Welcome to Week 3 of the Online Book Club
Did you enjoy the section this week? This book is definitely emotional, so it's a little hard to read, but the writing is so beautiful, and the characters are so fleshed out that it's worth the read. Don't you feel like these characters could be real people? I like how the characters are so realistic it almost feels like reading a memoir, not a fictional book.
Did you like reading about the daughters as children and then as adults? It was interesting to see the ways they had changed and the ways they had stayed the same. I think I feel the most for Jing-Mei Woo. In her childhood chapter, she was constantly disappointing her mother. She wasn't a prodigy in piano, and she ends up embarrassing her whole family when she does that piano performance. Couldn't you feel her embarrassment as you were reading that part? As an adult, Jing-Mei is still trying to measure up, and she finds herself still disappointing everyone. She tries to embarrass Waverly by mentioning the fact that she never got payment from Waverly's company for the work she did for them, but Waverly turns it around and says how the company didn't like Jing-Mei's work and thought it was poor quality. The chapter does end well with her mother commenting that Jing-Mei would have taken the broken crab, and then she gives Jing-Mei the jade necklace. I felt like that showed after all, that her mother really was proud of her and didn't wish she was like Waverly.
Rose's childhood story was heartbreaking. Her little brother drowns, and she feels like it is her fault. In her adult chapter, her marriage has fallen apart, and her husband is frustrated that she never makes decisions and uses her voice. Weren't you so glad that she learned to use her voice and made her husband give her the house? I was so proud of her when I read that part. I thought it was a fair request--I hope she's able to fix up the garden the way she likes it.
What did you think of Lena's story. If you remember, she struggled a lot as a child because her mother had hallucinations and was always sad. Now, as an adult, she's in an unconventional marriage where they keep track of every single expense and are always balancing things out. I think it would be really hard to keep track of all expenses and then balance them with a spouse. I think I would feel resentful for every penny that they spent. Do you think it would be hard to keep track like that? What do you think will happen between her and her husband? Do you think they'll be able to come to an agreement with each other? Her mother gives her some advice at the end of the chapter--do you think Lena will follow it?
Waverly's chapter helped me feel a little more kindly towards her. It was hard to read how scared she was to share Rich with her family, and it was really hard to see how Rich was trying with the family but was doing everything wrong. I felt embarrassed for him. But, in the end, it seems like Waverly and her mother make peace with each other. I like that they are all going to go back to China together.
Did you enjoy any of the chapters more than the others? Which mother/daughter pair have you enjoyed reading about the most? Do you feel like you can see similarities between all of the daughters? Do they all do similar things? What about the relationships between all of the mothers and all of the daughters? In what ways are they all having conflict with each other? If you're curious about why Amy Tan wrote about mother/daughter relationships in this book, check out this article about Amy Tan and her mother from The Chicago Tribune.
Before you go, check out the video below to see why the movie version of The Joy Luck Club was so important and pivotal in Hollywood.
I hope you're able to finish the book by next week. I can't wait to hear from you in the comments section!