Duarte-raised Jane Kuo explores an immigrant household’s life in ‘Land of Damaged Guarantees’ – Orange County Register

Creator Jane Kuo says writing is a method of course of and self-discovery – “figuring issues out on the web page,” as she describes it.

Her new e-book, “Land of Damaged Guarantees,” explores themes of race, immigration, and suburban American life. Written as a novel in verse – a type of narrative poetry meant for teen and middle-school grade readers – the story facilities on a Taiwanese household residing within the L.A. suburbs within the Nineteen Eighties. It’s based mostly on Kuo’s personal life experiences rising up and going to high school within the San Gabriel Valley.

“Land of Damaged Guarantees” is a follow-up to Kuo’s 2022 lyrical debut, “Within the Lovely Nation,” which explored the household’s immigration to America. Jennifer Siebel Newsom, California’s first companion, selected the e-book for her summer time studying listing for readers aged 11-14.

Kuo grew up in Duarte, just like Anna Zhang, the primary character in her novel. Anna feels completely different from her friends; she works in her household’s small meals enterprise and tries to slot in whereas serving to the household make ends meet. However when Anna discovers the household’s secret – they’re undocumented – she should navigate new duties, and her dad and mom’ worries, whereas attempting to make sense of her life and identification.

Kuo, who’s now based mostly within the Bay Space, says that is just like her personal upbringing.

“Between 1981 to 1986, I lived in america as an undocumented immigrant,” she writes within the e-book’s afterword. “When President Ronald Reagan signed into legislation the Immigration Reform and Management Act of 1986, he granted an estimated 2.7 million individuals the flexibility to use for short-term authorized standing. My household was granted amnesty and in 1996; I turned a United States citizen.”

Kuo labored in nursing for greater than 16 years earlier than deciding she wished to pursue a writing profession. She favors the novel-in-verse type as a result of it provides her “the liberty to be sparse with phrases, but in addition have an emotional punch.” Kuo stated it’s a “extra forgiving” type – permitting writers to leap round in time with out getting slowed down in particulars. It’s additionally digestible for younger readers.

Even with advanced themes of psychological well being, trauma, assimilation, the immigration system and feeling “other-ed,” Kuo stated her e-book explores these by means of the eyes of a kid, attempting to create an area for herself in “the promised land.”

Kuo performs with the imagery of an idealized America, a land of alternative for a lot of immigrants coming within the late twentieth century, and the way typically these huge goals and guarantees look completely different than imagined.

“There’s numerous stuff (within the e-book) that’s heavy – as a result of immigrant youngsters have been by means of loads. And that was my expertise and the story I wished to inform,” she stated. “It’s this concept that you just’re not only one factor. You could be so many issues. It’s about Anna’s expertise of being an outsider but in addition an insider.”

Kuo hopes that readers of all ages who learn the e-book can be taught to empathize with the characters, perceive and recognize immigrant households, and presumably even see themselves of their human struggles and tales.

“I would like this to be an encouragement to of us who’re undocumented. I would like youngsters to really feel seen – if they’ll see their expertise on the web page, then they’ll have some sense of feeling seen and understood,” Kuo stated. “However I additionally need individuals to open this e-book, and have it’s one thing utterly outdoors of their expertise, and but they’ll nonetheless see themselves on the web page.”

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