The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan

Cover ImageFinished 10-12-10, rating 4.5/5, fiction, pub. 1989

The novel starts after the death of Sunyan Woo when her daughter Jing-Mei is asked to take her place at the mahjong table.  And so begins the stories of four Chinese mothers and their American daughters.  Jing-Mei finds out that before leaving China her mother abandoned two daughters and now Jong-Mei’s sisters have been found.  Waverly Jong has a daughter, but not much respect for her mother or her heritage.  Lena St. Clair is in an unhappy marriage and her mother considers herself a ghost.  Rose Hsu Jordan is getting divorced much to the consternation of her mother.

The most interesting parts of this book are the stories of the mothers and their youth in China.  I loved learning about the culture and history and how their lives changed when they moved to San Francisco.  They all seemed to have real issues with the American way of life and values and lamented how it affected their children.  It was fascinating.

As much as I loved the stories of the women there were too many to invest in completely.  There was not a resolution for every  story and that’s okay, but I would have liked one.  This didn’t really detract from the beauty of the book, but it is worth mentioning. 

I didn’t expect to love it, but I did.  It wasn’t what I expected, it was so much better.   It was fun escaping into another culture for a few hours. I will definitely be checking out more books by Amy Tan. 

This is from my personal library and was chosen by Hannah, Golda, Margot, Jackie, Staci, Jenners, Mystica, and Mom.  Here’s what they had to say…

“A modern classic, I think. Really well done.”  Jenners

“Fantastic book by a wonderful author. You’ll remember this one well after you’ve read it!”  Staci

“Because it’s an engaging tale of immigrants and generations, but also because this is one of those books that will be (or already is) a part of our collective consciousness.”  Hannah

20 thoughts on “The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan

    • Bumble says:

      I agree with Beth – that is a terrific book. I haven’t read any of her others, though I did see the movie version of The Joy Luck Club and liked it very much.

  1. Jenners says:

    I’m so glad you liked it. It did feel like an escape to another time and place. I still remember the feel of it when I read it for the first time years ago.

  2. Amy says:

    I read The Joy Luck Club many years ago and loved the book. I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did. I was disappointed when it ended because I wanted to know more… where their stories went, how they were resolved. I always hoped Amy Tan would write a sequel of sorts. I really appreciated learning about the Chinese culture and the history, too. It was fascinating.

    I’m glad you enjoyed this book so much, Stacy!
    ~ Amy

  3. Trish says:

    Isn’t it great when a book is SO much better than you expected?? Love that feeling. I started to read this when I was in high school but stopped and then didn’t return it. Got my card revoked (after finally returning the book) and never went to the public library until last year. Ha! Still meaning to read this one day, though…

  4. Prayash says:

    I first stumbled upon Amy Tan as part of a class in a community college. I randomly picked “The Joy Luck Club” among a list of book titles I was given to write a review on. It was my first year in the US and I remember being completely drawn by the second half of the book.

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