Jaymie's Reviews > The Joy Luck Club

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
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's review
Jan 06, 2014

really liked it
bookshelves: rereads, favorites, written-reviews, as-real-as-it-gets
Read in January, 2014

When I was a sophomore in high school, my English teacher assigned us this book to read. I don't think it was officially on the syllabus, I think she just thought this was a book with valuable lessons and ideas. Even so, she only had us read a few of the chapters (I specifically remember Waverly's chess chapter as one of them), and we didn't read it all the way through, so each chapter was just a separate story. This book is one of my favorite books I had to read for an English class though; it's always stuck with me, and I always meant to go back and read the whole thing, and I finally did it.

I have to say that I myself didn't really grow up with much culture, despite being Mexican, Apache, and Irish. When I was little, my parents thought I should grow up very American, so they never taught me Spanish, customs, traditions, etc. Or they taught me only a little bit, so I think I'm inclined to stories rich with culture because it's something I don't feel I ever had. This book is rich with it, and I find it all fascinating.

In this instance, the culture ties in seamlessly with the theme of the mother-daughter relationships. Throughout the book, "being Chinese" is stressed by the mothers, especially when they feel their daughters floating away and becoming American and not knowing what they know. Not having the same thought process or the same values. At the same time, I feel these relationships can be relatable to any mother-daughte pair. There is a generational gap between every parent and child. Perhaps it is more stark when the two grow up in different cultures, but there is always the need to understand or to make the other understand. And, of course, there is always the love that binds the two together despite all the differences and frustrations.

And Amy Tan illustrates this beautifully. She's a very talented storyteller. I enjoyed every chapter, and I could identify each individual providing the POV. I think I also liked it so much because the modern chapters (the ones where the daughters are adults) all take place in Oakland, CA and San Francisco, CA: the Bay Area, which is where I'm from, so it automatically holds a special place with me.

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Reading Progress

01/04/2014 marked as: currently-reading
01/06/2014 marked as: read
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