Tag Archives: amy tan

The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan

The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan: This is the third of Tan’s books I’ve read, and follows a similar pattern to the other two (Joy Luck Club, Kitchen God’s Wife): rebellious American daughter of misunderstood Chinese mother, culture clashes combined with generational differences, mother’s secret childhood in China eventually is revealed to daughter, understanding ensues. Luckily, Tan’s lyrical prose helps the formula remain fresh. The ending was unfortunately not as tight as it could have been; things were too tidy to be realistic, as if Tan were rushed to get the story out the door. I kind of think that if it were only the mother’s story it would have been good as it stands, without mentioning the daughter at all. But it was still a good read – up until the end.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

The Kitchen God’s Wife by Amy Tan

The Kitchen God’s Wife by Amy Tan: I almost put down this book after the first fifty pages or so, but I’m glad I stuck with it. I had two major concerns that turned out to be unfounded. This book was neither a recycled Joy Luck Club nor a tiresomely preachy precautionary tale about the dangers of keeping secrets from your loved ones until it’s too late. Sure, it starts off with secrets being kept by a Chinese woman, Winnie, from her Chinese-American daughter (and vice versa) but the bulk of the book is Winnie telling her daughter the story of her life in China during WWII. It reads like your grandmother telling you about her childhood in the old country: very personal and occasionally exaggerated, with a lot of unimportant details – much like all human memories. A few times I tired of the constant “oh my life in China was so horrible” refrain, but the ending is satisfying, uplifting, and very much worth it. I don’t know if I’ll actively search out more books by Amy Tan – I can only read about women who escape oppression in China so many times – but her lyrical prose and poetic metaphors were very lovely. If I ever find something by her with a vastly different plot I’ll scoop it up immediately, just to immerse myself in her gorgeous writing style once again.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

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