Friday, April 19, 2013

Book Review: The Joy Luck Club

I know everyone and her mother has read this book. It seems to just be one of those books that everyone reads in high school or college or whenever. I never did. Now, I'm sad I waited so long. Like Lisa See, Amy Tan is a master story teller and I find myself looking for more and more of her stories.

{Source: Goodreads}

From Goodreads:
In 1949 four Chinese women-drawn together by the shadow of their past-begin meeting in San Francisco to play mah jong, invest in stocks, eat dim sum, and "say" stories. They call their gathering the Joy Luck Club. Nearly 40 years later, one of the members had died, and her daughter has come to take her place, only to learn of her mother's lifelong wish-and the tragic way in which it has come true. The revelation of this secret unleashes an urgent need among the women to reach back and remember.
We follow four families, or more accurately four mother-daughter pairs on their journeys through emigration to the United States, marrying, having daughters, and generally living life. This novel gives a shared experience and shows inter-generational conflict that is often common among new American families. Through the Woo, Hsu, Jong, and Huang families we learn that life is not always what it seems and that our parents often have more insight into life than we give them credit four.

What I love about this novel is the way Tan weaves so many different perspectives into a narrative that culminates during the time of the novel. We follow four mothers, the members of the Joy Luck Club. We see them leave their family homes, sometimes forcibly, escape from Japanese forces during WWII, lose children and face heartache. We remember the childhoods of their daughters who want nothing more than to be like every other American teenager. We see the balance {and sometimes, the failure to balance} of these two perspectives, and we end the story with Jing-mei Woo in Shanghai.

If you are a fan of Lisa See or similar authors, you will enjoy this novel.

What have you been reading lately?

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