A review by marissasa
The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan

emotional sad tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


This book tells the stories of 4 immigrant Chinese women and each of their Chinese-American daughters. Although I like multiple POVs for the fact that they never get monotonous, they almost always end up with some characters being less developed or having less time focused on their stories, and that is definitely the case with this one. I enjoyed all the mothers' POVs and the look into their lives before they came to America, but honestly didn't think the daughters' stories matched them at all in how interesting and nuanced it made their situations. All the mothers had trauma relating to the loss of their children and families, marriage issues, being displaced from their homes, and their daughters' not understanding them. All of the daughters then had generational trauma, mommy issues, and a disconnect from their Chinese identities. The thing that made me dislike almost all of the daughters' stories was that except for Jing-mei, all of their POVs revolved around their troubles with their white husbands or boyfriends. The whole time I'm reading about them just thinking "free my sisters from the shackles of white men lmao". I wish they were given more depth and character development that was unrelated to their relationships with white men, or at least having just one character go through that so that the daughters' stories weren't so similar and forgettable. Jing-mei is the exception to this and I definitely thought her and her mother Suyuan's stories were the most memorable, and I do wish they had more time for their stories than they got. I did love the ending and how the story came full circle with the first and last chapter being Jing-mei's though, and the emotional conclusion felt satisfying.

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