I reading about China in The Joy luck club last year without knowing that I would be spending a month in Macau (a country that is still a part of Chinese government) soon after I finished it! Has this ever happened to you? So how did it fare on my chart? Let us find out.
About the Joy luck club
Book Name: The Joy luck club
Author: Amy Tan
Genre: Fiction – Historical, Drama
Characters: Jing-mei (June) Woo, Suyuan Woo, An-mei Hsu, Rose Hsu Jordan, Lindo Jong, Waverly Jong, Ying-ying St. Clair, and Lena St. Clair
Setting: San Francisco, The United States of America and China
Plot Summary of the Joy luck club
Following her mother’s death (Suyuan Woo), Jing-mei (June) Woo replaces her in the monthly Mah jong game. Suyuan and her friends started this tradition years ago when they moved into San Francisco as way to keep in touch with their Chinese culture and history. Through the years, the four mothers share their festivals, their daughters’ birthdays and achievements during the game.
While the mothers tried to preserve the culture, their daughters chase the American dream and lifestyle. They do not have the patience or interest in knowing their mother’s history and they scoff at the Chinese superstitions. Despite living under the same roof for years, the mothers and daughters live a life separated by their culture and life experiences.
The harder their mothers are on them, the harder the daughters rebel in their own way, without realizing unwittingly they are following their mothers’ path. They also are quick to leave behind their Chinese culture just like their mothers had.
During their game, Jing-mei finds out that just before her death Suyuan had traced her two other daughters that she had to leave behind during the World war II. And her mother’s friends urge her to take her mother’s journey to meet her long lost relatives who are still in China. Did she take that journey and find her sisters forms the rest of the story in The Joy luck club.
Book review of the Joy luck club
The Joy luck club is one of those classic cult hit when it was released in 1989. While it does feel a little bit dated, her major themes on mother- daughter relationship and generational gaps, especially between the first and second generational Chinese-Americans still holds good.
The Joy luck club contains sixteen short stories narrated by four Chinese born mothers and their respective daughters who make it a point not to learn Chinese over half a century! While it was fun to try to read this structure, the truth was it was a little difficult to remember all the secondary characters.
I loved how the daughters who scoffed at their mothers and their traditions in their childhood and well into their marriages, turn around as they mature and even get closer to them. And how their mothers in turn, learn to adapt into their new roles over the years. To be honest, The Joy luck club made me stop a moment and examine my own relationship with my mother.
Things that worked for me
- I loved the friendship/co-dependency between the mothers.
- The stories about the mothers before coming to the USA were haunting and so historically rich. I loved them.
Things that didn’t work for me
- Did the author somehow help the strict, cold Asian mothers and absentee Asian fathers stereotypes? (UPDATE: upon reading other reviews -YES SHE DID, AND FACED A SEVERE BACKLASH)
- I wish the book’s structure was a bit easier to follow through.
Similar reviews you might like
The Joy Luck Club is culturally and historically rich, even though it plays a bit to the stereotypes or even went to setting those stereotypes in the first place. If you are looking for a literary / historical fiction The Joy luck club by Amy Tan is a good choice.
Let us chat
Have you read The Joy Luck Club by AMy Tan? Have you visited any place that you read about? Can you suggest any book that speaks of mother-daughter relationships? Let us talk.
Do you know what is the overused word that I have been dreading to hear or read about a book? Nerds. Thanks to John Green, Chetan Bhagat and the likes, I am pushed to cringe physically when someone describes themselves as nerds. So when every book blogger I adore went crazy reviewing about the new YA on the block with two Indian leads who are nerds, I was not sure I would like the end of that melodrama. Still, I had to try it, right? Read more to find out what I feel about When Dimple Met Rishi
Book Name: When Dimple Met Rishi
Author: Sandhya Menon
Genre: Fiction – YA Romance
Characters: Dimple Shah, Rishi and Ashish Patel, Celia
Setting: San Francisco, California, The USA, India
Dimple Shah has ambitious plans for her life and has been accepted to Stanford. She wants to attend a coding camp that might give her a chance to work with her role model. But her parents have other plans for her. Rishi Patel, her parents’ choice of the groom for Dimple, arrives at the Insomnia Camp to spend time with her. Dimple ambushed by her parents hates Rishi even before she gets a chance to know him. Does her opinion about Rishi changes after she knows him better?
