The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

Four mothers, four daughters, four families whose histories shift with the four winds depending on who’s “saying” the stories. In 1949 four Chinese women, recent immigrants to San Francisco, begin meeting to eat dim sum, play mahjong, and talk. United in shared unspeakable loss and hope, they call themselves the Joy Luck Club. Rather than sink into tragedy, they choose to gather to raise their spirits and money. “To despair was to wish bask for something already lost. Or to prolong what was already unbearable.” Forty years later the stories and history continue.

With wit and sensitivity, Amy Tan examines the sometimes painful, often tender, and always deep connection between mothers and daughters. As each woman reveals her secrets, trying to unravel the truth about her life, the strings become more tangled, more entwined. Mothers boast or despair over daughters, and daughters roll their eyes even as they feel the inextricable tightening of their matriarchal ties. Tan is an astute storyteller, enticing readers to immerse themselves into these lives of complexity and mystery.

I read The Joy Luck Club for an extra credit assignment in high school and I loved it then just as much as I do now. It’s insightful and inspiring and one of Amy Tan’s best works. Her style is so poetic that 350 pages will end up feeling like twelve.

Each woman’s story gives a different perspective on femininity and family life in America and provides a new way of understanding the obstacles that are unique to women and immigrants. I also closed it with a greater appreciation for the people who have come to the United States in hopes of achieving the American Dream, not just for themselves, but for their children and grandchildren and everyone that will come after them.

You will probably cry, question your humanity, and find some inner peace. Regardless of your nationality, ethnicity, or gender, there is something in The Joy Luck Club for everyone.


Synopsis from Amazon

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