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The Joy Luck Club

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3.92  ·  Rating details ·  566,308 ratings  ·  8,153 reviews
Four mothers, four daughters, four families, whose histories shift with the four winds depending on who's telling the stories. In 1949, four Chinese women, recent immigrants to San Francisco, meet weekly to play mahjong and tell stories of what they left behind in China. United in loss and new hope for their daughters' futures, they call themselves the Joy Luck Club. Their ...more
Kindle Edition, 354 pages
Published September 21st 2006 by Penguin Books (first published 1989)
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Saumya Dave I agree with Michelle's comment. This was the first book I read that thoroughly explored the complex conflicts that daughters of Asian immigrant…moreI agree with Michelle's comment. This was the first book I read that thoroughly explored the complex conflicts that daughters of Asian immigrant mothers experience. As an Indian woman, I saw many parts of myself, mother, and grandmother throughout the novel. At the same time, I learned about significant parts of Chinese history. (less)
Caitlin I know this is really late, but I think this book would be perfect for a book club. I really wish I was buddy reading this with someone so I could…moreI know this is really late, but I think this book would be perfect for a book club. I really wish I was buddy reading this with someone so I could talk to them about it.(less)
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3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  566,308 ratings  ·  8,153 reviews


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Brina
During high school, when I did not have the life experience to fully appreciate her work, I read each of Amy Tan's books as they came out. Now, years later, with many other books and various experiences under my belt, I reread The Joy Luck Club, Tan's first book, as part of my March Women's History Month lineup.

Following her mother's death, June Mei Woo has replaced her mother Suyuan at her monthly mah jong game. Suyuan started this game and Joy Luck Club when she first immigrated to the United
...more
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
Rebecca
Apr 19, 2007 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
...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
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan
The Joy Luck Club is a 1989 novel written by Amy Tan. It focuses on four Chinese American immigrant families in San Francisco who start a club known as The Joy Luck Club, playing the Chinese game of mahjong for money while feasting on a variety of foods. The book is structured somewhat like a mahjong game, with four parts divided into four sections to create sixteen chapters. The three mothers and four daughters (one mother, Suyuan Woo, dies before the novel opens). Sto
...more
Joe
May 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Dem
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible, not-for-me
I feel kind of cheated out what could have been a great story by a truly dreadful narration on audible. Some of the voices were totally over the top and sounded cartoonish and listening to this one became a annoying and I gave up 30% in to the book.

Audible can make or break a book unfortunately this one didnt work for me as its difficult to concentrate on the words when the narrator is using cartoonish voices or on some of the characters and because this is a story where there are many character
...more
Thomas
Aug 23, 2011 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
...more
Rachel
Jul 21, 2011 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
...more
Julie Ehlers
May 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary-fiction
I'm not generally someone who rereads a lot of books, but 30 years (!) seems to be the mark at which I become curious about whether I'll still feel the same way about some of my favorites. Amy Tan is an interesting case, because she's still writing novels, I've read nearly all of them, and I've liked them all—there aren't many authors I can say that about! It's a potential landmine to rereading, because all the things that seemed fresh and new about The Joy Luck Club have since become Tan's oft- ...more
Duane
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
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 they are separated by their culture and life experiences despite living under the same roof for decades - however, 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 wit
...more
Ngoc
Aug 17, 2007 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
...more
Paul E. Morph
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
...more
Zanna
Sep 03, 2013 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
...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
Megan Baxter
It kind of says something when I want to bounce ideas about the book I'm reading off my husband, and all I can think to say is, "meh, it's fine." (He's gotten quite used to having me talk about books he hasn't had a chance to read yet, and tends to have amazing insights anyway. And if he doesn't, I at least get to formulate my ideas out loud, which is always how I think best, and he listens patiently.)

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and en
...more
Amber
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.
Jaclyn
Jun 23, 2008 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
...more
Jasmin
Aug 19, 2010 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:
...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
Julian
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
Gabrielle
Books like “The Joy Luck Club” are not really my usual fare, but I was curious about this one: I do enjoy stories about people who live in an overlap of different cultures, because that’s something I am quite familiar with; the preservation of cultural patrimony is also something very close to home, as both sides of my family tree are adamant about keeping their traditions alive, even if they have been in Canada for a generation or two at this point.

When Suyuan passes away, her daughter June is
...more
Britany
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
...more
Book of the Month
Amy Tan’s extraordinary 1989 novel explores the divide between Chinese immigrants to the US and their children, first generation Americans being raised in San Francisco. Over games of mah jong and close-knit conversations, The Joy Luck Club delves into the backstories of four mothers and their four daughters. Their lives, especially their childhoods, are vastly different and yet interconnected in numerous ways that Tan recounts with equal parts anger and empathy.
— Book of the Month

Read more at h
...more
Nicola
Apr 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A story that had stayed with me. Very emotional and sad .
Syndi
Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am third generation born Chinese. I am so glad I found this book. Most of my life I always can see eye to eye with my mom. She is second generation born Chinese who already helping her family since age 12.

This book, explore all of those cultural aspect of mother and daughter that is born in different generation. how a daughter years her mother approval. But yet the mother seems aloof. I can relate to that.
May
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
Aoibhínn
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
Arah-Lynda
Oct 13, 2011 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
...more
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7,202 followers
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
“Then you must teach my daughter this same lesson. How to lose your innocence but not your hope. How to laugh forever.” 383 likes
“Isn't hate merely the result of wounded love?” 242 likes
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