The Collective is one hell of an interesting book. It is a well written novel based upon two main stories throughout the book named Joshua and Eric. Eric is the writing about his thoughts and life, basically an autobiography of some sort. They are both Asian American students that attend Macalaster College in Minnesota. Macalaster, or known as Mac, has a student population that is predominantly white, and Eric and Joshua are a couple of the few Asians that attend this liberal arts school. They both aspire to become writers.
In this book, the first chapter is like an ending, and after the first chapter, it starts to reveal how everything started. The book was centered around these two main characters that showed how Eric was a slowly changing character, where Joshua was not, more so a static character. He was a very self-righteous type of guy whom was very arrogant and stubborn. Joshua didn’t take advice or crap from anyone and continue to stay the same throughout his life. What makes this book interesting is seeing the development of how Eric changes throughout the book from an innocent boy to a more versed individual who started to have his own identity, rather than being consumed by the identity around him.
There are a couple reasons why I really liked this book, for starters it speaks about suicide. In most books the glance over suicides and don’t really talk too much into detail about them. For The Collective, there will be two different suicides that are of different gender and type of suicide. I found this rather intriguing because in one case you have a more “normal” suicide, and the other, you have a more “demonstration” suicide that teaches you about the differences in how people kill themselves. The next theme that I really enjoyed about this book was the ability to tie in Asian Americans and how they really are a minority in the larger scheme. When coming from the west coast, there is a hugely different culture than anywhere else. There are a large influx of different Asian cultures compared to the rest of the United States, so implementing the idea of how Asians are a minority group within the United States, was truly miraculous. The next thing that I really liked about the book was the ability to capture the imagery into one’s mind. It was as if you can see what was going on through the detailed images that Don Lee had presented.
Overall, I give this book a 9/10, and I highly suggest one to read about it, especially if you are Asian American.