Book Review: The Joy Luck Club


Title: The Joy Luck Club
Author: Amy Tan
Language: English
Format: Paperback

I wanted to read this book since I read it in Amy Chua’s The Battle Hymn Of The Tiger Mother, the book of which I based my thesis from. What is enjoyable from reading The Joy Luck Club is the fact that it is really close to home.

The story in this book is about the first and the second generation Chinese American women. Amy Tan tried to capture the dynamics between the older and the younger generations from the shifting of values, and the importance of maternal role in the Chinese culture, and also the clash of culture in the east meet west kind of way.

I am not quite sure about the characters in this story. I found it a little bit confusing as there are too many names with so many different backgrounds, but not enough depth in each stories to make me feel engaged with them. I found that each characters in the story deserves their own novel. Amy Tan was so generous by giving them so much background stories, but was too busy to create more characters than actually peel the layers of personality in one.

I quite enjoy the writing style. It feels flat in the beginning, but started to get more interesting after the first few pages. Some chapters feel a bit draggy than the others, and I think there are a many parts that might confuse readers who are not familiar with Chinese culture. I did not really care with the interchanging language in the conversation, it did not help the storyline, and did not add the “chinese-ness” in the story anyway. If any, it just made me even more confused.

However, I think the story is alright. It is light enough to be read without thinking too hard, so it will be a nice reading for the Easter Holiday.

I think it is a good book to read. It gives you a sneak peak to what a traditional Chinese family could look like, and how immigrants get along in their new home. Of course I believe that since this book was written a long time ago, some parts of the story are no longer relevant to the today’s Chinese American families. But, it is still a good reference (although it is just a fiction) if you are curious.

I’ll rate this book 7/10.


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