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The Joy Luck Club

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3.93  ·  Rating details ·  597,645 ratings  ·  9,233 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
Paperback, 288 pages
Published September 21st 2006 by Penguin Group (first published 1989)
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Katie I felt like what made this book so amazing was that it had so many layers. There is the Chinese cultural aspect, but there's also how it explores what…moreI felt like what made this book so amazing was that it had so many layers. There is the Chinese cultural aspect, but there's also how it explores what it's like as generations start to distance themselves from the culture and how that feels for all involved. Then there's also the mother/daughter relationships, which are complex. And Tan isn't just like, "oh, here is a complex relationship," she really takes her time to explore how both mothers and daughters make mistakes in the relationships and don't know how to fix them. It looks at feminism, and how women often feel out of control of their own destinies even now. Why? Is it because we were raised that way, because of something inherent in us, or something else? It looks at social-classes, and how our understanding of them has changed and still stayed the same. It looks at how we change as people as we grow up. At moments the women discover themselves, then they seem to be right back where they started. Like I said, I think it's ALL OF THIS together that is really astounding and unique, and it's done very subtly. (less)
Waliyah I feel that this book is great for a book club. Everyone can chime in with something new because it's filled with symbolism, visualizations, and conne…moreI feel that this book is great for a book club. Everyone can chime in with something new because it's filled with symbolism, visualizations, and connections to the reader. Basic human fears, hopes, joys, and place in society can help with that connection. (less)
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Average rating 3.93  · 
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 ·  597,645 ratings  ·  9,233 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
Rebecca
Apr 19, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Jason Koivu
Feb 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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
Matthew
I really wish I like this one more than I did. I have heard about it for years and have seen it on many must read lists. I kept waiting for it to click with me, but it never did.

It is not a bad book and my rating only reflects my experience with it. It is well written and the different stories in it are all interesting, but my mind kept wandering. I feel like there was not enough to keep me focused. As I can tell from other reviews, this is not an issue for many other people. But, when I got to
...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
Thomas
Aug 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Michael
Apr 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, recs
A collection of linked short stories sketching the complexities of mother-daughter bonds between Chinese-American women. Alternating between tales set in China and the United States, the work sensitively renders the inner lives of four friends and their daughters, who struggle to communicate with each other and clash over the course of their future.
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
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
Julie Ehlers
May 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
Navessa
Apr 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction


The Joy Luck Club is one of those books that everyone has heard of, everyone has added to their TBR under some sort of shelf name like “books i should read” and everyone glances over in favor of the latest release with hype.

I’m not judging you. I’m guilty of the same.

I picked up a pristine first edition of this at a local rummage sale last year and had the foresight to put in on top of my dresser, which serves as a sort of physical TBR reminding me of all the books I should read before going on
...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
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
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
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
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
Kerri
Jan 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Oh wow, I've been thinking about this review for a while now and it's gotten to the point where I just have to write something, anything!

I really loved this book. It was a buddy read with my friend Carolyn, and it was a great choice for that as there is a lot to discuss and it's very interesting to see what stands out to someone else and why. I had actually read this before, but I only remembered the "lost babies". I had thought that was a revelation from the end of the novel, but it is mentione
...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
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
Nov 14, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Celeste Ng
I'm generally very wary of books about The Chinese-American Experience, because--well, names like Spring Lotus and Moon Blossom drive me nuts. So many books about Chinese culture flaunt their Chineseness, usually at the expense of other things that make a book good, like memorable characters and careful writing.

But I didn't hate _The Joy Luck Club_. The book as a whole is a collection of interlinked short stories, and it mostly works. Sure, some of the stories ("Two Kinds") have been anthologiz
...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.
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
Jaclyn
Jun 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
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
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
Britany
Mar 08, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Syndi
Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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.
7jane
Oct 11, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars, though at first felt more like 3.

This story's bookends is: in late 1980s San Francisco, Jing-Mei 'June' Woo, after her mother's recent death, is asked to be one corner of a mah jong table for the regular meeting of the Joy Luck Club, formed by four Chinese immigrant women in 1949, modeled after her mother's previous one in WWII China, which was formed to get a break from harsh realities of the time. They play mah jong, eat good food, and gossip; the past history of their lives also po
...more
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8,220 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

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Caroline Tung Richmond is an award-winning YA author and the program director of We Need Diverse Books. Run by authors, librarians,...
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