The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

83%

21 Critic Reviews

With lantern-lit tales of old China, a rich humanity, and an acute ear for bicultural tuning, a splendid first novel--one that matches the vigor and sensitivity of Maxine Hong Kingston (The Warrior Woman, 1976; China Men, 1980) in her tributes to the abundant heritage of Chinese-Americans.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

This widely acclaimed bestseller spans two countries and two generations, following a group of Chinese women who meet to play mah jong, invest money and tell the secret stories of their lives. They call their gathering the Joy Luck Club.
 

About Amy Tan

See more books from this Author
Amy Tan is the author of The Joy Luck Club, The Kitchen God's Wife, The Hundred Secret Senses, The Bonesetter's Daughter, The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life, Saving Fish from Drowning, and two children's books, The Moon Lady and Sagwa, which has now been adapted as a PBS production. Tan was also a co-producer and co-screenwriter of the film version of The Joy Luck Club. Her essays and stories have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. Her work has been translated into thirty-five languages. She lives with her husband in San Francisco and New York.
 
Published September 21, 2006 by Penguin Books. 354 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Children's Books, History, Education & Reference, Science & Math. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Joy Luck Club
All: 21 | Positive: 19 | Negative: 2

Kirkus

Excellent
on May 20 2010

With lantern-lit tales of old China, a rich humanity, and an acute ear for bicultural tuning, a splendid first novel--one that matches the vigor and sensitivity of Maxine Hong Kingston (The Warrior Woman, 1976; China Men, 1980) in her tributes to the abundant heritage of Chinese-Americans.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by John Mullan on Nov 15 2013

Though it is not essential to the enjoyment of Amy Tan's geometrically structured novel, some understanding of the rules of mah-jong might help the reader appreciate its shapeliness.

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Examiner

Above average
Reviewed by Elizabeth Provenzano on Jun 28 2010

The target audience for this book is women. Although Chinese-American women would probably get the most out of this book, or any of Tan’s books for that matter, women in general can appreciate the dynamic relationships between the mothers and daughters.

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Examiner

Excellent
Reviewed by Hugh Patterson on May 14 2010

In a time when the terms “broken family” and “single parents” are the norm rather than the exception, it’s good to know that there’s a book that transcends the mountain of tragic family dramas circulating around the bookshelves.

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Christian Science Monitor

Excellent
Reviewed by Merle Rubin on Mar 14 2010

In Tan's hands, these linked stories - diverse as they are - fit almost magically into a powerfully coherent novel, whose winning combination of ingredients - immigrant experience, mother-daughter ties, Pacific Rim culture - make it a book with the ``good luck'' to be in the right place at the right time.

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Booklist Online

Excellent
Reviewed by Mary Banas on Dec 10 2015

This beautifully crafted and inventive novel effectively folds these many personal stories into one, creating a moving narrative that testifies to the layering of memories that occurs not only within one’s own life but also within successive generations of families.

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Common Sense Media

Above average
on Mar 26 2015

Parents need to know that The Joy Luck Club weaves the stories of four Chinese immigrant mothers and their four daughters into a richly satisfying novel.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by Bapalapa2 on Jan 28 2014

I highly recommend The Joy Luck Club - its message transcends ages and backgrounds. No matter how different you may be from your family, you will always be connected to them through your heritage.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by RishaFlowers on Jan 28 2014

Tan entices the reader to immerse themselves in the lives of the mothers and daughters to experience the complexity and mystery involved in everyday life.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by Minh V. on Jan 28 2014

...once you've started reading, you will find it very hard to put down. It is no wonder that they made a movie from it, but in my opinion, you should read the book before you see the movie because it is much better.

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Quick Book Reviews

Above average
Reviewed by David Ben Efraim on Oct 01 2013

...The Joy Luck Club is a very heartwarming and inspiring book, teaching us about family relations, how to navigate the tough passages of life, and that no matter how bad things may be going, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. I definitely recommend it to anyone who doesn’t shy away from a slower read.

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Book Addiction

Good
Reviewed by Heather on Feb 24 2008

Perhaps if the book was longer there would have been more substance to each woman, or maybe if Tan focused on two mother-daughter relationships instead of four. Having said that, I still really loved this book and am happy to recommend it.

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https://suite101.com

Good
Reviewed by Fiona H.W. Wong on Sep 16 2012

Amy Tans The Joy Luck Club is one influential narrative in Chinese-American literature. The book has aroused peoples attention to the issue of identity crisis of those who have multiple identities.

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http://www.reviewstream.com

Good
on Jan 28 2014

There was a movie made a couple of years after the novel. But I would say you should definitely read the book first. Because it can explain the how hard it was for then alot better than the movie.

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Tiny Library

Good
Reviewed by Sam on Oct 13 2012

The Joy Luck Club is an excellent rendering of the immigrant experience. By choosing to focus on four mothers and four daughters, Tan covers in detail what it is like to be a first or second generation immigrant to America and how difficult it can be to pass on your culture in a different country.

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Estella's Revenge

Good
on Nov 21 2013

I'm doing a really sucky job of explaining why I loved this book, but it's beautifully written, it's accessible no matter what your cultural background, and it's universal to those difficult (at times) mother/daughter relationships.

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Caroline Bookbinder

Good
Reviewed by Carin Siegfried on Dec 30 2010

I'm thrilled I reread this, and I finished it in just 2 days. It was powerful, evocative, heart-breaking, and in the end hope-giving.

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The Quiet Voice

Good
on Apr 15 2012

While I had difficulty discerning the characters from one another while reading the book – I had to constantly reference the front section to keep myself from utter confusion – overall I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a bittersweet story about Chinese culture or the unbreakable bond between mothers and daughters.

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http://bookstove.com

Above average
Reviewed by sri harsha on Sep 15 2008

The novel ends in a good note and the storytelling used to portray the story makes it very convincing. Otherwise it is very difficult for an author to convince a reader about four stories simultaneously. But it is made possible in this book just because of the unique way of storytelling.

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Marjolein

Excellent
Reviewed by MarjoleinBookBlog on May 05 2011

The stories of the mothers and daughters where sometimes happy but also sometimes very sad, the mothers had to suffer some harsh times in China, while some of their daughters where facing even more difficult things while living in the USA. Just a book you must have read once in your life!

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Such A Book Nerd

Good
Reviewed by JamieP on Aug 21 2012

My heart was broken by a few tales, too – namely Rose-Hsu’s story of the death of her younger brother. It’s all good. Every page of it.

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Reader Rating for The Joy Luck Club
78%

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JENNA AUBREY

JENNA AUBREY 5 Sep 2013

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