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Why read The Joy Luck Club Because sometimes one needs to get in touch with his inner Chinese feminine side 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 people say that spoils the surprise, but I feel like I get out of the visit that way There always seems to be plenty of surprises when you travel to the other side of the world, regardless of the prep work.Was this useful for Chinese studies Not 100% The stories herein, which are no doubt heavily indebted to Tan s personal experiences, are not only fictional, but they re also about the Chinese American experience A good deal of the book takes place in the U.S There are many old world home land stories and Tan does an excellent job including and describing Chinese customs and traditions It s just that most of the time they are tainted or at least touched by the hand of the West The relationships themselves and how they play out is, for the most part, satisfying Emotions sometimes run high and occasionally over There are laughs to be had in everyday misunderstandings The characters may be foreign to me, but were nevertheless utterly relatable After all, most everyone has a parent child relationship to relate to My own relationship with my mother was, for better or worse, close I may not be a woman or Chinese, but that hardly matters, as nothing was lost in Tan s translation of the mother child bond. The Joy Luck Club, Amy TanThe 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 Stories about their lives in the form of vignettes Each part is preceded by a parable relating to the game 1996 1373 383 20 1989 After I read The Joy Luck Club summer required reading before sopho 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 some things right and got a lot of other things dramatic The stuff that rang the most true with me was the angsty rivalry between Waverly and June particularly June s meltdown at the piano recital a consistent paranoia of mine throughout childhood and Waverly s accusations toward her mother a fantasy of mine growing up.I now realize that some of my issues with my mom were probably planted by reading The Joy Luck Club others were valid insofar as they existed within the collective repressed thoughts of first generation Asian Americans forced to compete against the highest standards their parents.I think The Joy Luck Club is important because it was prominent in the mainstream and it finally allowed ABCs American born Chinese to recognize themselves in a major work of literature The problem is that the book came out almost twenty years ago and there have been nearly no major additions to the genre I hate for people to think JLC is definitive about our culture and experience, as influential as it is.
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 reactionary As Asian American literature scholar Erin Ninh states in her academic text Ingratitude, The Joy Luck Club conveniently ignores America s systemic racial and economic discrimination It must be understood as part and parcel of an assimilationist obfuscation of power And yet I have a soft spot for this book Because, damn it, Amy Tan was a pioneer, a groundbreaker When I first read this novel at age 14 or so, it really spoke to me It thrilled me that someone was finally writing down the difficult truths of Asian American mother daughter relationships, exposing the hidden realities of my private life to the public eye A risky thing to do, as Amy Chua learned to her chagrin decades later Waverly Jong s tragic story of chess playing and mother daughter psychological warfare how could anyone not find it unforgettable The scene where Lindo Jong poisons her daughter s mind against the mink coat she previously loved doesn t it perfectly sum up the complicated love hate dynamic between two devious and damaged women, intelligent and yet conditioned by society to waste their intelligence scheming against each other 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 tell me what truly inspired her, some secrets and a few great jokes.In reality, I spent a lot of time looking her up in the old yearbooks at the library, Oak Leaves circa 1970 and 1971 I think Horribly despicable I did learn some of her secrets I learned that she never graduated from Linfield, which pretty much means nothingbut I did discover that she possibly met her husband there, Mr Lou DeMattei Also during this first year of Linfield, I got one of those jobs at the PHONE A THON, calling alumni to update their information and beg for donations I was going to call Amy Tan, and speak with her myself Thankfully, for my sanity, I quit before that happened.Amy began to dissolve as an enigma for me, she was just another celebrity, another writer of a book The book was beautifully written and for obvious reasons made me homesick It made me feel closer to my mother than ever, and I knew that, like the women in the book, I would have a special bond with her forever.The sad thing is, after I finished the book, my love affair a la John Hinckley Jr with Amy Tan ended, and I cannot bear to pick up any of her other books.Another hilarious thing is I found this on Tan s website Please make special note of personal errata 2 and 9.I rest my case We were meant to be with each other. 