The Joy Luck Club
Partly inspired by Amy Tan’s own relationship to her mother, The Joy Luck Club, Tan’s debut novel, was published in 1989. It tells the stories of four immigrant women from China – their hopes, fears, and tragic pasts – as well as the stories of their four American-born daughters. This mother-daughter story encompasses numerous universal themes, such as family, hope, love, sacrifice, strength, and wishes for a better life.
Why Should I Care?
What does a story that so beautifully treats the Chinese-American experience have to do with you? Answer the following questions to find out:
- Have you been, or will you ever be, a confused teenager?
- Do you have a mother? Do you totally not understand her, ever? Do you love her? Do you sometimes hate her?
- Do you have dreams? Wishes? Desires?
- Do you feel like you’re always falling short of your parents’ expectations?
- Do you feel like you know what’s wrong in your life but you just can’t fix it?
If you’re still doubtful that you’re going to see any part of your own life reflected in The Joy Luck Club, you might want to read it just because it’s a good story. Off the top of our head, The Joy Luck Club has: extra-marital love affairs, food, laughter, blood and gore, war, faith and fate, twins, chess, superstition, abandoned children, elopement, and much, much more. It’s drama, it’s people. It’s stuff that could compete with Desperate Housewives any day of the week.