“This was a very interesting book. It is targeted for adults, so it wasen't very easy for me to read. It had some parts that were not appropreiate for children, but overall it stayed pretty clean. The main idea of American Shaolin is a scronny kid wants to be more brave, couragus and not afraid...”see full review » see other reviews »
Didn’t Like It
“the book american shaolin is not a book i would tell people to read because it was a boring book that is basicly a dairy of this guy matt that drops out of his college to go to china to learn kungfu in the shaolin. Then he gets to china and the people there only be his friends because he has...”see full review » see other reviews »
“This was a very interesting book. It is targeted for adults, so it wasen't very easy for me to read. It had some parts that were not appropreiate for children, but overall it stayed pretty clean. The main idea of American Shaolin is a scronny kid wants to be more brave, couragus and not afraid anymore. He decides to go to the Shaolin Temple. When he gets to China he already knows Manderian Chinese, but he flew in to Begjing. He was wondering why he couldn't understand anyone, and noone could understand him, he was not aware that they don't speak Mandarin.”Kyle P wrote this review Sunday, January 13, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I re-read this book for my teacher's book club meeting. I actually think that I admired Matthew Polly more this time. Last time, he seemed so young and his priorities sometimes laughable. This time, he still seemed young and laughable, but I also saw how culturally astute he could be. I admired his cleverness and cultural sensitivity more this time around.
My favorite part of this book is still the part where he discovered the main difference between American and Chinese heroes and how the Chinese define courage. He had brought back some American kung fu movies from the States after he visited home on Christmas. So he was sitting around with Shaolin monks watching David Carradine and Van Damme, etc. One of the kids asked him when Van Damme was going to die. He answered explaining that American movie heroes never die. The kid answered "Then they aren't heroes." When Matthew Polly asked for more of an explanation, the star Shaolin monk cut in and said, "Because it doesn't take much courage to fight when you still believe you can win. What takes real courage is to keep fighting when all hope is gone." It made me think about how most people in the world think of Americans as naively optimistic and smirk at our Disney endings and expectations. I think that they have a point about courage, though. I will never forget this part.
I didn't like Matthew Polly's attitude toward women in this book. He was selfish, even unkind. In the last third of the book he has sexual relationships with a couple Chinese women and he tells one very raunchy joke at party. I think that some parents would be uncomfortable with those parts of the book.
I absolutely love how much I learned about Chinese culture from this book and how much his situation amused me. I loved the epilogue where he went back to visit 10 years later because it was revealing and pulled on my heartstrings a bit. I recognized and remembered how it was for me going back to places that I had been and seeing how it was no longer mine, that I no longer had a place there. It happens to us all.”
“very neat. i'd love to do this myself!”jimmyrat wrote this review Thursday, July 19, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“the book american shaolin is not a book i would tell people to read because it was a boring book that is basicly a dairy of this guy matt that drops out of his college to go to china to learn kungfu in the shaolin. Then he gets to china and the people there only be his friends because he has forien money that is worth a lot of in the black market. Then this boy has to go find somebody to help him find the shaolin temple that may or may not be there. so he gets on a train to the north temple that was rebuilt and when he gets the he goes to a motel and turns away sex to learn how to do kungfu. how in there right mind would turn down free sex to go learn kungfu.
This book has a good story line but it is a dairy and nobody wants to read a dudes dariy”
“Starts out a little bit slowly, but is a good book which you want to keep reading. I enjoyed the parts about fighting and the other monks, especially Deqing, the most. I wish there had been more about them and less about women and such. ”Mercy H wrote this review Friday, May 11, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
quick read, Chinese culture”
“American shaolin was a great book. In the book Matthew Polly goes from a skinny nerd to a strong kung-fu man. I like how Matt went through several girls but never found one that wanted to stick with him. He really sucked at kung-fu at first even though he studied it for 3 years. Now that I think about it, Matt became pretty courageous in the book. When John was scared of the mafia Matt went to the guy that messed with John and scared him off.
I liked everything about. I can't name one thing I didn't like.
Matthew Polly was a Princeton student that was always being bullied. He was weak and cowardly. But he wanted all that to change. He used all of the money he had saved up to move to China for a few years. There he would train to become a Kung-fu master. When he arrived in China many people were astonished by how he was very fluent in Chinese. After a long time of searching he finally found the Wushu Center. He became a student to a kickboxer and several other masters. They monks and masters enjoyed picking on Matt because he was unacustomed to the Chinese ways.
“This book was an outstanding non fiction book that stood out to me. This book is about a young scrawny boy named, Mathew Polly. Matt is college boy, who decides to get rid of everything that is wrong with him. He starts off with 'ignorant' as number one and goes to college to get rid of it. Next is 'cowardly' and he thought that to get rid of that he had to learn kung-fu, in China. Matt's prepares for his trip knowing he is leaving everything behind to go study a certain martial arts called, Shaolin Kung-Fu. He goes off to China only knowing some Chinese in search of the Shaolin Temple to study kung-fu. Matt is not familiar with things in China, so he gets lost, but eventually finds the temple. Afterwards he gets in and devotes all his time to learn as much as he can. Matt goes through a lot of training and experience when he studies kung-fu. Eventually Matt wants to become at master as kung-fu and 'cowardly' was removed from his list.
I enjoyed this book very much, even though the story was true. I usually prefer non-fiction books, but this was just so amazing. I enjoyed this because Matt managed to do something that I would think is impossible. Matt just left everything he had behind, and just flew to China, all to learn kung-fu. Matt probably really wanted not to be thought as or called a coward. He wanted to stand up for himself. I also like the kung-fu in this book, because I always thought martial arts, was pretty neat. Overall this is a good book, and you could learn some things from this.
Even though this was a good book, it has its spots that lessened my interest in it. Everything has its downfall. In this book one thing that bothered me was that the Shaolin monks beat a certain part of their body until it was impervious to damage. I don't understand how they would do that, because that would hurt, a lot. Some other things were this book had a little harsh language that was used. This book was good overall, but all those little things make it only four stars out of 5.
“This book suprised me a lot. I never thought that I would be interested in kung fu or China, but after reading this I am. Matthew Polly wrote this book in a very easy to read way, it jumped from topic to topic but it flowed.It stayed on a topic just long enough to keep your interest, and then the topic changed before you could get bored. It was also nice how he added in the Chinese words to add to the affect.
Through out the book you watch Matt grow slowly as he checks the items off his list. You see him become a whole different person by the end of the book. He may still be a boy/not yet a man, but he has progressed so much. ”