The Joy Luck Club

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan - book cover

The Joy Luck Club
By Amy Tan

The Joy Luck Club follows the lives of four Chinese women and their American daughters. Amy Tan masterfully depicts the clash of culture that can occur between immigrant parents and first generation offspring. Each mother saw the importance of their daughters fully immersing in the new culture, but they also tried to teach important values from the culture they grew up in.

Genre: contemporary Setting, Familial Issues, Mother Daughter Relationship, Coming of Age

Why this is a Good Book For Teenage Girls

The Joy Luck Club is a good book for teenage girls because it celebrates the love and struggle between mothers and daughters. Amy Tan eloquently captures the complex relationship of mothers' hopes and daughters' dreams and how these visions can clash because of difficult communication. This is an excellent book for the teen who loves reading a mix of historical and contemporary life, family relationships, cultural issues, and philosophical issues.

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.

About the Author
Amy Tan was born in the US to immigrant parents from China. Her novels include The Joy Luck Club, The Kitchen God's Wife, The Hundred Secret Senses, The Bonesetter's Daughter and Saving Fish from Drowning, all New York Times bestsellers and the recipient of various awards. She is also the author of a memoir, The Opposite of Fate, two children's books, The Moon Lady and Sagwa, and numberous articles for magazines. Her work has been translated into 35 languages and has been adapted for film, television and opera. Amy Tan also serves as the Literary Editor for the Los Angeles Times magazine. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Intensely poetic, startlingly imaginative and moving, this remarkable book will speak to many women, mothers and grown daughters, about the persistent tensions and powerful bonds between generations and cultures. The narrative voice moves among seven characters. Jing-mei "June" Woo recounts her first session in a San Francisco mah-jong club founded by her recently dead, spiritually vital, mother. The three remaining club members and their daughters alternate with stories of their lives, tales that are stunning, funny and heartbreaking. The mothers, all born in China, tell about grueling hardship and misery, the tyranny of family pride and the fear of losing face. The daughters try to reconcile their personalities, shaped by American standards, with seemingly irrational maternal expectations. "My mother and I never understood each other; we translated each other's meanings. I talked to her in English, she answered back in Chinese," says one character. A crippling generation gap is the result: the mothers, superstitious, full of dread, always fearing bad luck, raise their daughters with hope that their lives will be better, but they also mourn the loss of a heritage their daughters cannot comprehend. Deceptively simple, yet inherently dramatic, each chapter can stand alone; yet personalities unfold and details build to deepen the impact and meaning of the whole. Thus, when infants abandoned in China in the first chapter turn up as adults in the last, their reunion with the one remaining family member is a poignant reminder of what is possible and what is not. On the order of Maxine Hong Kingston's work, but more accessible, its Oriental orientation an irresistible magnet, Tan's first novel is a major achievement. First serial to Atlantic, Ladies' Home Journal and San Francisco Focus; BOMC and QPBC featured alternates. 
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