One of the first book reviews I wrote for this blog was on an Amy Tan book, ” The Valley of Amazement.’ Since then I have wanted to read another one of her books so when I found myself with a new library card I went looking through the shelves trying to remember something off of my to read list. You would think that would be a fairly easy task seeing as my to read list is up to 720 books but you would be wrong. I spent a few minutes this way and then I gave up and went up to a random shelf deciding to pull various books out until I saw something that seemed interesting to me. I happened to walk right up to Amy Tan and remembered that I wanted to read another one of her books. I looked at a few options and ended up choosing ‘ The Joy Luck Club’. I do not regret it. Though the size may be vastly different than ‘ The Valley of Amazement’ and the story utterly different I still would highly recommend any Amy Tan book. Her stories span not only countries and long periods of time but also a plethora of human emotion and thought. One again I found that as an mostly ignorant American in regards to Chinese tradition and culture, I was able to learn both the rigidity but also deep bond of Chinese families. I acknowledge that this a story and so to some extent things are abstracted and generalized. Yet, I walked into the story in one mindset and walked out understanding and feeling a vastly different set of emotions. Tan takes your emotions and plays with your heart strings manipulating what we may think of as the perfect family picture and leaving the traces of something murkier. Family, as Tan shows us, runs deeply and you can’t change that no matter how hard you try. It is in your blood for better or for worse. However, you can change how you react to that fact and you can choose to do with it what you wish. In the end, I walked away from this book having a better sense for my own familial identity and realizing ,despite the crazy and the bad times, I am lucky for the family that I have. They are a part of me and I am a part of them and we can fight it all we want but we are usually better of learning to embrace it. So, to anyone looking for their next book to read, maybe consider reading this one especially if you are interested in Chinese culture, family or stories that you get to read from the perspective of multiple characters. Bonus, though I have not watched it, it was made into a movie as well so if you are one of those people who like reading things and then seeing the movie, this is the choice for you.
Have you read this book or another one of Amy Tan’s books? If so, tell me your thoughts on it/them. Also, as always I am always open to any book suggestions you think I might enjoy or want to know if I have read.
Thanks for stopping by. Love to all my little ink angels.
” Me and the pen, we are one. If its ink would cease to flow, my ink would cease to flow.”