Learning to Fly (2008)

Jason Shen, 17, a recent teenage immigrant to Canada, lands in a small town where there are no other Chinese.  He has no friends and works part-time at his mother’s deli. To cope with his miserable life, Jason smokes pot.  But when the police arrest him, Jason must make tough decisions about friendship and responsibility.

Selected Excerpts from Reviews:

“Narrated in Jason’s wry, first-person, present-tense narrative, Yee’s slim novel packs in a lot… The clipped dialogue perfectly echoes the contemporary scene, the harsh prejudice felt by both the new immigrant and the Native American, and their gripping friendship story.”
--Hazen Rochman, Booklist, September 2008. 

"...a recent Chinese immigrant tries to find his way in a racist, corrupt society. The first half of the book is equal parts Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye and David Copperfield with its worldly, bored narrator wondering if he’ll be the hero of his own story.  Mid-way through, the book echoes Somerset Maugham’s Of Human Bondage with its characters ostracizing each other through the tyranny of style and cliques.  By its hopeful ending (the only thing that really deviates Tween Classics from Ye Olde Classics, it seems) you’ve had the complete Comparative Literature Experience—but without any of the university-level pain."
--http://www.paperjam.synthasite.com/ accessed 2008 09 23. 

"…Common to all of Yee’s works is his sensitive portrayal of Chinese Canadians’ social and psychological struggles in relation to the community in which they live. He does not provide a negative and passive reflection of Chinese Canadians who are simply victimized by the context in which they live. Instead, he suggests the possibility of empowerment and hope for his stories’ characters."
--Huai-yang Lim, CM Magazine, vol. 15 no. 2. © Manitoba Library Association. 

For teacher’s guide, please go to http://www.orcabook.com/

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