"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 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).