Fiction

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

Over the weekend, Saturday July 13 to be exact, on the way home from Coney Island with Rachel and two of our friends, we spotted a bargain book store. We went in and I bought four books: The Joy Luck Club, Shutter Island, Greek Dramas (Four are inside) and The Rum Diary. The day before, Friday July 12, we went to the Italian Feast here in Williamsburg and in their flea market, we found more books! I got two books there: A Walk to Remember and Water for Elephants. So of course you know that I am going to review these books here! First we are going to start with The Joy Luck Club.

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The Joy Luck Club was written by Amy Tan in 1989 and is a book about 4 Chinese mothers and their Chinese-American daughters: Lindo and Wavery, Suyuan and June; Ying-Ying and Lena; and An-Mei and Rose. Each of the mothers (Lindo, Suyuan, Ying-Ying and An-Mei) have troubling, tragic stories. The four mothers meet at the First Baptist Church in San Francisco, California to play Mah Jong so that they can forget about their pasts and they ultimately call these sessions “The Joy Luck Club.” The name The Joy Luck Club comes from the joy that mah jong would bring the four mothers and the luck that came after since they would bet for pennies when they’d play and the winner would take all.

The four daughters do not know of their parents’ past but as the book goes on, the parents make it a point for them to know what is going on; except for June. June’s mother Suyuan died and the other three mothers tell June Suyuan’s story.

The story is beautifully written in first person from the mothers’ and daughters’ point of views. The novel is also broken down into 4 sections: Feathers from a Thousand Li Away, Twenty-Six Malignant Gates, American Translation, and Queen Mother of the Western Skies. Each part starts with a quote that relates to the section.

In Feathers from a Thousand Li Away, June is introduced along with part of her story. For the rest of that section, it talks about how the mothers met and the mothers’ childhood stories. In Twenty-Six Malignant Gates, the stories of the daughters’ childhoods are told. In American Translation, the stories of the daughters as adults are told. Then in the final part, Queen Mother of the Western Skies, the story returns to June and her mother, Suyuan.

The story is fairly easy to follow and there are some fun moments as well as moments where you will definitely want to cry.

Overall, I rate this story at 5 stars! It was definitely a different read from what I normally review and I hope that you will all enjoy this story as much as I did!

There is a movie adaptation of the book and I’m going to tell you this: Read the book before you watch the movie, because as always the movie IS different from the book. However, I am telling you this because the movie adaptation IS VERY DIFFERENT.

If you have already read this book, or decide to read it after reading this post, please feel free to comment in the comment section 😀 And as always, if you have a book that you want us to review, give us the name! We’d be glad to find it and review it!

xoxo,
Sam

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