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Yellow Face is a Fascinating Read


   Yellowface is acclaimed writer R.F Kuang’s most recent work. The novel follows an author–Juniper Hayward who plagiarizes her recently deceased friend, Athena Liu’s book, publishing it as her own. After receiving backlash from this, Hayward, who is white releases a book about mistreated Chinese laborers in World War I called The Last Front. She successively spirals into paranoia and delusion trying to stay afloat in the literary business, facing massive scrutiny and threats against her life in the process. 

   The book reads like a journal, breaking the fourth wall to connect with the audience and comment on the situation. At the beginning Hayward seems rational, but her neurotic tendencies are slowly revealed as the events unfold. She even changes her print name to Juniper Song to pass as Chinese. She finally gains the recognition and praise she has been desperately seeking for her work, but it’s all a waste when people begin to criticize her, as a white woman, for telling other peoples’ stories. The story spans over a two-year time frame, with Juniper releasing two books, The Last Front and Mother Witch. These both contain components of Athena’s writing in them, in Mother Witch the very first page is taken straight out of Athena’s old journal and The Last Front being mostly written by her. 

    The book is incredibly immersive drawing you deeper and deeper into the crazed mind of Juniper. Unfortunately, I found the ending a little lackluster, concluded with a cliche villain monologue. I expected to see something deeper to the concept of the book and not a scapegoat ending that tries to blame everything that went wrong on one person. Overall, the book was a fulfilling read that provided necessary insight into what it means to be a writer today. It contributed satirical commentary on the subject of racial diversity in the publishing industry.

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About the Contributor
Cricket Wainman
Cricket Wainman, Editor
Cricket is currently a sophomore at UHS and a Valencia Dual Enrollment student. This is her second year as a Staff Writer for The Torch and her first as an editor.  Some of her favorite hobbies are reading, playing video games, and watching her favorite shows. Cricket has four cats and loves hanging out with Ali.
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