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Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Joy Luck Club

I love Amy Tan. 

Which is a little bewildering to me, because I knew I loved Amy Tan even before I'd ready any of her work, or before I knew much about her. I just sort of decided I loved her. That's how I come to love most things: I decide to. Once all the impromptu quotes (gratis Dr. Welton) were from Amy Tan books, and once I read an excerpt from The Joy Luck Club in my American literature anthology, and you know, Amy Tan is an INFP and a member of The Rock Bottom Remainders. I guess that was the extent of my knowledge about her, but it was enough that I finally decided to screw my reading list and order The Joy Luck Club from the library.

I am not Asian-American. Before this year of NCFCA I didn't even personally know many Asians. (Heheh.) Is being Asian any different than being Scottish or Hispanic or Cape Verdian? I have no idea. But considering my ignorance of the whole "Eastern culture" or "1st generation American" thing, I really enjoyed this book. I read it during layovers and on the plane to and from Indiana. And when I got home from Regionals last night I read some more. And before I even read my ballots (actually, still haven't read those, what am I so afraid of?!) I finished the novel. Ah, so good! And not just because I decided it would be good, although that may have happened too, but because it truly was a good book. 

And you know what, we're not that different. People are people, and even though the book centered on the conflicts between American culture and Chinese culture, what it ended up showing was that the real conflict is between mothers and daughters. The characters hid behind their Chinese traditions or the American progressions, mothers blaming daughters and daughters blaming mother for foolishness, but it's just people being people. How their stories fit together was sheer literary genius, and the alternating sincerity and sarcasm, tragedy and irony, mother and daughter. There were no philosophical undertones, no characters worthy of adoration, just simple stories: some happy, some sad, all interesting. 

I'd say, it's a favorite.

2 comments:

QueenOfLillyFlowers said...

the joy luck club is one of my all time fav. stories! it was just so well written...

Hayley said...

Lilly, we are literary soulmates.