result is a book that is at once beautifully written and painful to read.”

5. After the Last Border: Two Families and the Story of Refuge in America by Jessica Goudeau is considered required reading for anyone looking to understand the United States in the Trump era, according to Mimi Swartz in The New York Times Book Review: “Goudeau understands the metaphorical power of a beloved courtyard where family gatherings will never occur again, and the fear inspired by the sideways glance of a newly minted government soldier who may or may not be a friend on any given day … Reading After the Last Border will make you wish that more Americans would take a critical look at themselves and ask whether we are who we want to be, or whether we have lost our allegiance to the dreams that still inspire so many to try to reach our shores.”

FICTION

6. Memorial by Bryan Washington, author of Lot, is “a new and nuanced rom-com, and what truly makes Memorial extraordinary—especially the final section—is Washington’s uncanny ability to capture the elusive essence of love on nearly every page… if there’s one book you should go out of your way to read in 2020, it should be this one,” as Alexis Burling from The San Francisco Chronicle said in her review.

7. The Weekend by Charlotte Wood is a work described as being “more Big Chill than Handmaid’s Tale, with a dash of Big Little Lies and an echo of Atwood’s The Robber Bride. Wood uses the classic theatrical set-up of a house party to concentrate tension in a tight space. If she were Agatha Christie this would lead to murder, but her characters’ emotional blow-ups are closer to those in David Williamson’s Don’s Party or Rachel Ward’s recent film Palm Beach… Behind the laughs there is deep humanity, intellect and spirituality, qualities that mark The Weekend as much more than old-chook lit … The Weekend is a novel about decluttering and real estate, about the geometry of friendship, about sexual politics, and about how we change, survive and ultimately die,” as said by The Guardian’s Susan Wyndham.8.

8. The Cold Millions by Jess Walter is “a tremendous work, a vivid, propulsive, historical novel with a politically explosive backdrop that reverberates through our own… Walter is a Spokane native, and he captures both the depth and breadth of this moment in his hometown’s history … gives us the grand tour, with a bounty of crime and intrigue and adventure anchored by an unforgettable ensemble cast … About half of the novel is narrated in the third person from Rye’s point of view, but Walter brings in a multitude of first-person voices to bring the world roaring to life,” according to Steph Cha, from USA Today.

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Meat Symbolism in Han Kang’s The Vegetarian

That red juice oozing out of your steak isn't blood

If you’re looking for a terrific and horrific read this Halloween season, look no further than Han Kang’s The Vegetarian. (Please Note: The Vegetarian is a psychological horror/thriller novel and may not be suited for all readers. The book depicts violence/sexual violence, mental illness, and abuse, so please be advised before reading). 

The Vegetarian is written in three parts with three narrators. Part one follows protagonist Yeong-he and is narrated by her husband, Mr. Cheong. As a psychological thriller, this novel focuses on the psychological trauma Yeong-he experiences, and the mental anguish of those around her.

Mr. Cheong isn’t the best husband: he opens the novel by saying his wife is average. His narrative tone is that of a superior partner in a relationship, and the way in which he speaks to his wife indicates mistreatment. 

We learn Yeong-he is undergoing a significant change. After waking up from a nightmare, she vows to never eat meat again. Meanwhile, Yeong-he’s personality is becoming muted. She turns socially withdrawn and quiet, as if she is experiencing depressive symptoms. 

Yeong-he’s repulsion toward meat could speak to a greater symbolic meaning: the repulsion toward her own husband. Psychoanalytic theorist and philosopher Julia Kristeva writes about this very topic of abjection, or the feeling of horror that causes the subconscious and unconscious mind to confuse the self with the other. Regarding food as an example, Kristeva writes: 

“‘I’ want none of that element, sign of their desire; ‘I’ do not want to listen, ‘I’ do not assimilate it, ‘I’ expel it. But since the food is not an ‘other’ for ‘me,’ who am only in their desire, I expel myself, I spit myself out, I abject myself within the same motion through which ‘I’ claim to establish myself.” 

