Dragon Hoops, by Gene Luen Yang
In order to get myself out of a bit of a reading slump, I’ve been smashing though some books that are new styles and genres to me. Graphic novels and comics have been high on my list lately, but I usually pass right on by sportsing books. This one looked interesting though, and that first impression was upheld by the wonder contained in its pages. A graphic novel from the point of view of the author, a teacher at a school whose basketball team were headed for a State championship, and who was looking for a new story, Dragon Hoops is fascinating. Part personal narrative, part historical exposition, part cultural analysis, it doesn’t shy away from dealing with difficult topics, like the former coach of the school who faced historical sexual assault charges, or the questions about whether treatment of individual players may have been the result of unconscious racial bias. It’s self-reflective, thoughtful, gently humorous, and so compelling that it had this non-sportsing geek girl sitting on the edge of her seat hoping for a last minute win at the championships – even though, really, that’s not what the game is all about. It’s still satisfying though, right?
The recurring motif of the importance of a single step, small but so powerful, really struck me, and had me thinking about all those steps I’ve taken in my life.
This is a compelling graphic novel. I thought I’d read it and then pass it along to someone else, but I loved it so much that I’ve just added it to my newly-created graphics shelf on my bookcase. Off to stalk the author, and get everything else he’s worked on. I love his style.