The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

the joy luck clubIt’s a story about four women and their four daughters. The mothers were born in the old China – somewhere at the war – had escaped many famine problems along the way. They all were poor once before in their life. After time, they migrated to America to start new lives although they thought they would never act like “real Americans”. This story had taken lots of points of view, ranging from one daughter to another, and one mother to another — one of my most favorite parts of the books. It’s important to know what’s your parents point of view, but it’s also essential to know what the teens are thinking too. It’s so much fun to see how they often think negative to each other.

For me, this novel is more like a collection of short stories. Every past of the mother was revealed, but it always come down to this: all mothers just want the best for their children.

The Joy Luck Club was originally founded by the mothers. Every week, they would all gather and have dinner, telling each other stories about their bratty daughters, who had finally turned into adults. After that, they would all play Mahjong. Winner would get all the money. Then they ate some food again before bidding goodnight and finally going home. Every mother expected something from their children, and apparently, in the Chinese case, they would never hesitate to say it out loud, much to the embarrassment of their daughters.

This feathers may look worthless but it comes from afar and carries with it all my good intentions

This is one of the quotes from the book, written from the introduction. It talks about how someone may make you look stupid and has no worth, but it comes from a long way back with all their good wishes and intentions to give to you. It’s one of the very powerful quotes found in this book. It symbolizes that every parents want their children to have a bright future, although it may come down to lots of fights on the way.

Every one in the story has their own problems. It is interesting to read how they tried to solve it by themselves. For example, one mother disapproved at the first place of her daughter marrying an American guy, but she couldn’t do anything much about it as her daughter was set up on her mind to marry. Her daughter understood the awkward situation, trying to at least sort out and make peace with her mother, although it was very difficult in the end.

This book reminds me a lot from The Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua, told from the perceptive of a Chinese mother who wants her daughters, Sophia and Louisa, to excel in music. She shoutes and grills them with all her might and forces them to practice for as long as possible until the piece is perfected. She has a clash of belief with American parenting values, who are considered (by herself) to be more relaxed and laid-back.

Although I am not trying to be judgemental and stereotypical here, I almost and always found this statement is true by reading many Western books and medias. I am an Asian kid, growing up with Asian values. My parents love and  educate me with respect to Asian honor and characters. I feel I am different with American kids who have different set of thinking and beliefs. I am not saying that one side has more virtue than the other. It’s just peculiar.

Amy Tan is an American writer whose works explore mother-daughter relationships and the Chinese-American experiences. Her best-known work is The Joy Luck Club, which has been translated into 35 languages.


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