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 haveI 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 Byron and Blake. I love the Lost Generation.
What I know of China comes from indoctrinated Cold War disdain, my Marxist world view, martial arts movies, a few trips to Epcot center, my love for Asian cuisine, M*A*S*H*, bad television documentaries, and the contradictions that adhere to that bizarre list (oops! I almost forgot Big Trouble in Little China). So I recognize that I see The Joy Luck Club though a massive filter. There are countless removes between me and those beautiful ladies doing their "tiger-mom" bit between games of Mah-Jong and good eats.
I appreciated the window into an experience that I wouldn't otherwise have in my world; I sympathized with their stories and struggles; I pulled for their happiness and that of their daughters; I kept reading dutifully. But I never really felt myself understanding any of these women despite my desire to do so.
My two stars are my failure rather than Tan's. She did her job well. It just wasn't my pot of green tea. I wish it were....more