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The Yellow Banana by Jian Qiu Huang

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The Yellow Banana by Jian Qiu Huang

Post Number:#1  Postby MrEmDash » 26 Sep 2012, 21:15

[Following is the official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Yellow Banana" by Jian Qiu Huang.]

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The Yellow Banana by Jian Qiu Huang is a heartwarming memoir of a hardworking Malaysian teen moving to Australia to pursue a better education and a better life. Mr. Huang is part of a huge family of his parents, 8 other siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, extended family, etc. He grew up in a small town in Malaysia, which was very basic. A trip to the airport to send him off was a whole adventure in out itself! His entire family had never seen an airplane before. He left when he was 16 and moved to Melbourne, Australia to start university.

As you might imagine, moving from a small town in Malaysia to a large city in Australia is quite a radical change; especially for a teenager. As he first arrives, he barely knows where he is going to stay for the first few days, lugging around his mountain of food his family packed for him. He does eventually find a place to stay and starts school. His first real challenge is understanding the Aussie accent. In Malaysia, they learn English very literally and in an English/American accent. The Aussie accent, along with slang, made it very hard for him to understand. After a few weeks, he eventually started to pick it up.

He had a whole experience in university. From learning to work as a waiter to living in a dorm to meeting his first girlfriend, who was a "devil" to his father (all white women were). As he grew, he became more and more successful in business, as well as music, where he was an extremely accomplished singer and very popular among the night crowd. Through music, he met his first wife, Nelly. He was very happy with her and had three children. However, their marriage started to fall apart. Even though he became more and more successful and was living "the life", his life seemed to get worse and worse. She went binge partying every night, and blamed everything on him during the day. Eventually, he caught her cheating on him, and that absolutely crushed him. It sent him into an abyss he struggled and struggled to get out.

Overall, I thought the book was well composed. It was funny and quirky in some parts, and very sad and emotional and others. I also really liked how he was telling his story from university, then filling in blanks you didn't know about him previously in stories from his childhood to help you understand previous parts and the parts to come. An example is himself playing and singing music to help himself financially. He then goes back to his early teen years where he had a "boy band" of sorts and his adventures in that. The only real ding I found in this book was punctuation. I found lots of extra comma, a missing comma here and there, and the occasional run-on sentence. However, besides that, I found it to be an excellent book.

I would give this book 4 stars out of 4, because I really could not put this down. I devoured it in one sitting, and it really was an excellent read. The action was very real, and non-stop. I was impressed one person could go through what Mr. Huang has gone through. It ranks as one of my favorite memoirs I've read in a very long time. It gives very nice culture background into Malaysian culture as well as Australian. The author believes his book is not a "literary masterpiece". While it may not be, it still is a very very good book, and I highly recommend it to anyone.

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Re: The Yellow Banana by Jian Qiu Huang

Post Number:#2  Postby DanBR » 19 Oct 2013, 17:19

I like the name. Accentuating the obvious. It's like, "The Short Dwarf", or "The Flying Butterfly."
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Re: The Yellow Banana by Jian Qiu Huang

Post Number:#3  Postby Craigable » 08 Dec 2013, 03:07

Um . . . not all bananas are yellow, DanBR.
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Re: The Yellow Banana by Jian Qiu Huang

Post Number:#4  Postby Aussie-reader » 24 Jan 2014, 20:11

All the bananas I have seen in Australia are yellow (well, unless they are green unripe ones :? )

Sounds an interesting book, I like this sort of memoir.
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