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The Joy Luck Club

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  511,167 Ratings  ·  6,324 Reviews
The Joy Luck Club
Mass Market Paperback, 332 pages
Published June 1st 1990 by Ballantine Books (first published 1989)
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Michelle Hardigan I liked it because of the mother and daughter relationships and how the mothers do their best to keep the culture of their homeland. It is important…moreI liked it because of the mother and daughter relationships and how the mothers do their best to keep the culture of their homeland. It is important to understand some of the history of China. The time in China when these women left was very hard. The Japanese treatment of Chinese was terrible. (The rape of Nanjng) The matchmaking was/is not ideal. (People's Park in Shanghai still has many people matchmaking on Saturdays currently) There are "tiger mom's in China that insist on perfect children. I've lived in Shanghai for three years and have understood this book better.(less)
Amyob Myob Fiction, but is probably sourced in factual events in history or in Amy Tan's family stories.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jason Koivu
Why read The Joy Luck Club? Because sometimes one needs to get in touch with his inner Chinese feminine side.


Amy Tan's most famous book offered ample opportunity in that regard. The JLC is all about the relationships between Chinese moms and their daughters.

Honestly, I picked this up as part of my studies into Chinese culture. My brother has been teaching English over there for a few years now and I plan on visiting one day. As per usual, I like to read up on a place before the trip. Some peop
Apr 19, 2007 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After I read The Joy Luck Club (summer required reading before sophomore English in high school), I started pestering my mom about her abandoned children in mainland China. I also declared that I would name my two kids after the aforementioned abandoned children: Spring Flower and Spring Rain.

My mom laughed in my face about the latter, saying no self-respecting Chinese would give their kids such pedestrian names, and would be mock-pissed about the former.

The truth is that The Joy Luck Club got s
Jul 18, 2015 Jenna rated it liked it
It's not fashionable to profess a liking for The Joy Luck Club. In both academic and literary circles, Tan has been maligned for her seeming misandry and racial self-loathing, raked across the coals for her largely negative portrayal of Asian/Asian-American men and for marrying off all her Asian-American female characters to white men. She's been dismissed for writing "chick lit," lightweight family melodrama laced with orientalist cliches. She's even been accused of being politically reactionar ...more
May 22, 2007 Joe rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Best Quality people
Ok, I admit it, I was obsessed with Amy Tan my first year of college. I learned all there was about her, read The Joy Luck Club, and finally I gave up hope.
As a freshmen, at Linfield College, I was astonished that Amy Tan could have possibly walked the same hallowed halls of Melrose, perhaps sat in the same offices in the English department, or read a book in Northrup's astro-turf room.
My daydreams were filled with her coming over to my dorm room to have tea and "talk literature." She would tel
Apr 15, 2012 Thomas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Thomas by: Esther
Those of you who read my blog are most likely aware that my relationship with my mother is not all bouncing bunnies and beautiful butterflies. As an American-born son raised with traditionally Asian standards, my childhood has been filled with conflicts resulting in screaming matches and bountiful tears. So reading The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan was quite the vicarious experience - though I am not Chinese nor a daughter, I could connect to several of the themes that ran throughout the novel.

The in
Oct 12, 2011 Rachel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I feel a little torn on this one . . .

What I liked:
- I really enjoyed seeing story lines and character relationships come together in the last third of the book.
- The peek into Chinese culture was interesting and new to me.
- I like the idea of mother-daughter relationships represented.

What I didn't like:
- I don't enjoy waiting until the last third of a book to be interested. I really found the majority of this book pretty slow. And I'm totally okay with slow as long as it has some other redeemin
Aug 17, 2007 Ngoc rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I love this book! As a first generation child in this country (my parents immigrated from Vietnam), I could really relate to the girls in the story. I was the girl who played piano, always being forced to practice. Although I loved music and was a talented pianist, I quit because I couldn't deal with the pressure anymore. It wasn't for my enjoyment, it was to please my parents (or at least that's what it seemed like). I think we all have ways of dealing with the pressures of childhood.

