You'll love this one...!! A book club & more discussion

The Bonesetter's Daughter
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Group Themed Reads: Discussions > May 2014 - The Bonesetter's Daughter Discussion

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message 1: by AmyK (new)

AmyK (yakyma) | 1043 comments Discuss discuss discuss

June | 159 comments I'm interested to see what this has in store. I haven't read anything by her yet.

message 3: by Janice, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Janice (jamasc) | 47911 comments I've read most of Amy Tan's books and really enjoyed them all. I don't remember that much about this book, though.

Ava Catherine | 4258 comments I have read all of Amy Tan's books and enjoyed them immensely. It has been years since I read this one, but I do remember liking it.

message 5: by Janice, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Janice (jamasc) | 47911 comments Connie wrote: "I have read all of Amy Tan's books and enjoyed them immensely. It has been years since I read this one, but I do remember liking it."

Have you read her new one The Valley of Amazement? I have it on audiobook patiently waiting it's turn.

message 6: by Ava Catherine (last edited May 03, 2014 11:05AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ava Catherine | 4258 comments No, Janice, I haven't read it yet. I need to order it on audio since I have about 12 book credits on my audible account. I love The Hundred Secret Senses, The Kitchen God's Wife, and of course, The Joy Luck Club.

The only book I have read by Tan that I do not like is Saving Fish from Drowning.

message 7: by Tasha (new)

Tasha I have this one up and ready to go on audio. I'll be starting it shortly.

message 8: by Tasha (new)

Tasha I started but it's not a good time for me. My mood is not matching this read so I am putting it down. :)

Silver | 462 comments I just finished the 2nd chapter, and so far I am enjoying the book. This is my first time reading Amy Tan.

I really liked the descriptions of Ruth's early efforts to learn Chinese writing. Though I myself only speak/write English I often find that certain other languages seem so much more beautiful and poetic than English.

I love the artistry in the Chinese writing, the way in which LuLing describes how the different symbols, and lines in the writing give visual clues to the meanings.

Sometimes I feel that English seems so much more restrictive or simplistic in a way when compared to other languages. Many other languages have all these nuisances. subtleties, multiple-meanings that English does not have, and of which I think that would offer a broader ranger and more flexibility when expressing ones thoughts and emotions.

message 10: by June (new) - rated it 5 stars

June | 159 comments Just finished, I couldn't seem to put it down so I just read all night. I'm on my phone right now so its not so easy to post spoilers, so I'll write more specifics later. Overall I enjoyed her writing style, it flowed well and I enjoyed some of the dark humour in the beginning.

Silver | 462 comments Chapter 8

(view spoiler)

Jkmays Just finished this book. Liked it...didn't love it. I guess I am not crazy about following a story, then going back to a previous time, getting re-involved, then going back to the first story, and getting re-involved again. I had some trouble doing that, but did enjoy the story. I would like to learn more about the written language, but I am way too old to take that on as a project. hahaha.

message 13: by June (new) - rated it 5 stars

June | 159 comments So now I'm on a computer,

Chapter one I liked the quote "Chaos is penance for leisure", it just kinda stuck with me.

Thoughts after part 1, (view spoiler)

At the end of the book (view spoiler)

Jkmays June, I had a similar reaction to Art. Didn't like him much at first, but he got himself together, realized what he was about to lose, and turned into a pretty good guy.

Jennifer | 17 comments I just found myself rubbing my hands together in anticipation. Literally! I love the few moments surrounding the start of a new book.

I picked this one up from the library (in hard-cover) on Friday, but wanted to finish something else before starting. I am excited. A few years ago I remember enjoying a short-story of Amy Tan's called "Rules of the Game". A major guessed it...mother-daughter relationships. This is the 1st of her novels for me.

Bye for diving innnnnnnnnnn......

message 16: by Naomi (last edited May 19, 2014 06:09AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Naomi (nchigh) | 543 comments About 60% done. I thought that it was funny in chapter 8 how Ruth thought babies were made. But also sad that they weren't taught the biology of this in their discussion of their periods. I am glad that it is different in some schools now (at least where my daughter went they had a 5th grade sex ed class for a few days). It is something that girls should learn at the same time they are being told about their periods, if only so they are not ignorant of their bodies and can understand how the process works and maybe avoid unintended pregnancies. Knowledge is power!

