Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Joy Luck Club, 59/81, 2nd Round

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, reread category

I am the mother of two teenage girls. I am also a daughter. This means that the whole mother-daughter relationship is one that I have given a lot of thought and energy. Being where I am in my life, I read The Joy Luck Club with a very different perspective from the time I first read it.

Jing-Mei Woo learns that her mother had a family before the one she has now, complete with a soldier husband and twin baby girls. With the war in China bringing such danger and uncertainty, her mother takes her babies and flees into the countryside. But her strength begins to fail and she makes the difficult decision to leave the girls, along with everything she owns, and hopes that someone will find them and take care of them.

But life doesn't work the way she expected. She survives. For years, she knows nothing about the fate of her daughters. She remarries and has another baby daughter. Then she learns that her twins have survived. She tries to contact them, she plans a visit. But she dies before she can make that trip.

All of this takes place early in the book. The rest of the book focuses on lives of 8 women, mothers and daughters. The mothers have lives and stories to tell that their daughters have never heard.

I enjoyed this book, if it was not quite so emotional for me as it was the first time I read it. Instead it just reminded me of how complicated this relationship is and how much I need to work on it.

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