When considering the text from a feminist lens, the symbolic implications of meat are hard to ignore.  From a physical standpoint, meat is flesh and body, and often contains blood. It’s a common trope in art for meat to represent masculinity.

Yeong-he’s disgust towards meat could be because she unconsciously likened it to something primal. Meat could be the threat she is misinterpreting to harm her own reality. Not eating meat goes against her husband’s wishes, and is an exercise in control. 

This reading would suggest Mr. Cheong and masculinity itself is Yeong-he’s real problem, not her unwillingness to eat meat. Ironically, Mr. Cheong becomes more domineering to try to combat this eating issue, and Yeong-he’s mental state only worsens. 

If you’re curious like to learn what happens to Yeong-he and want to curl up with a page-turning thriller,  I recommend The Vegetarian.

-Charleigh 

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Reading Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments in Late 2020

Like many others in my age demographic, I was first introduced to Margaret Atwood through the television series adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale. After watching a thrilling season finale during 2018, I went to a local bookstore and bought the book for myself.

I was in Oxford at the time, so I paid for my copy in pounds instead of dollars. Either my accent, my pace counting coins, or a combination of the two made me instantly recognizable as American. In Atwood’s signature work, the United States is no more.

The storekeeper who handed back my change told me, “I used to think highly of your country. Now I pray for it.”

The Handmaid’s Tale paints a grim picture of a worst-case scenario, but the patriarchal society in the book did not emerge fully-formed or without warning. Gilead was built one brick at a time, just like any other country. Atwood’s work encourages readers to avoid making a critical misconception: “Something that bad could never happen here.”

Atwood only included events and crimes against humanity in her imagined dystopia that have occurred in our reality. Although The Testaments came out in 2019, Atwood’s sequel is eerily similar to the state of the U.S. in late 2020.

Separation of church and state is threatened, far-right groups are emboldened, and democracy itself is endangered. Comparisons are made even more unsettling by newly sworn-in Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett having ties to People of Praise, where she served as a “handmaid.” In 1986, Atwood stated she pulled inspiration from a “Catholic charismatic spinoff sect,” that labeled women “handmaids.” Although Atwood has yet to confirm or deny People of Praise influencing Gilead’s radicalized society, the connection still — and should — raise concern.

The Testaments speak to the slow and steady process of becoming morally compromised. The sequel begins 16 years after The Handmaid’s Tale concludes and is told by three narrators, one being the notorious Aunt Lydia. Lydia describes the order of Aunts, where women vie for power through oppressing other women and continually choosing the lesser evil. Aunt Lydia is a compelling force in the sequel, just as complex as she is detestable.

But there are two other narrators in The Testaments: Agnes and Daisy, two young, brave women. Atwood’s later witnesses are constrained by circumstances and aren’t unstoppable heroines. Their goal is more small-scale than leading a revolution, as is the objective of protagonists in other dystopian books. Simply put, Agnes and Daisy want to survive.

The Handmaid’s Tale came out in 1985, and its sequel shows small marks of its creation during the 21st century. News is referred to as “fake,” and insults like “slut” make their appearance known. Such subtle nuances embedded in Atwood’s work remind the reader that although Gilead is fictional, the comparisons between the country and the United States ring as startlingly familiar.

The Testaments does not place the reader in a comfortable position. Instead, the book challenges its audience. Aunt Lydia says, “How can I have behaved so badly, so cruelly, so stupidly? you will ask. You yourself would never have done such things! But you yourself never have had to.”

In this sequel, Atwood takes back the world she created and demands introspection and critical thinking, whereas the television show risks leaning into entertainment value and escapism.

Atwood’s The Testaments calls readers to bear witness to events, to speak out against oppressors, and not take anything at face value. The timing of such a work being readily available in paperback form could not have been better.

