What is it about re-reading a favorite book? Its sort of like visiting an old friend, but finding out that they’ve changed. . . or maybe you have.
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The Joy Luck Club was published in 1989 when I was a senior in high school, though I don’t think I read it until 1992 (the year I was married). Amy Tan immediately became my new favorite author (replacing S.E. Hinton – favorite author of my youth) and for years I faithfully read everything Tan published. A year later (1993) JLC was made into a movie – a movie which remains one of my all time favorites. When the title came up as a potential read for my Book Club, I was thrilled to revisit an old friend.
Of course, I couldn’t find my paperback version of the book (most likely in the attic) so I went out and bought a new copy. At first, I couldn’t believe how SLIM this edition was. I remembered it being an incredibly thick saga. Nope, just 288 pages.
Details/Topics: The Joy Luck Club tells the individual stories of four Chinese women and their Chinese American daughters. It is a story about both the complexity of mother/daughter relationships, and the immigrant experience.
Reading it again, this time as the mother to a young adult woman, I found myself sympathizing (perhaps even relating?) to the mothers in Tan’s story.
“In two year’s time, my scar became pale and shiny and I had no memory of my mother. That is the way it is with a wound. The wound begins to close in on itself, to protect what is hurting so much. And once it is closed, you no longer see what is underneath, what started the pain.”
“And then it occurs to me. They are frightened. In me, they see their own daughters, just as ignorant, just as unmindful of all the truths and hopes they have brought to America. They see daughters who grow impatient when their mothers talk in Chinese, who think they are stupid when they explain things in fractured English. They see that joy and luck do not mean the same to their daughters, that to these closed American-born minds “joy luck” is not a word, it does not exist. They see daughters who will bear grandchildren born without any connecting hope passed from generation to generation.”