In Big Little Man Alex Tizon fearlessly penetrates the core of not just what it means to be male and Asian in America, but what it means to be human anywhere. Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild
Part candid memoir, part incisive cultural study, Big Little Man addresses and explodes the stereotypes of Asian manhood. Alex Tizon writes with acumen and courage, and the result is a book at once illuminating and, yes, liberating. Peter Ho Davies
A searing, brave look at the experience and psyche of the Asian American male
Alex Tizon landed in an America that saw Asian women as sexy and Asian men as utterly sexless. When he immigrated from the Philippines as a young boy, his steady diet of American television and movies taught him to be ashamed of his face, his skin color, his height; at every sporting event he feared, with good evidence, that the yellow man will lose.
His observations of sex and the Asian American male as funny as they are fierce include the story of his own quest for love during college in the 1980s. It was a tortured tutorial on stereotypes that still make it hard for Asian men to get the girl. Tizon writes: I had to educate myself on my own worth. It was a sloppy, piecemeal education, but I had to do it because no one else was going to do it for me. Here Tizon s memoir shifts seamlessly to history, as he illuminates his youthful search for Asian men forgotten or ignored men like Zheng He, the fifteenth-century Chinese admiral who sailed the world in an astonishing fleet long before the European explorers, but had no place in Tizon s American history books or classrooms.
And then, a transformation. First, Tizon s growing understanding that shame is universal: that his own just happened to be about race. Next, seismic cultural changes from Jerry Yang s phenomenal success with Yahoo! Inc., to actor Ken Watanabe s emergence in Hollywood blockbusters, to Jeremy Lin s meteoric NBA rise.
Finally, Tizon s deeply original, taboo-bending investigation turns outward, tracking the unheard stories of young Asian men today, in a landscape many still find complex but that increasingly makes room for powerful, dynamic Asian American men.
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