Corinne's Reviews > The Kitchen God's Wife

The Kitchen God's Wife by Amy Tan
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Feb 07, 08

bookshelves: expanding-your-horizons-challenge
Read in January, 2008

I didn't NOT like this book. Well, actually, I didn't particularly like the first two chapters and I didn't really like the last two either - the dialogue in these chapters seemed so contrived to me. The interactions and dialogue seemed so stereotypical Chinese mother wtih her Chinese-American daughter - I just didn't believe they were real.

My feelings changed, however, for the entire middle of the book, when Winnie (the mother) is telling her story of growing up in China. THAT felt real to me - it meshed so well with other books I have read about China during that time period (especially Wild Swans) and Winnie's story was tragic and beautifully told. I liked how the story in that part was told to me as if I was the daughter and my mother was telling me her story - interjecting lessons she learned, explaining why she did something and how it affected her later.

I feel like this book did give me a intimate glimpse at Chinese culture, both in China and in America. One thing that really struck me was how very important family honor and the choices your family has made in the past affect the present and future. Your ancestors, your family name, whether or not someone in your family has "disgraced" the honor of the family: these things seem to be the glue that ties families and community together (obviously not always in a positive way).

I don't know if I'll be racing to read any more Amy Tan, but it helped me to remember that I really do enjoy reading about the Chinese experience - in all is beauty and brutality. If anyone has any other recommendations, I'd surely appreciate it
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Comments (showing 1-2)




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Kressel Housman Hi. I hope you don't mind a stranger's comment. I just finished the book, and your review came out on top. It seems I liked it more than you, but out of curiosity, which scenes, if any, made you cry? I'm kind of interested in the universality of emotion through literature.


message 1: by Kate (new)

Kate Hello. I'm about to start The Kitchen God's Wife & your review caught my eye. If you don't mind trying another Amy Tan book, I highly recommend The Bonesetter's Daughter. I had some of the same issues with the parts set in the modern day (before and after the portion set in China), they seemed stilted and I didn't care much for the daughter's character. But the tale in between makes it a worthwhile read.

I see also that you read The Hummingbird's Daughter -- that one's on my "to-read" list and your review is making me look forward to reading it so much!


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