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 characters and many stories this can become quite tedious However the great thing about audible is you can return the book if for whatever reason you are not enjoying the experience and I think this is works pretty well as every now and again I come across a narrator that just takes away from a book.While I didn t enjoy the audio version I dont think I will invest in the hard copy format as I found the structure of the story confusing and while I like books that examine mother and daugher relationships and stories where American Immigrants families tell their stories, I did find the story skipped around too much and I was having difficulty connecting with the characters Again this may be down to the audio version but I am not feeling the love so not going to invest any time or cash on this one. 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 interweaving vignettes that comprise the book are too intricate to explain completely without writing a long review, but the book is basically about four Chinese women who immigrate to San Francisco They have all endured great hardship but are each hopeful about their futures as well as their daughters futures Through sixteen short stories we are able to view major events in their lives that have shaped their mindsets, their worlds, and their relationships with one another.Amy Tan s writing is devastatingly simple Her diction is not all that convoluted, but the drama and tension she manages to create through her choice of words is astounding After reading certain sentences and phrases I stopped and thought dang That was deep Indeed, Tan s deceptively simple writing style is realistic and piercing and poignant all at once.The theme that struck me the most while reading the novel was the inter generational loss that afflicted the characters The misunderstandings that occurred and all the things that were lost in translation were truly tragic and still are tragic in contemporary society However, after finishing the book and tearing up at the bittersweet endings, I ve come to the conclusion that what really matters is the love one feels for their child and the longing to leave one s legacy with their son or daughter in order for them to succeed.While I had difficulty discerning the characters from one another while reading the book I had to constantly reference the front section to keep myself from utter confusion overall I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a bittersweet story about Chinese culture or the unbreakable bond between mothers and daughters cross posted from my blog, the quiet voice. *DOWNLOAD ↡ The Joy Luck Club ☟ Four Mothers, Four Daughters, Four Families, Whose Histories Shift With The Four Winds Depending On Who S Telling The Stories In , 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 Daughters, Who Have Never Heard These Stories, Think Their Mothers Advice Is Irrelevant To Their Modern American Lives Until Their Own Inner Crises Reveal How Much They Ve Unknowingly Inherited Of Their Mothers Pasts With Wit And Sensitivity, Amy Tan Examines The Sometimes Painful, Often Tender, And Always Deep Connection Between Mothers And Daughters As Each Woman Reveals Her Secrets, Trying To Unravel The Truth About Her Life, The Strings Become Tangled, Entwined Mothers Boast Or Despair Over Daughters, And Daughters Roll Their Eyes Even As They Feel The Inextricable Tightening Of Their Matriarchal Ties Tan Is An Astute Storyteller, Enticing Readers To Immerse Themselves Into These Lives Of Complexity And Mystery Madre m a que llorera m s grande con el emotivo final de este maravilloso libro Ha sido brutal Que pena haber postergado tanto la lectura de Amy Tan Este es de esos libros que te llevan de viaje por diferentes vidas y el recorrido ha sido espectacular La historia nos va a narrar la vida de cuatro madres chinas Anmei, Suyuan, Lindo y Ying ying que a ra z de la guerra y la pobreza tuvieron que emigrar a Am rica y de sus cuatros hijas Rose, Jingmei, Waverly y Lena ya americanas de nacimiento El choque de culturas siempre es uno de mis temas favoritos y en este libro resulta a n m s interesante ver este choque entre madres e hijas Madres que luchan por que sus hijas aprendan lo que implica ser china e hijas, que sin entenderlas huyen de todo lo relacionados con China por miedo a no encajar en la sociedad estadounidense La cultura asi tica tan rica en simbolog a siempre me flipa Me parece maravilloso como cada madre tiene un sentido para cada peque a cosa, de los rasgos de un rostro a el clima o para el d a del nacimiento Me parece super interesante ver que m s que fe en dioses y seres sobrenaturales, tienen fe en la naturaleza, en el uso que hagan de esas supersticiones y en sus propia familia.Me gusta mucho la ense anza final del valor de una madre, y que muchas veces, cuando lxs hijxs se quieren dar cuenta, ya es tarde Y es cuando se encuentran con que no conoc an realmente a lo m s importante que ten an Y es lo que pasa en esta novela, estas hijas solo entienden a sus madres, y comienzan a valorarlas cuando ya son mayores o cuando falta una de ellas.En definitiva, una novela familiar, dulce y dura a partes iguales y sobre todo una novela de mujeres fuertes, mujeres due as de su destino Me he enamorado de Amy Tan 3 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.