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9 of 1: Publishers Weekly Review
Half comic, half textbook, and wholly readable, Chin's 9 OF 1 presents
a kaleidoscopic vision of the United States post September Eleventh, a
nation made up of countless immigrants encountering each other every
day in the most ordinary ways. In this nicely layered tale, nine
eleventh-grade classmates of diverse backgrounds are instructed to go
out and interview members of their community about their own history
and world views.
They happen to live in Fremont, California, a town
whose proximity to Silicon Valley makes it a magnet for immigrants.
Thus, we meet Maylene Abellar, a Filipino-American, who, in turn,
interviews Richard Denton, an Italian American who believes that the
U.S. must act as the world's police force. Britisher Celeste Quincy
writes about Usha Pashdar, an Afghani woman fighting from her base in
California for women's rights in her homeland. Hector Gonzalez talks to
elderly Caleb Lipman, a former Israeli soldier, and Valerie Silverberg
talks to Ahmed Mustafa, an Egyptian emigre.
Chin's formula is simple, but the juxtapositions and personal histories he presents make for a
complex work. Graphically, the pages are reminiscent of a classic
textbook turned on its ear; strong black-and-white portraiture is
tossed in with full-page landscapes, diagrams, maps, and headlines.
While an appendix of reading questions makes it clear that the book is partly
intended for classroom use, the casual reader will enjoy it as an
unintimidating primer on world cultures and politics today.
- Publishers Weekly, November 2003