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The Joy Luck Club

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3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  433,528 ratings  ·  4,987 reviews
For readers of Amy Tan's bestselling novel, The Valley of Amazement, revisit her classic tale of mothers and daughters

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 s...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published September 21st 2006 by Penguin Books (first published 1989)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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.

description

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...more
Joe
May 22, 2007 Joe rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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...more
Rebecca
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...more
Jenna
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
Brad
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...more
Mary
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...more
Rachel
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...more
Thomas
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...more
Ngoc
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...more
Jaclyn
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...more
Jasmin
Aug 24, 2010 Jasmin rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who has a mother. In short, EVERYONE :)
The Joy Luck Club is:
...to 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,...more
Emily
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
Kwesi 章英狮
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.)

Challenges:
Book #3 for 2011
Book #3 for Off The Shelf!
Shelfari - Flips Flipping Pages, February 2011 Discussion
May
Apr 03, 2008 May added it
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
Beth
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...more
Arah-Lynda
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...more
Aileen
Nov 04, 2007 Aileen rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone

The book started off with Jing-Mei Woo, who was asked to sit in as one of the four players in the Joy Luck Club. She was to replace her mother who had recently passed away. The Joy Luck Club consists of four women who played a common Chinese game, and base on what I have seen it is usually used for gambling. The Joy Luck Club is what develops the plot because it is where we get the stories of each of the women in it.

This book is separated into four sections. In all of these sections there would...more
Ellie
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
Larry Bassett
I am reading books related to China to learn more about the country of origin of my seven year old daughter. So I am reading this book from 1989 to think about the experience a person has as s/he strives to adapt to a new country and new culture without totally abandoning the old. And, of course, the experience of becoming your parent in spite of your best intentions to do otherwise is true across all cultures isn't it? My tears at the end of the book were for my daughter who may one day want to...more
Betsy McGee
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.
Fay
an easy read but she's the uncle tom of asians.
Amy Neftzger
The stories in this book center around several families who came to San Francisco at about the same time and it follows the next generation to show how the children adapted to living between two cultures: that of their homes and the chinese immigrant community and the American culture into which they have arrived.

This was a very enjoyable book that does a wonderful job of not only showing the differences between cultures, it also poignantly demonstrates the differences between generations. It de...more
Christina White
This book is about the lives of Chinese women immigrants and their first-generation American daughters. We learn what it means to be Chinese through the eyes of both the mothers and the daughters. From each different perspective the reader learns how their lives have shaped how they think and view the world. When I read from the perspective of the daughters I felt like stomping my feet and screaming like a teenager over how their mothers treated them. Later when I read from the mother's perspect...more
Kevin Xu
I can really related to this book coming from similar backgrounds with my dad telling me about my family's past. Plus one of the main characters is from the same area that my mom's family is from.

This book I thing was written because of Tan having just visited and traced back her roots.

The only problem I have with it is that all the main characters are female, but only females can sit around every week and talk about their past, which make them feel better. Males cannot share about their past,...more
Stela
Oct 02, 2014 Stela rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Stela by: Carmen Irimia
Shelves: neo-realism, reviews

There are two constructivist principles that, although, mainly used in education, could quite easily apply to all dynamics of the society, especially immigration. I’m talking about assimilation and accommodation, the first acting one way (from host to guest, so to say) the other both ways (but also mainly to the host benefit). In the end, however, to borrow an image from Piaget (and to remain thus in the same constructivist field), the goat may be fatter and healthier after eating the cabbage, b...more
Debbie
I watched the movie before I read the book, which made for an interesting reading experience. I cried my way through the movie but only started crying during the last few pages of the book. The story has been criticized as being untrue to the experience of growing up Chinese American. As one myself, I can see where she changed things to further a point in the story or to create a deeper emotional feeling. However, I can sympathize with the four women who recount their experiences growing up an A...more
Kimberly
The book is basically about four Chinese women who immigrate to San Francisco. They have all endured great hardship but are each hopeful about their futures as well as their daughters' futures. Through sixteen short stories we are able to view major events in their lives that have shaped their mindsets, their worlds, and their relationships with one another.

I had difficulty discerning the characters from one another while reading but other than that I enjoyed the bittersweet story about Chinese...more
Paris Reynolds
Awful, whiney book about a girl and her family and the way they grew up. As far as reality goes, it isn't the most boring thing I've ever read, but it isn't any good either.
Christina
Dec 05, 2008 Christina rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Mothers and Daughters
Recommended to Christina by: Mom
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Monique
There is no real main character in this story all the characters (and their stories) are equally important and equally engaging. While the book was not a page turner, I did care what happen to all the characters. It was very intriguing to know how all the mothers came to America and how their experiences shaped how the raised each of their perspective daughters. For the daughters it was more interesting to watch them try to navigate being Chinese and American. I did not get the feeling in the bo...more
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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
More about Amy Tan...
The Bonesetter's Daughter The Kitchen God's Wife The Hundred Secret Senses Saving Fish from Drowning The Valley of Amazement

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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.” 273 likes
“Isn't hate merely the result of wounded love?” 166 likes
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