The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan Unabridged
Narrated by Gwendoline Yeo
Length: 9 hrs and 4 min

GENRE: General Fiction

TEASER: The Joy Luck Club explores the relationships of four Asian-American women with their Chinese born mothers.

SUMMARY: The story Follows Four Asian-American women and their complex, often misunderstood relationships. The four mothers Suyuan Woo, An-Mei Hsu, Lindo Jong, and Ying-Ying “Betty” St. Clair formed a club called the Joy Luck Club. In this club they play mahjong and test their luck. The story begins with Jing-mei/June explaining that her mother has recently died. June is asked to take her mother’s place at the mahjong table. As June takes her mother’s place at the table she begins to look back on their relationships and the stories her mother told her. The story also looks at the other three mother’s and their daughters, Rose Hsu Jordan, Waverly Jong, and Lena St. Clair.

CRITIQUE: The book switches character perspectives for each chapter. The story is told through a series of flashbacks from each character while they are gathered together after Suyuan Woo, June’s mother dies. Each woman reflects on their past and their relationships with each other. Amy Tan’s prose are rich and lyrical. She paints a picture with her worlds effortlessly. She addresses issues of immigrant cultural identity, sexism, cultural translation, and control over one’s own destiny.

The mother daughter relationship can be complex and confusing. Many readers can relate to Tan’s tale even if they do not come from an immigrant family. Most mothers feel out of touch with their children at some point. Most children, no matter what the age feel like their parents can’t understand their situation. Tan illustrates the complexities of these relationships through rich and vibrant stories woven through strong cultural traditions.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Amy Tan is an Asian-American author who explores the mother-daughter relationship in her writing. The Joy Luck Club has been adapted into a motion picture and translated into 35 languages. some of her other works are The Bonesetter’s Daughter, The Kitchen God’s Wife, and A Hundred Secret Sense.

Tan grew up in Oakland, California. She attended San Jose State University for English and Linguistics. She now lives in Sausalito, California with her husband, Louis DeMatte. She is in a band called The Rock Bottom Remainder with fellow authors Stephen King, Barbara Kingsolver, Maya Angelou, etc.


READING LEVEL: General Adult

CHALLENGE ISSUES: There is mention of rape and abuse in this book.

DEFENSE: I would suggest looking at the ALA’s support page for challenged materials.

CURRICULUM TIES: Contemporary American Literature

BOOKTALKING IDEAS: Discuss the mother daughter experience. Do you think that non-immigrant mother-daughter relationships face similar challenges?

WHY INCLUDED: Amy Tan is one of my favorite author’s of all time. I first read her book The Joy Luck Club in my freshman year of high school. She has inspired me to write and read.