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  The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

Review by: Carlene L.
Alberta, Grade 10

I didnít know much about Chinese culture until I read The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. The novel is about four mothers, who are in the joy luck club and all immigrated from China, and their four daughters, who were all born and raised in America. The story takes place in China, before 1949, and America, specifically San Francisco California after 1949. The Joy Luck Club explores each mother-daughter relationship; with little stories all weaved into an interconnected plot that is touching and unique.

Amy Tansí amazing writing skills and her own insight on Chinese culture made the book very realistic. It allowed you to see what life was like in Chinatown, San Francisco for a Chinese immigrant, and immigrant descendant. Balancing American cultures while trying to keep Chinese culture lively and strong.Amy Tan, a daughter of two immigrants, used her experiences and knowledge to better reflect what life really was like.Tansí writing also let you understand the characters reflection and feelings about a situation, which pulled me into the book.

The omniscient point of view of the book was very interesting, but effective. Tan alternated from Motherís to daughterís in each section of chapters to represent different perspectives and experiences, and to convey the fact there is conflict between generations. This point of view also emphasized the difference between the mothers and the daughters, regarding their cultural backgrounds. It allowed you to see the lives of both the mother and the daughter, showing you what separated and brought mothers and daughters together. At the beginning of the novel, the point of view was a bit confusing, but by the end of the novel everything came together perfectly, with an end that satisfies.

In this novel, there were many main characters, but the one that stood out the most to me was Jing-mei (June) Woo, who is a daughter of an immigrant. The character Jing-mei seemed to represent Amy Tan, her life and possibly the relationship she and her mother had. The fact that the character is based on Tan, gives the novel an even better reading experience. As a young girl Jing-mei was very stubborn and naÔve, she didnít understand her mothersí Chinese past, and was content with her American life. Not until her mothersí death does she start to want to learn about a significant part of her life, her Chinese heritage. She asked questions that only her own mother could answer, and had to figure out a way to get the answers. Her mothersí death leaves behind a secret, two lost daughters, now found, and the looming question if Jing-mei will visit her unknown sisters.

I would recommend this book to any mother or daughter, it is a must read. A classic all of its own. It gives you understanding of an immigrants life, while still having situations that you may relate to with your own mother, but maybe under different circumstances. I enjoyed The Joy Luck Club and would recommend it to almost anyone.

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