I loved this book and the movie. It was wonderful to be so personally involved with each persons story. I really felt like I was there with them.
Long after I read the book the characters still stick with me.
This is a *very* good book. I especially liked the sections about China. I love the way they are written, and the descriptions of things are just gorgeous. They really give you a feeling for the mind and the culture of the woman narrating at the time.
Amy Tan did a good job of keeping the story going coherently, even though she had the book divided into 16 sections narrated by 8 different characters. Pretty impressive! So the story comes out more as a one about Chinese immigrants to the U.S. and the next generation as a whole instead of one specific character's story, but it really does work.
The whole time I was reading this book, I was thinking about how this was the start of that group-of-women stories trend. For a while, there was a run of stories about 4 friends, or a group of friends, or 3 generations of women, etc...both in print and at the movies.
This may be a teensy bit of a spoiler, just to warn anyone who might want to know! Okay, I have one thing to say to the (okay, so they're fictional characters) daughters in this book (and please note that I am largely just joking around from here on out). Ladies, I'm sorry, but you don't get to claim your problems with getting your fellas through a meet-the-family dinners or family houseguests entirely on intercultural issues! Partially, of course, but entirely? Nope, no way. At least 2 of you did absolutely no prep work with your guys at all! I mean, it takes at least 10 minutes for me to tip any new guy off on how to charm my family, and that's for just the easy family members, and I'd certainly expect him to do the same for me. How long would it have taken to explain that dear old mom is really begging for compliments when she says her meal didn't come out well, and that everyone is supposed to tell her it's the best meal ever and couldn't be better? Honestly, I noticed a distinct lack of effort on your parts, girls, leaving you with at least part of the blame for troubles in that area. Sheesh! ;)
Story about 4 chinese women. alternates back and forth between modern day and when they were girls. Most people have seen the movie. This book is required reading in most highschools on the east coast. I liked it. Some really moving parts, haunting almost.
Not quite as amazing as I had hoped, I wasn't able to keep track of who was who and that made it a very confusing read. Taking notes on who is who, or just paying close attention, would be very helpful.
"The Joy Luck Club" shows the universal yet distinctive everyday conflicts of ethnic parents raising American children. The reader begin a journey with four Chinese mothers and daughters through series of storytelling in which all the woman take a flashback to their childhood or some previous memory. The novel, also extracts how the American lifestyle which is different from the lifestyle the mother's were accustomed to. This creates a gap between the mother and daughters. The Joy Luck Club itself is a club where one mother, Suyuan Woo, created with three other Chinese woman in order to save and collect money as a group and bring up the spirits during World War II. After Suyuan dies, her daughter, Jing-mei, takes her spot in the club and in the process finds out more about her mother, such as, Jing-mei has two half-sisters. The discoveries allow not only Jing-mei but the readers to leave the book with hope as a closer bond with her mother is formed. Jing-mei creates closure with her mother's death as the readers and along with Jing-mei learn the sacrifices and loyalties for all mothers when raising their daughters.
Since the novel is divided into four major parts, in which the mothers speak out in the first section, readers are never bored, for there is a new exciting adventure that begins as each mother and daughter tells their individual story. Even though the structure contributes to keeping the readers attention, readers may find it hard to collect and remember all the stories together.
I don't know why I never read this before, it's been widely available for sometime and yet I ignored it. After a recommendation from a co-worker, I sourced a copy to read. It's a beautiful story - there's something magical about Amy Tan's writing that just sucked me into this story about four mothers and daughters. While the the mothers are Chinese and their daughters are first generation Chinese-American, I think some of the relationships are indicative of many mother-daughter relationships. At times I found it confusing trying to remember which character was speaking, but when I just gave up and read the stories for what they were, it was much easier going. An excellent read - one I wish I had read ages ago. I will definitely be on the lookout for more of Amy Tan's work.
A great look at the lives of four Chinese women in prewar 1949 China and their daughters born in the US. Great dialogue. Tbis is more than a mother daughter type of book.. it is also a clash of cultures and helps the reader understand the problems that arise in the first generation of American born immigrants.
I mildly enjoyed this book though I will probably never read it again. If I had read it as a teen, I may have appreciated it more.
Besides finding the writing to be a bit elementary, initially this book was lacking a voice. The story (or stories, as it were) did not appear to be coming from an authentic place. It seemed to be a very watered- down look into Chinese culture- a tourist's version. Toward the end of the book, however, that missing voice finally begin to speak. I felt the history behind the traditional Chinese mothers and the recognition of the Americanized daughters. (Though, 50 pages of engaging reading does not make up for the injustice of the first 200 pages.)
