Title: The Joy Luck Club
My rating: 3/5
In 1949, four Chinese women, recent immigrants to San Francisco, begin meeting to eat dim sum, play mahjong, and talk. United in shared loss and hope, they call themselves the Joy Luck Club. With wit and wisdom, Amy Tan examines the sometimes painful, often tender, and always deep connection between these four women and their American-born daughters. As each reveals her secrets, trying to unravel the truth about her life, the strings become more tangled, more entwined…
A quick read about the relationship between mothers and daughters that includes misunderstandings and cultural miscommunication. The eight women are the focus in their alternating perspective vignettes which may be challenging to keep up with. It was intriguing learning of the transition and assimilation the four mothers experienced coming to San Francisco, along with their superstitions that yield success or luck. We see the struggle between the wisdom of the matured mothers versus the youth and rebelling of the daughters – assuming more than just a generational difference. Tan also hits on major themes and life experiences such as divorce, responsibility and guilt of a sibling death, sacrifice, pride, competition, etc. (all of which are among and within the family and family friends in the Joy Luck Club, intertwining their narratives further.
Quotes to leave you with:
“And even though I taught my daughter the opposite, still she came out the same way I maybe it is because she was born to me and she was born a girl. And I was born to my mother and I was born a girl. All of us are like stairs, one step after another, going up and down, but all going the same way” (Tan 215)
“They are fortunes…American people think Chinese people write these sayings…These things don’t make sense. These are not fortunes, they are bad instructions” (Tan 262)