Amanda Northrup's Reviews > Boxers

Boxers by Gene Luen Yang
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's review
Mar 30, 2014

really liked it

Before reading this book, I knew absolutely nothing about the Boxer Rebellion. After reading Saints, I plan to do some research because - Wow - it's hard to believe that these atrocities are so recent and that I never learned about them. Is it because Europeans were so awful to the Chinese people in the name of Christianity?

This book used no rose-colored glasses.

And it was terribly hard to watch our main character transition from an opera-loving little boy who just wants to be like his brothers, into a savage killer of women and children.

I thought it was interesting how the plot merged reality with the mystic, as the men seemed to take on the form of their gods during battle. I'm not entirely sure that this technique was effective, though. At times I lost track of what was really happening and who was really fighting during the battle scenes. At first I though this technique was to make the villagers seem "right," but as they descended into atrocities, the sheen wore off. Why, I wondered, did Yang have one of the gods pushing so hard for savagery? Still not sure. Is it so say that these men believed that what they were doing was right and righteous, just as the Christian Europeans committed atrocities in the name of their religion?

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