So far, this is the only time that I will recommend the movie over the book (and it pains me to even have to suggest it).
I saw the movie first and was moved so much that I had to find the book and read it. Very satisfied with the book as well. Very well written with vividly portrayed characters and engaging story. The author knows exactly what she wants and how to write it. Brilliant!
This is a world where the Moon Lady can grant any wish, where a child promised in marriage at two and delivered at 12, can, with cunning, free herself; where a rich man's concubine secures her daughter's future by killing herself and where a woman can live on, knowing she has lost her entire life.
A great novel....very insightful into the lives of Chinese and their daughters trying to cross the divide between mothers and daughters and between their Chinese life and life in America. A wonderful book.
The Joy Luck Club is sixteen short stories, told by eight unique women, from two very different generations, which interweave to reveal a common basic theme. Some reviewers have described this book as hard to follow, but i was immediately drawn in by the characters, and couldn't wait for more to be revealed. Some have suggested taking notes to keep the stories straight, but i think a little blending between them was the author's intention--this isn't so much the stories of 8 women, as it is one story about two generations sharing two cultures between them.
The writing style is very fluid when the mothers speak; you feel like you're listening to an elderly Chinese woman who has seen it all and wants you to visualize the past with her. When the daughters speak, there are hard facts, lists of joys and disappointments, names and locations and how each person is related to another. Each viewpoint fills in the gaps of the others; events are laid out, and old customs and attitudes are explained.
The main characters may be women, but it is not a "chick book" at all. It's for anyone who thinks about life as part of something bigger, and anyone who enjoys wisdom, humor, action, and emotion all in one read.
Join the club, February 17, 2006
Reviewer: Jesse B Ellyson (Dale City, Virginia United States)
Amy Tan's first novel is a masterpiece. I may have discovered this wonderful writer fifteen years late but now that I know she's out there I look forward with great anticipation to reading the rest of her books.
"The Joy Luck Club" takes us inside the lives of four Chinese mothers and their four American daughters. These eight unique women take turns telling the story through a series of sixteen vignettes covering the various stages of the mother-daughter relationships. The characters are fully realized and vividly portrayed. The events that shape their lives are at once alien and familiar.
It is the familiarity that is most endearing about this book. In an age when no one can seem to get along it's nice to see just how alike we all really are. No matter where you come from, no matter what religion, race, or nationality, if you read this book you will recognize something of yourself within its pages.
I enjoyed this book. Amy Tan has the ability to write characters who you'd like to meet, and she can weave a story like no one else. This book can bring tears to your eyes and also bring a smile to your face.
So, I hate when I keep books on my 'TBR' list for so long that I regret waiting so long to read them. I loved the movie, so I knew the book would be even better. After having read the book, it is better (of course), but doesn't take away from the movie.
This is a book about mothers and daughters. About the generation gap, cultural gap, and language gap between the Chinese born mothers and their American born daughters.
It's sad in some ways because it seems as their their relationships are base on obligation more so than love. The mother's wanted so badly for their daughters to be worth something and to have nice things and better opportunities in America, that they waited to long to instill their Chinese beliefs/wisdom in them. Which was very much to the detriment of the daughters. The girls (for a time) only care about being American and fitting it with their American peers. And it wasn't until later in all of their lives that they realized what they had missed out on.
The mother's obviously loved their daughters very much; however, the way the showed it was so foreign to the girls that they really had no clue; all they saw was harassment, disappointment, embarrassment... Their stories, which were life lessons, seemed like nothing but fairy stories from the "old country". The two generations were battling a language gap, not because the daughters spoke English where their mothers spoke Mandarin or Cantonese, but because they spoke the languages of two separate generations from two different countries.
The mothers clung so much to the old ways, except where raising their daughter's were concerned and by the time they realized what they had done (or not done) it was too late. And the daughters never paid attention to the lessons that they were taught. And by the time they realized that they were lessons, it was too late.
The mothers and daughters spoke to one another, but it all seemed to get lost in translation. As was said in the book, the daughters would hear less than what their mothers had said, and the mother's would always hear much more than what their daughters had actually said.
They were all broken, emotionally injured in some way or another, and because none of them had learned to communicate with each other, it was near in possible to help. It was beautiful and so very sad, especially for me as a mother of two daughters. I hope that I have learned to not only speak clearly, but hear what my daughters say.
This classic 2 cassette audio book gave me a new perspective, not only on immigrant Chinese Americans but also on the importance of asking my aging relatives for their stories. Even if you have read the book--listening to the readers makes it vibrant !
