Welcome to the final discussion of The Joy Luck Club.
Did you enjoy finishing the book this week? I thought it had a pretty satisfying ending--did you? I loved how the story ended with such a joyous and hopeful scene.
I really liked the fact that the last section told more about the mothers. I enjoyed the stories about the daughters, but I thought the stories about the mothers were more interesting and emotional. Each of the mothers overcame so much pain before coming to the United States. It's like they each lived two totally separate lives. I couldn't believe the strength each woman had.
An-Mei Hsu's chapter followed her life after she left her village to be with her mother. It was unbelievable that her mother had been tricked into becoming a concubine. I couldn't believe how heartless and mean the second wife was. It was just so cruel that the second wife ended up taking An Mei's little brother to raise as her own. It was interesting that An Mei found her voice after her mother died, and I liked how at the end of her chapter, she related that she understood what it was like to live life like a dream, so she wanted her daughter, Rose, to be different. Rose ended up discovering her voice, also, when she told her ex-husband that she wanted the house. I liked how both women were able to find power for themselves.
Throughout the book, I felt like the St. Clair family had the saddest story. Ying-Ying seemed so out of touch with reality, and her depression affected her daughter so much. So, it was interesting to see in her final chapter how strong she had been and how she let herself lose her spirit when she allowed her second husband to marry her. In the end of the chapter, she decides to harness her pain and use it to regain her tiger spirit. And, she will share her story to her daughter in hopes that her daughter will also become more strong. Do you think it will work? Her daughter, Lena, was the one who had a marriage that was based on sharing and comparing and making lists of expenses to share. Do you think Lena will learn to use her strength after she hears about her mother?
I thought the most interesting thing in Lindo Jong's chapter was the fact that she used fortunes from a fortune cookie to plant the idea of marriage in her husband's mind. That was definitely a creative idea. She also mentions at the end of her chapter that she knows she is not fully Chinese anymore, and she wonders what she lost and got back in return after being in America. I think that would be really hard to toggle between two identities. I can't imagine feeling not 100 percent at home wherever you are.
In the final chapter, Jing-Mei is able to reunite with her half-sisters. It was hard to read about how Jing-Mei's mother had been separated from the babies and had hoped to be reunited with them, but I was glad to read that they had been rescued by caring people. I loved how, when they were reunited and were looking at the Polaroid, that they realized that together they all looked like their mother. And, together, they were able to complete the mother's wish to have all of her daughters in one space. I thought that was really special.
What were your favorite parts of the last section? Were you satisfied with the journey of each character? Did you wish anything was different about the ending? Would you read more stories about these characters?
If you enjoyed this book, you might enjoy the items on this list I created. Make sure to tell me if you check out any of the items on the list!
Finally, before you go, check out the video above. It's a trailer for an Amy Tan documentary that debuted at Sundance Film Festival this year. I love all of the photos that are included in the video clip. And, if you'd like to read more about Amy Tan's personal life, checkout Where the Past Begins, her latest book.
I hope you enjoyed this book and are excited to join us again next month as we read The Good Liar. I can't wait to hear from you in the comments section!