Naomi (nchigh) | 543 comments Just finished. Pretty good story. The ending seemed a little pat and tidy. Art conveniently coming to the rescue and all.

message 18: by Roz (new) - rated it 3 stars

Roz | 3561 comments I finished the book a few days ago. I've read 2 other books by Amy Tan and liked them. Haven't read Saving Fish from Drowning.
I liked the old world - new world theme and the similarities between Rosie's and Luling's relationships with their mothers. Neither had a father growing up, both served as their mother's voice, both grew to resent their role at some point, rejecting/rebelling against their mothers only to regret their actions.
As my family's designate genealogist and keeper of the history/stories, I liked the idea of Luling realizing that she needed to write down all those things that needed to be remembered and passed on. So many stories are lost to the next generation because our older family members aren't asked to tell their stories. When we finally think about asking, they're gone or the memory is lost.

message 19: by June (new) - rated it 5 stars

June | 159 comments Roz,

I'm the only younger generation in my family that keeps thr stories. Sometimes when I go sleep over my gramma's I take a notebook. if she's having a better memory day I ask her got stories of certain family members trying to cover as many as I can. I'm sad that my large family has drifted apart with each new generation, but I'm happy for the nights my gramma and I have to talk. I understand we'll lose a lot without our matriarch but having the stories is a legacy. Because of my genealogy roll I've become the keeper of heirlooms too. I have 5 generations of engagement rings and my great grandfathers favorite ring and I feel honored to be trusted to keep those things safe. It is to easy to forget how important history is.

Silver | 462 comments I really enjoyed the way the story went back into the past. I agree that it was interesting seeing the similarities in the relationships between Luling and her mother and Ruth's relationship with Luling.

I also really enjoyed learning more about the bonesetter, I am fascinating with traditional medicine and healing techniques. And I like getting to learn more about Precious Auntie who was something of a mystery towards the beginning of the book.

In one of my History classes I took when I was in school, as part of our final project we had to write a report on the history of our own family.

Jennifer | 17 comments I'm not finished yet. But, there are so many beautiful phrases in this story. I just read, "[t]he first night Kai Jing and I tried forbidden joy". It stopped me in my tracks. Such a beautiful example of Amy Tan's descriptive style. I feel the description mirrors the innocence of the girl character LuLing, herself.

The book also makes me laugh out loud in places. Several places. I did not expect that. The humour is awesome. Considering that all three central characters (Precsious Auntie, LuLing and Ruth) tend to depression, I find this contrast really appealing.

I am the mother of 2 young daughters, as well as the daughter of a mother whom I have had both love and resentment, for decades. The overarching theme in this book about the (seemingly inescapable) cycle that mother-daughter relationships take, touches me personally. It both allows me to forgive myself, and worries me for the future of my relationships with my daughters.

Going back to read some more now...

message 22: by Roz (new) - rated it 3 stars

Roz | 3561 comments June wrote: "Roz,

I'm the only younger generation in my family that keeps thr stories. Sometimes when I go sleep over my gramma's I take a notebook. if she's having a better memory day I ask her got stories..."

You keep asking your gramma for her stories. I'm sure she enjoys the telling as much as you enjoy the listening. I also keep a notebook handy when relatives are around. Taping with a small recorder is nice too, plus that way you will always have her voice. I also keep the family "treasures". We lived in my husband's grandmother's house after she passed away and it had an attic and basement full of family stuff. Now we live in the house my husband grew up in and I'm still finding treasures. These people didn't throw anything away. : )

Silver | 462 comments One thing I am curious about is when one of the characters particularly Luling but I think Ruth may have done it as well, not sure, speaks of their age they will than say that was their Chinese age. It makes me wonder how the Chinese culture counted age/birthdays, and when Luling says her Chinese age was 14 I wonder than how old she would be according to the modern/Western way of counting age.

message 24: by June (new) - rated it 5 stars

June | 159 comments Sliver,

I think Luling mentioned in her writing that she changed her age when she came to America, so I wonder if that's what she meant. I know the Chinese Calender is different than our, but I think they still use the same year measurement.


Thank you, I will. I'm sleeping over with her Sunday to take her to the doctor so maybe I'll get more stories. And I noticed, like Luling, as my Gramma gets older she is more willing to reveal more of the family secrets. I think she wants someone to know them.


How's it going on your first read? Your baby you have as your picture is so adorable, btw.

Happy Reading Everyone! :)

Kerri I was late to start this and probably won't finish it in time unless I spend all day reading tomorrow.
I am enjoying it so far, I'm at 38%, but I must admit to feeling a bit annoyed with the passive way Ruth allows the people she loves, in particular Art treat her.
Like you Jennifer, I have also found myself laughing out loud in a couple of places so far. LuLing sounds like a nightmare for the young Ruth.
I love the whole mother/ daughter relationship and am finding parallels to my relationship with my own mum who is also ageing and starting to forget things.

message 26: by June (new) - rated it 5 stars

June | 159 comments Kerri,

We're happy to have you! Normally our group read discussions go on about 3 weeks after the end of the month, so don't worry too much about the deadline. :)

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