Read Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments here.
-Cassidy 

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Poets of Our Past: Jean Toomer

Harlem Renaissance Author Jean Toomer to Be Celebrated With Induction Into  the American Poets Corner - Greater Diversity News

The Harlem Renaissance marked the start of a period of rebirth, change, and activism that began in New York City and extended through the United States. When we think of the Harlem Renaissance, writers like Langston Hughes and Claude McKay come to mind. But what about Harlem Renaissance writers who didn’t align themselves with the movement? Have you heard of Jean Toomer? 

Jean Toomer was a poet who defied the notion of form for his time. His work incorporates prose and poetic verse in a hybrid style that was interpreted as unconventional. However, Toomer enjoyed his own rebellious nature. He spent his college years in New York City, where he published work in The Liberator and The Little Review, among other journals. 

As a biracial man, Toomer’s relationship to his race was complex. Toomer was said to be “white passing” and posed as white sometimes for his own safety. His marriage certificate from his first marriage with Margery Latimer, a white woman, indicated he was caucasian. Toomer likely passed as white in this scenario because interracial marriage was illegal.

Despite the fact that Toomer did not publicly advocate for the renaissance the same way Hughes did, his work speaks about racial identity. Consider excerpt from Toomer’s poem, “Harvest Song,” about an enslaved oat farmer:

“I am a reaper whose muscles set at sundown. All my oats are

       cradled.

But I am too chilled, and too fatigued to bind them. And I

       Hunger.” 

(Read “Harvest Song” here)

From this excerpt alone the reader can notice the complex subject matter Toomer tackles in four short lines. While spending the day collecting grain, the speaker is ironically hungry. Hunger’s duality exists as Toomer’s central message throughout the poem: a biological need, and a need for internal fulfillment. This hunger, or a wanting, speaks to the desire for freedom, from both the literal imprisonment of slavery and the mental enslavement of racism. 

Activism advocates for a political cause or a side. Like “Harvest Song,” much of Toomer’s work speaks to literature’s ability to inspire this change. 

In a 2018 article discussing the origins of Black Lives Matter, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Johns Hopkins University Chris Lebron said renaissance poets borrowed and re-purposed the same driving ideas behind the Black Lives Matter Movement. Lebron states:

“Thinkers like Hughes and Hurston were involved in the Harlem Renaissance project of presenting a vision of black cultural vitality and worth that would rework the image of black Americans that whites typically relied upon. That stream of thought runs directly into the heart of Black Lives Matter.” 

Yet if you were to ask Toomer his thoughts on the renaissance, he wouldn’t call himself an activist. More likely, Toomer would deny fighting for a cause. He would say he is a poet, simply recounting the truth he sees. 

– Charleigh

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Navigating the Hero’s Journey

A person leaves their everyday life behind, meets new friends, embarks on an adventure filled with trials and challenges, overcomes opposition, and changes their life and surroundings.

Did I describe Star Wars: A New Hope, John Green’s Turtles All the Way Down, or Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”?

It’s a trick question. I described the basic plot structure of not just all three works, but also the key plot structure outlined in Joseph Cambell’s The Hero With a Thousand Faces, originally published in 1949. In his monumental — and monomythic — work, Campbell coins the phrase “the hero’s journey” to describe a universal pattern found in stories throughout the world’s cultures.

The hero’s journey is a familiar map for readers, film fanatics, and storytellers of all formats. This archetype consists of 3 stages, where the hero:

1. Leaves their ordinary life behind (The Departure)

2. Encounters various obstacles to reach their final goal (The Initiation)

3. Returns home and shares their victory or treasure (The Return)

The 3 stages comprise individual steps. Although not every story involves each, the steps themselves are iconic enough to be recognized when pointed out.

Campbell’s writings directly influenced George Lucas’s creation of the Star Wars franchise, which in turn contributed to Campbell’s description of the hero’s journey becoming almost a prescription for movies, TV shows, and books in the 21st century.