"...four Chinese women - drawn together by the shadow of their past - begin meeting in San Francisco... Nearly forty years later one of the members has died and her daughter has come to take her place, only to learn of her mother's lfelong wish - and the tragic way in which it has come true. The revelation of this secret unleashes an urgent need among the women to reach back and remember..."
This book was tough for me to get into at first. It is made up of short stories told by different characters, either Mother or Daughter. Once you get into the writing style, the book was tough to put down. The stories will stay with me forever. I would recommend this book to my friends.
One of my favorites. The reader begins to think of characters in the book as old friends. This book transcends race and culture. This is not a "Chinese" story but a story of mothers and daughters; of hopes and wishes for one's children; of the joys and tragedies of life. The movie is excellent as well.
I have never really read anything having to do with Asia culture or history so I found this book very interesting. However, there are a lot of different characters so I had to take short notes to keep the strait. Also, I did like the ending. I think things could have been rapped up a little better.
Overall, I give it a 31/2
Sometimes I buy books someone says I should read to be considered literate. Frequently I shelve them because they feel like homework. This was on my bedside bookshelf from March 2007 until Labor Day Weekend 2011. When I finally cracked it I found I identified with it but not in the obvious way. Instead of gaining insight into mother-daughter relationships, I got more out of the storylines of young women who were struggling with other relationships. And like one of the moms, I too feel like I have a sense that something is going to happen and I do nothing to change it. Regardless of the self-analysis this book might evoke, everyone -- parent, child, man, woman -- should read it for the masterful storytelling. There are weighty subjects and sometimes a little bit of humor. Many of the images will stick with you -- I dare say haunt -- and you'll ask yourself how much the author draws on Chinese myths she heard growing up and how much of this is her pure imagination. You have your assignment; get started.
Each story is a fasinating vignette, and together they weave the reader through a world where the moon lady can grant any wish, where a child, promised in marriage at two and delivered at 12,can, with cunning, free herself, where a rich man's concubine secures her daughter's future by killing herself and where a woman can liven on, knowing she has lost her entire life.
Heartrending feelings will pull you into this story of mothers and daughters. Happiness at their successes in relating to each other is a reward for reading. This will make you search out other Amy Tan books to read.
This was pretty good. I didn't like it as much as the movie though. Actually, if I hadn't watched the movie first I may not have finished this book. I found it a little confusing and hard to keep up with who was telling the stories in different chapters. I do remember having the same experience with watching the movie, but at least I had a face to put with the story so that it was less confusing. All in all a beautiful story about mothers and daughters.
I enjoyed it. I caught the tail end of the movie and was intrigued so I decided I'd finally read this. As is often the case, whatever you encounter first seems better so I guess I preferred the movie but the book was quite good too.
A beautiful tale of a daughter learning of her mother's life before she was born, her mother's friends and their daughters, and her Chinese heritage. The women tell stories of lives once lived in a far away land, remembrances of their youth, some hard times but also wonderful memories. She begins to search for something lost that her mother never found, a wish, and wants to help finish her mother's story. A wonderful read.
Finished the audio of this beautiful story of 4 Chinese women, recent immigrants to San Francisco who form The Joy Luck Cub. 40 years later story and history continue. Amy Tan examines deep connections between mothers and daughters. A very moving account and a true classic. Sad but story ends on a very positive note.
How a huge book can end up such a short audio is beyond me. Obviously, they cut a ton out. But the essense is there...the true heart and soul. This is another mother and daughter story, but one of the most beautiful I've ever read, watched, listened to. Granted, I've read the book numerous times and watched the movie even more, and loved them. Every word of this book kept me interested, hating to turn it off, why couldn't it be longer.
Chinese mothers, and their Chinese-American daughters, their stories floating generation to generation, from China to American. Heartbreaking, uplifting, funny. Read by Amy Tan herself. I highly recommend this book.
I fell in love with the writing of Amy Tan in The Joy Luck Club. I am always eager for her next book to come out and I have really enjoyed them all. She has such a lovely way of describing emotions and life situations that the rest of us dance around and try hard to avoid. I highly recommend this book. :)
From the Publisher:
In 1949 four Chinese women - drawn together by the shadow of their past - begin meeting in San Francisco to play mah jong, invest in stocks, eat dim sum, and "say" stories. They call their gathering the Joy Luck Club. Nearly forty years later, one of the members has died, and her daughter has come to take her place, only to learn of her mother's lifelong wish - ad the tragic way in which it has come true. The revelation of this secret unleashes as urgent need among the women to reach back and remember... In this extraordinary first work of fiction, Amy Tan writes about what is lost - over the years, between generations, among friends - and what is saved.