• Which Side Are You On

  • A Novel
  • By: Ryan Lee Wong
  • Narrated by: Scott Takeda
  • Length: 5 hrs and 38 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (11 ratings)

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Which Side Are You On

By: Ryan Lee Wong
Narrated by: Scott Takeda
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Publisher's Summary

How can we live with integrity and pleasure in this world of police brutality and racism? An Asian American activist is challenged by his mother to face this question in this powerful—and funny—debut novel of generational change, a mother’s secret, and an activist’s coming-of-age

Twenty-one-year-old Reed is fed up. Angry about the killing of a Black man by an Asian American NYPD officer, he wants to drop out of college and devote himself to the Black Lives Matter movement. But would that truly bring him closer to the moral life he seeks?

In a series of intimate, charged conversations, his mother—once the leader of a Korean-Black coalition—demands that he rethink his outrage, and along with it, what it means to be an organizer, a student, an ally, an American, and a son. As Reed zips around his hometown of Los Angeles with his mother, searching and questioning, he faces a revelation that will change everything.

Inspired by his family’s roots in activism, Ryan Lee Wong offers an extraordinary debut novel for fans of Anthony Veasna So, Rachel Kushner, and Michelle Zauner: a book that is as humorous as it is profound, a celebration of seeking a life that is both virtuous and fun, an ode to mothering and being mothered.

©2022 Ryan Lee Wong (P)2022 Blackstone Publishing

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hilarious, dead serious, and insightful

This first novel is a funny and insightful take a heavy topic: police brutality and Black Asian community relations. Wong recounts real world events to weave a narrative that draws attention to racial injustice while also contextualizing and complicating our understanding of the issues that are tearing at us today. The book is also a coming of age story of a young man trying to make sense of the world that appears neither logical nor fair. Reed, the protagonist, draws on his sharp and witty mother and his kindly and wise father for intergenerational lessons that challenge his woke language, yet keep him true to his quest for a more humane and socially just world. It’s a important and delightful read.