Tag Archives: Mixed Race

Anne Liu Kellor’s ‘Heart Radical’ is an Ode to Heritage and Belonging

by Zoe Ramos

The memoir Heart Radical: A Search for Language, Love, and Belonging by Anne Liu Kellor, a Seattle-based writer and teacher, is praised by Cheryl Strayed as “insightful, riveting, and beautifully written,” and it lives up to every bit of those words. Heart Radical is a well-rounded and truly transcendent book, with relatable sentiments and experiences for readers from a diverse range of backgrounds. 

Heart Radical, Kellor’s first book, begins with young Anne as a newly independent, mixed-race Chinese American college graduate. She embarks on a journey to China with the hopes of securing a job as an English teacher in Chengdu. Not only is she far from her home and the people she knows best, but she also experiences an identity crisis while learning to balance her heritage from a new perspective. She goes from being a Chinese outsider in America to an American outsider in China within the span of a few days. Multiracial and multilingual readers will appreciate the extent to which Anne exhibits the base struggles that come with being the literal embodiment of unity between two cultures, but never being allowed to truly be a part of either as a result. She feels both too Chinese to be American and too American to be Chinese. 

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