Monday, March 24, 2014

Mini Review: 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 back 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.
'We feasted, we laughed, we played games, lost and won, we told best stories. And each week, we could hope to be lucky. That hope was our only joy. And that's how we came to call our little parties Joy Luck.'
I, personally, love family stories, and The Joy Luck Club is no exception. The book is a collection of short stories that are interconnected through the family relationships in the book. I loved this aspect because the author wove together the stories of old and new, and combined them with Chinese culture seamlessly that the short story aspect wasn't distracting at all. The mother-daughter relationships she presents are true to life, and I found myself able to relate to many of the stories for that reason. The stories presented all have a certain bitter-sweetness to them, much like real life, and this is what ultimately draws the reader in. Overall, I liked the style in which the book was written, and would definitely recommend it if you're into cultural/family literature.
Overall Rating:  3 stars

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