Rishi is the perfect first born son for his Indian parents, who follows his dad’s footsteps into computer engineering. He falls for the girl his parents chose for him and agrees to woo her at the summer program she has enlisted to. Does this arranged marriage situation end up well for his hopelessly romantic self? Does he realize what makes him happy, than just being the model son? You have to read the When Dimple Met Rishi to find out more.
Dimple and Rishi are so opposite in their beliefs and value systems, though their origin and culture are the same. While she is a rebel and wants to shine out in the world for herself before she could think of marriage, Rishi stays true to his roots and wants to fulfill his parents’ desires. They are both perfect for each other and fight hard to keep on their courses despite the fact that they were falling for each other. Oh, by the way, I totally adored the other duo (Ashish and Celia) in the story, and I am more than excited to know that there might be a follow up on their stories too.
When Dimple Met Rishi is a cute YA contemporary that would make you grin in all the right places. This short read is what one needs one a bored afternoon to lift you from your slump. Yes, there are some stereotyping towards Indians. And even as an Indian from a similar background, I could not believe these kids were just eighteen. I mean I was never that serious even then. I actually pegged Rishi to be in his late 20s or early 30s, before I had read further. You know I had already another Rishi with whom I had the same problem.
There are a few Hindi slangs but not too many to be turn-offish and the writing is so fluid and breezy that I read the book in less than three hours. Is When Dimple Met Rishi
worth all the commotion it has created by the Twittersphere and the great reviews found online? I would say a YES! If you are in the mood for a YA/romcom this season your choice is right here.
caI quickly needed a short and sunny read to wash out the bad after taste of the last book I read, and I picked out ‘Lola and the Boy Next Door on an impulse. I had wanted to read the Anna and the French kiss before this book, being the first of the series and all, but couldn’t find it on my book pile.
At a time when my Facebook wall is filled with pompous quotes from Augustus and Hazel from The Fault in Our Stars, Lola’s teenage love story came out as a refresher. It accomplished what I wished for. A quick breezy, light hearted distraction from all the chaos around me, without trying to be more than what it is. Don’t get me wrong, I do love reading about nerdy teens, even nerdy dying teens but that was not exactly what I wanted read just now.
Book: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Genre: Fiction – Romance;, Young Adult
Main Characters: Lola Nolan (Dolores Nolan), Cricket Bell, Calliope Bell, Max, Andy and Nathan Nolan, Norah Nolan
Setting: San Francisco, California, The USA
Dolores Nolan, a costume designer of 17, almost perfect daughter to her two dads and a part time worker at movie theatre. She is desperately in love with Max who is all coolness personified – a tattooed band musician with bleached hair roots of 22 years. She is pretty smitten over him, much like her namesake. She tries to earn her fathers’ blessings and freedom from their Sunday brunches with her boyfriend and check-ins through hourly calls. The parents and her best friend, Lindsey try to voice their concern over their age difference.
The story takes a turn when her first love, Cricket Bell (More about the name later) and his family return to their house after two years. Lola is unable to choose between cool and older Max or the childhood best friend and sweetheart, nerdy Cricket.
I loved the writing. It is a simple story, boy-girl break up, girl dates someone else, boy-girl meet again, gets back together after heart aches (and few sad tunes if it were a movie). I liked the way each character was described just the right depth without dragging the story line, yet deep enough to understand them.
I found it really hard to like Lola – for a 17 year old she is pretty dumb to be chasing a 22 old guy. Wait, that’s love – I am overlooking it. But she is too selfish, lying pretty much to everyone, ditching her best friend, and letting Max walk over Lindsey at every opportunity and then later gets completely dependent on Cricket for everything.
And what was the author thinking when she named a lead ‘Cricket’? He is Mr. Nice that’s it. Nothing to be liked about nor hated. But when he is with Lola he is just happy being a doormat. Wait again, it is love. Then what is this being a toy to his possessive sister? Both the male and female leads didn’t personally appeal to me, but I liked the mushy love story.
Oh, there is also yet another love story on the sidelines, Anna and St Clair from the book one, which made me feel I have to read that book but not right now. I will wait for my next mood out or another bad book 😉