A differe
Amy Tan's very successful first novel was a national best-seller, a finalist for the National Book Award, and was made into a movie. It is a novel about four Chinese mothers who came to America during World War II, and their four Chinese/American daughters. The mothers quietly hold on to their past, their culture, and it's traditions, while adapting to their American life. They try to pass the essence of what is most important about their old culture on to their daughters, who, being born in Am ...more
Jan 21, 2015 Zanna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars

The blurb on this edition focusses on the struggles of mothers and daughters to understand and help each other, and Tan's skill in conveying emotions. As usual, there is no acknowledgement of the book as a feminist work, so I'm going to begin by hailing it as such in all its woman-oriented glory. Aside from the fact that men are merely accessory to all of the narrative strands, and that the majority of conversations are between women and girls, Tan positively critiques patriarchal trope
Jan 29, 2016 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Joy Luck Club is a great book. It tells the stories of four women who were born in China but were forced to leave due to various tragic circumstances, and their four daughters who were all born in America. The novel explores the cultural divide between the two generations of women and explores how national identity influences people's lives.

The daughters are all, to some degree, frustrated by their mothers' inability to shake off their anachronistic Chinese superstitious behavior (as their d
I gave The Joy Luck Club two stars, but that ranking is based solely on my personal enjoyment of the novel. I feel, quite honestly, that I do not have any business judging the quality of Amy Tan's most famous work.

I am a white, bearded, slightly overweight, off-kilter, stay-at-home Dad/author who teaches part time at a Canadian university and full time at home. I love dark and violent American literature. I love speculative fiction. I love Aubrey/Maturin. I love Shakespeare. I love Keats and Byr
Aug 08, 2016 Mary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2012, china
It amazes me that The Joy Luck Club is almost 25 years old, yet I'm not sure why as it seems as though I've known about it for most of my life. It's just one of those books everyone seems to have heard of. Why I put off reading it for so long I can't say. Though this book didn't quite live up to my expectations, I'm glad I read it.

I think the main problem was that the book felt like it needed to be longer. There were eight central characters, four mothers and their four daughters, and with the c
Aug 16, 2008 Jaclyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mothers and daughters. Mothers and daughters and families losing and finding each other across cultural boundaries. There's enough material there for Amy Tan to write a thousand books.

Suyuan Woo has died and left an empty place at the mah-jongg table. Her daughter, Jing-Mei "June" Woo is invited to join the game, which her mother named the Joy Luck Club. There must always be four men and four women in the club, and Jing-Mei's father has chosen her to take his wife's place. Through her mother's f
aPriL does feral sometimes
Amy Tan's 'The Joy Luck Club' is a monumental novel about the epic love of Mothers and Daughters (so everyday common that all societies ignore the miracle and beauty of it). These mothers and daughters are connected by their genes, but also separated by their culture and life experiences despite living under the same roof for decades - but all are very very very fortunate with the joy and luck of each one growing up loving each other.

To me, this seems to be almost a Great Book, but with much mo
Aug 24, 2010 Jasmin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who has a mother. In short, EVERYONE :)
The Joy Luck Club is: hold parties and pretend each week had become the new year. Each week we could also forget the wrongs done to us. We weren't allowed to think a bad thought. 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.

A mahjong table. Four positions to fill. The North, West, East and South. A game where the winner takes all,
Aug 28, 2011 Emily rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I disliked the book because although some parts were well written, overall it was just rather repetitive. It is nearly impossible to tell all of the mothers and all of the daughters and their respective love interests apart. All of the mothers have the nearly the same issues as do all of the daughters. It would be a better book of the story were not repeated so many times that it loses it's color. It makes it seem like Amy Tan is a one trick pony. This book also has nearly the exact same plot as ...more
Mothers and their daughters, difficult bonds, different generations, different cultures, brought together in this novel.

Four Chinese mothers and their four respective daughters tell stories about their lives, their weaknesses, and how they view each other. What is was like to grow up and it's wonderful to appreciate the different perspectives and strong stories that are portrayed.

I really wanted to love this book, it just felt choppy. I felt that the stories pulled the story apart, so it read mo
This book had really good writing and interesting characters. I went into this thinking it was one big story and I was disappointed to find it was not. It was a bunch of short stories that interconnected sort of like Olive Kitteridge. I think I would have been more emotionally invested in it had it been one story where the characters could really grow into themselves. With that said, I am excited to try some of Tan's other books.
Jan 20, 2017 Katie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-voices
I have mixed feelings about this one so I'm still trying to make my mind up whether this is a three or four star read.
The Joy Luck Club is a tremendously well written book filled with passion, emotion, and love that arises from family interactions. This book is written in the form of eight vignettes, four from four different women (the mothers) and four from their daughters. This book concentrates on four Chinese American immigrant families that start this "club" for playing the traditional game of Mahjong. The story begins with June Woo who had just lost her mother to an aneurysm. She was chosen to replace her ...more
This is a beautifully written novel that describes the lives of four Chinese mothers, who left China for America, and their Chinese-American daughters. All the characters are well developed and the personalities of each one come through very strongly. The stories of the mothers' lives in China are sensitively and delicately combined with the perceptions of the daughters, making the novel eloquently poignant tale. The author captures the complexities of the relationships between the mothers and d ...more
Kwesi 章英狮
Feb 05, 2011 Kwesi 章英狮 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned, amy-tan, 2011
Review will be posted soon..