Whether the story is on the big screen, streaming services, or your bookshelf, the hero’s journey is almost certain to make an appearance.

But what can the reader take away from the hero’s journey? Are we to assume stories that don’t perfectly follow Campbell’s descriptive structure should always be received like the last season of Game of Thrones? Should editors and publishers turn down any book that doesn’t involve the protagonist literally or metaphorically slaying a dragon and restoring peace to the kingdom?

Simply put, the hero’s journey is one of many ways to understand a story’s plot. It’s also worth remembering the tried-and-true saying: rules were made to be broken.

Intentionally subverting the hero’s journey can create an unexpected and entertaining adventure. Being familiar with Campbell’s described 3 stages and steps means the reader can more intentionally follow and appreciate the story’s plot, whether it breaks with or adheres to the hero’s journey.

For example:

Campbell believed all stories echo each other. But key differences, subtle nuances, and surprise twists are what makes each story unique.

Understanding the hero’s journey can unlock another level of enjoyment for readers and audience members. And although the hero’s journey is a popular trail to follow, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to plots. No storyteller should be afraid of breaking the pattern.

Explore the hero’s journey and Campbell’s landmark work here.

-Cassidy

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Anne With An E: A Reflection on Representation

Film and TV adaptations of novels have always remained popular with the masses. In recent times, however, adaptations have evolved to suit modern sensibilities and issues. One such impressive adaptation is Anne With An E, based on the timeless classic Anne of Green Gables written by Lucy Maud Montgomery. 

While the show retained most of the essential characters and storylines, it also introduced new characters and themes such as sexism, LGBTQ+ discrimination, racism, and feminism through Anne’s adventures in Avonlea. 

For instance, in season 2, the show featured two LGBTQ+ characters and also explored the friendship between Bash, a native from Trinidad, and Gilbert, Anne’s school rival and eventual love interest. Creator Moira Walley-Beckett emphasized the importance of this representation and stated that, “When I was first conceiving Anne With an E, I was troubled by the lack of diversity in the book, especially since Canada is such a diverse nation, both then and now.”

In season 3, the story took a bleak turn and dived into the dark parts of Canadian history — the Indian residential schools. In the first episode, Anne is shown to befriend a young Native called Ka’kwet while the rest of Avonlea is wary of the so-called “savages.” Ka’kwet’s family is convinced to send her to the residential school in hopes of a better education. However, she is forced to adopt a Christian name, cut her hair and speak only English, all under the guise of civilization. 

In one harrowing scene, Anne visits the school where the nun greets her while choir practice is in session. Though she is forbidden to see Ka’kwet, she unwittingly remarks on the joys of hearing the choir, proclaiming that “singing is a great fortifier of the spirit.” The camera then shows Ka’kwet and the children singing desolately, with a vacant gaze reflecting their broken spirits. 

From a representation standpoint, the series achieved a great milestone where the characters were portrayed by Indigenous actors and actresses who had the opportunity to narrate their story on a global platform. It also allowed an accurate depiction of the trauma faced by the children as they essentially lost their sense of identity and culture, the repercussions of which are felt even today.

Unfortunately, the show was cancelled before it could further expand this storyline and Ka’kwet’s story is left on a cliffhanger. However, it isn’t hard to imagine the outcome and sadly, it isn’t one that guarantees a happy ending. 

Nevertheless, the journey of Ka’kwet opened up a whole new conversation as a vast majority of viewers revealed their lack of awareness and shock on the issue. Many also expressed their eagerness to learn more about the residential schools. It only proves to show that in understanding issues of white supremacy and racism, awareness, representation, and education can go a long way.

Amala Reddie

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Going Back in Time with Midnight Sun

The first time I heard of Twilight by Stephenie Meyer was when I was a teen and life’s biggest issues were completing my homework and playing with friends. Twilight soon became an integral part of my life along with Harry Potter, and I still prefer the latter. However, I was drawn to the absurd yet compelling love story between Edward and Bella, for it gave me a sense of what romance was supposed to look like; something that was still relatively unexplored in Harry Potter, as it was never the central theme in the adventure and prophecy-centric series.

