I finally finished The Joy Luck Club… No, it was not a joy to read…
The short summary from my other article about The Joy Luck Club went as follows:
“The Joy Luck Club consists of 16 different but related stories. They’re all told from a different point of view, the view of four daughters and four mothers. The mothers tell their story twice – first they tell their childhood stories and then they tell their story as adults.”
So basically this book is a collection of 16 short stories, one can argue about this form of writing. Personally, I like the idea – but I’m not a big fan on how this book turned out. This can have something to do with the book was written, by dividing up the book like this you have no main person to follow – you have a few (here 8) persons you will follow. I felt that it was too much going back and forth between different situations.
As said above, I think one can write a good book with interwoven stories and with several main persons – I think The Joy Luck Club did too much of it.
That being said (written), I really liked a few of the stories. My favorite was “Half and half” which in from the point of view of Rose Hsu Jordan. The moral of the story is never giving up.
The story starts with a description of the Bible to Rose’s mother, how there was a time she always used it and how she now, in contrast, uses it as a prop on her kitchen table.
When Rose tells her mother that she and Ted are getting a divorce she tells Rose that she must do everything to save the marriage, Rose knows there’s no hope. After this we get to read the story from her childhood. When the family was at the beach Rose was instructed to keep an eye on her four brothers and her little brother Bing, 4 years old, being the main responsibility.
Bing asked to go to her father, who was out on the reef fishing, he got clearance from Rose. When her three other brothers started to fight, Rose’s mother called on Rose to separate them, meaning she had to focus on them instead of Bing. Rose lifted her head, and saw that Bing fell into the water.
A major rescuing attempt was launched, but it was unsuccessful. The day after Rose’s mother and Rose returns to the beach, looking. They were there for hours, nothing. Rose had to tell her mother that they weren’t going to find him; she had to let it go.
The story ends with Rose picking up her mother’s Bible, where it on the page called “Death” it is written “lightly, with an erasable pencil”: Bing Hsu. That being a symbol of never giving up, the hope of Bing returning was still there.
I want to conclude this little post about my final thoughts about The Joy Luck Club.
It’s an interesting book, although it’s a little hard to follow. Following eight persons is a little much – if it could’ve been cut in half I think it would’ve been a better story and reading experience.
What are your thoughts?
Thanks for reading!