Rating - The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, 4 Sweets and the rich culture and beliefs of Chinese-American family. (A fast paced book and it was divided into short stories and lives of the characters. Recommended to everyone to those people who have no time to read. Simple and creative, a mixed Chinese-American culture book.)

Book #3 for 2011
Book #3 for Off The Shelf!
Shelfari - Flips Flipping Pages, February 2011 Discussion
Feb 19, 2008 Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I took an Asian History class in college and loved it. The Chinese culture has a way of drawing you in. Or maybe it wasn’t really Chinese culture; I wouldn’t know — maybe I can only see my American perception of Chinese culture.

Whatever it was — culture or only a facsimile of it — reading The Joy Luck Club drew me in almost instantly. The book is written with prose and descriptions fitting of the characters — beautiful and lyrical but with hidden sorrows and bitterness. The plot (was there reall
Dec 27, 2014 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I way Amy Tan explores mother-daughter relationship dynamics in THE JOY LUCK CLUB.

Lisa: Ms. Tan, I loved the “Joy Luck Club.” It really showed me how the mother-daughter bond can triumph over adversity.

Amy Tan: No, that’s not what I meant at all, you couldn’t have gotten it more wrong.

Lisa: But…

Amy Tan: Please, just sit down. I’m embarrassed for both of us.

Ha! THE JOY LUCK CLUB is so much more than mother-daughter relationships! It’s a spectacular story with all sorts of complex themes — none o
Aug 29, 2014 Lavinia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, in-en, 2013
I just love it when I start a book with no expectations and end up loving it. Which is rare, since I usually do have expectations. It was the mother-daughter thing that got me interested, but I ended up loving it for so many reasons: Tan's style and talent as a story teller, the symmetry (everything is based on no. 4 - the number of players in the Mahjong game; everything starts and ends with the east), the pre-communist China, the mothers - trying to make it in the USA and give their children t ...more
Sep 20, 2015 Bloodorange rated it liked it
Shelves: us
I read this book some 15 years ago, and had no memory of reading it, which I found unusual, and was actually quite glad when I found I would have to reread it for a student's project. And how hard that was!

I know, I KNOW I should have liked this book more. I know it was - and is - important, and it IS exceedingly well-written, and it does present the issues of immigration, identity, language, family relations, changes in life very well, from what I can say from my (more than meagre, less than ex
Dec 02, 2011 Arah-Lynda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, i-said
This is a beautiful book, full of beautiful stories that center around four Chinese women (pre 1949) and their lives in China before they come to America, settle in California and have daughters of their own. Now their daughters are grown Chinese-American women, each with their own story to tell.

Seperately each of these tales is powerful and moving in it's own right but woven together they form a rich, evocative tapestry that gently, gracefully illuminates the bond, often threadbare, that exist
Betsy McGee
Jul 15, 2008 Betsy McGee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, I finally caved in to all those people who said, "you're asian, you should read amy tan." Ok...I bought the book and I have to admit that it's a wonderful surprise, warm and heart felt. And it helps that I've never seen the movie, I was just a kid when it came out, so I don't have a bias.
I read this book in high school and then all of Amy Tan's books since. She became one of my favorite authors at the time. Of course this was years before goodreads even existed and am filing this for posterity. Perhaps I will reread this sometime soon.
Dec 17, 2007 Fay rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
an easy read but she's the uncle tom of asians.
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Amy Tan (Chinese: 譚恩美; pinyin: Tán Ēnměi; born February 19, 1952) is an American writer whose works explore mother-daughter relationships and what it means to grow up as a first generation Asian American. In 1993, Tan's adaptation of her most popular fiction work, The Joy Luck Club, became a commercially successful film.

She has written several other books, including The Kitchen God's Wife, The Hun
More about Amy Tan...

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“Then you must teach my daughter this same lesson. How to lose your innocence but not your hope. How to laugh forever.” 332 likes
“Isn't hate merely the result of wounded love?” 209 likes
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