The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Rating: ★★★★ // Surprising and charming
Favorite Line: “We are lost, she and I, unseen and not seeing, unheard and not hearing, unknown by others.”
What a beautiful book. Honestly, I was not expecting to like this book, I don’t really know why I had low expectations, perhaps it was because I remember not being impressed by one of it’s excerpts I read in an American Lit. classe–who knows, but I really was expecting to be bored. I was not bored…it was precious.
The Joy Luck Club begins with a young Chinese-American woman, who takes her mother’s place at the mahjong table after her mother passes away. With her are three elderly chinese woman, all immigrants to America, and they reveal a secret about her mother that she never knew. It was then she realized she knew very little of her mother, and her realization made the other three woman reflect on their own relationships with their daughters. What follows are short stories in the voices of the daughters about their mothers and their relationships.
This book shows the difficulty of immigrating to a new country. The successes, the failures, the joys, and the false hopes. We see the older generation trying to maintain their culture, all while hoping their children are fully emerged in the American culture. This is a struggle many cultures see and many immigrants go through, but rarely is this struggle put into words as wonderfully as Amy Tan manages to do.
The stories are charming and thoughtful, and while they show the Chinese culture (something I’m not very familiar with) they also show the connection all humans have–we all have stupid fights with our mother, we all have times when our families embarrass us, and we all have people who mean the absolute world to us. It shows connection while showing differences; it shows the individual while showing humanity as a whole.
This book takes only a few hours to read, and I highly recommend it.
You can buy it here on Book Depository at a discounted price!