The Joy Luck Club

Let me start by saying that this is not my kind of book. I’m not dissing it and I’m not saying that it isn’t a good read, but it’s just not for me.

The Joy Luck Club is a story of 8 women: 4 mothers and 4 daughters each telling their own stories about themselves and how they came to be who they are. It is considerably fraught with the difficulty of communicating across generational lines as well as cultural lines. All four of the mothers were born in China and fled to the U.S. during the Japanese occupation. All four of the daughters were born in the U.S. and raised American. Each chapter is told from the perspective of one of these women. Throughout the book the complaint from each woman is that her mother/daughter doe snot understand her and therefore has no idea who she really is. Only in the final chapter is there a sense of two generations finding a common ground but unfortunately by the time this happens, the new found feeling of understanding can no longer be expressed. Time has run out.

Don’t get me wrong, the story is told well and I’m sure for many it is a tear jerker. I, however, just could not find myself strongly attached enough to any of the characters to feel any emotional pull whatsoever. Perhaps I’m just temporarily worn out on deep meaningful relationship novels. Perhaps I need something lighter to read for my next choice. Perhaps I’m just not compelled by the mother-daughter bonding type story (surprising as I am now a mother of a daughter. Go figure.).

I chose to read this book because years ago I had seen the movie and thought it was quite beautiful and, really, when is a book not better than the movie. My answer: here. In this instance I think I was happier with the shortened but visually stunning screen version of this tale. It helped that it was shortened into less than two hours.

I’m temporarily taking a break from my reading list to catch up on my Harry Potter reading before the next movie and book are released. Yes, I am a Harry Potter Junkie and not ashamed to say so! I’ve nearly finished rereading The Half Blood Prince and will shortly return to my regular reading schedule.

Next in line is Christopher Moore’s A Dirty Job.

Becky – I have your suggested reading list saved away for later. I bought The Life of Pi and will attack that one after Moore. Thanks for the opinion!


~ by CableGirl on Friday, June 22, 2007.

3 Responses to “The Joy Luck Club”

  1. I kind of liked the book better…I don’t know, the movie was good (and a good way to waste a few classes in college). I like though that the book is set up in a way that you can read a chapter or so and put it down and read something else though…actually, come to think of it, high school English classes often read chapters as short stories.

  2. I am a fan of the book too. The movie in it’s condensed intense form was heartwrenching for me. Almost too much to take in in 2 hours. Joy Luck wasn’t the first Amy Tan I read, so perhaps I was accustomed to her prose and her character development style. Overall, I remember really enjoying the read.

  3. Like I said at the beginning of my post. I’m sure it is a great book. It’s just not for me. It’s too generational conflict driven for me. I like the way Tan writes and I can see why she has a following I just didn’t find myself attracted to any of the characters enough to care one way or the other if they resolved their relationship difficulties.

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