Rachel's Reviews > The Joy Luck Club

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
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it was ok

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 redeeming value--great characters, great writing, great . . . anything. But it was really just slow for me.
- I found the characters confusing in a lot of ways. First of all, I think needing a character chart at the start of the book is a bad sign . . . if your characters are really well-developed and well-written, a chart probably shouldn't be necessary. But by the end of the book, I was still flipping back to the dang chart to figure out who was who, and still felt like I had no idea who the characters were, personality-wise. Not to mention the multiple radical 180-degree flips some of the characters performed with no warning or explanation whatsoever, that left me going, "Huuuuh?"
- I found the relationships frustrating. With a teensy exception at the very very end of the novel (seriously, like, last 3 sentences), it seemed like none of the mothers and daughters (or even husbands and wives or friends) understood each other or were capable of communicating with each other at all. And that bothered me, because I expected a book that was going to make me feel all warm and fuzzy about being a mom. I understand that this was supposed to show the cultural split between the Chinese born-and-bred mothers and American born daughters, but how sad that none of them could overcome that to have a real relationship.

Mostly, this book felt to me like something I would have been assigned to read in high school, written a 2-page report on, and never thought about again. It wasn't bad by any means, but, for me, it left a lot to be desired.
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Reading Progress

July 21, 2011 – Shelved
Started Reading
July 26, 2011 –
page 80
July 26, 2011 – Finished Reading

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Hamster In the past I've thought that The Joy Luck Club looked like something I might feel obligated to read. Thank you for liberating me from that notion.

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