Now, nearly a decade later, Midnight Sun, finally hit our shelves. A retelling of Twilight from the perspective of Edward Cullen, the book was slated to be released in 2009 but was shelved when the first twelve chapters were leaked, and Meyer put it on indefinite hold until it was finished and ready for the world.

Amazon.com: Midnight Sun (9780316707046): Meyer, Stephenie: Books

Reading Midnight Sun was a nostalgic experience as I was transported back to when I had first begun reading Twilight. However, 23-year-old me was left relatively unimpressed by the novel —nearly twice the size of the original — for my idea of romance has evolved in the last few years. What once appealed to me as a young child now emerged as problematic and unhealthy. 

Moreover, the plot does not offer anything new to the storyline or Edward’s motives. The additional dialogue and scenes only serve to feed Edward’s obsession with Bella which also is less compelling than in the predecessor. 

That’s not to say that Meyer has not attempted to address some of Edward’s questionable behavior, which had become a controversial topic over the years. In one such attempt regarding Edward watching Bella sleep at night, she writes, “I was repulsed by myself as I watched her toss again. How was I any better than any sick peeping tom? I wasn’t any better. I was much, much worse.” Although a good effort on Meyer’s part, it still doesn’t detract from the fact that stalking should not be romanticized. 

In my opinion, the only fascinating and redeeming feature of this novel is that there are more interactions with the other vampire characters who are immensely multifaceted in their own right, especially Rosalie. Even though we got a peek into Rosalie’s life in the third book Eclipse, her exchanges with Edward in Midnight Sun give a better insight into the flawed complexity and guilt of her character, adding a new layer of her jealousy toward Bella who has everything she wants but cannot have. One can’t help but root for Rosalie in this situation (something I never imagined I would do)! 

In summation, Midnight Sun is a read meant for the die-hard fans who will surely enjoy seeing their favorite characters back in action. For me, it was a journey through time and how I have changed as a person and as a reader. 

Amala Reddie

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Claudia Kishi’s Everlasting Influence on Young Readers

If you loved to read as a child, chances are you devoured Ann M. Martin’s The Baby-Sitters Club. A series entirely featuring young girls grappling with divorce, illness, loneliness, and other realities of life, all while running their own business, The Baby-Sitters Club was revolutionary. As of 2000, the series has over 213 books. 

While the series was known for its theme of babysitting, tackling difficult situations, and female-centered narrative, there is a character who constantly stood out among the rest: Claudia Kishi. While also being considered the most stylish and creative girl in the group, Claudia is the only Japanese-American character. Claudia was one of the first Asian-Americans to be portrayed in children’s media, and she broke away from the stereotype of “being quiet and good at school.” Instead, Claudia is unconventional; she is an artist that struggles in school and often feels misunderstood by her family. More importantly, her Japanese heritage was not the focal point of her character but an embellishment. “With Claudia, it was a part of her, but it wasn’t the only part of her. That was huge,” says filmmaker Sue Ding, whose documentary The Claudia Kishi Club explores the legacy of the young babysitter and fashionista. 

For many, Claudia Kishi was the first “cool” literary character young Asian-Americans were able to identify with; in other words, her legacy will live on forever. Now adapted into a Netflix series, fans are thrilled to see that the unique essence and coolness of Claudia’s character lives on. Rising star Momona Tamada(who played young Lara Jean in the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, another important piece of Asian-American media) plays Claudia in the new series. Momona read The Baby-Sitters Club novels when she was younger and cites Claudia as “the first time I saw Asian representation in a book that I read at school.”  

You can watch The Baby-Sitters Club and The Claudia Kishi Club on Netflix now. You can also purchase the series here

Kelsey Allen

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