I am probably the last Chinese-American to be reading The Joy Luck Club. It took me a very long time to get to this point. I fought myself on what it meant to be Chinese-American and rejected my Chinese identity for much of my life. On top of that, being a Chinese adoptee made reading a book about Chinese mothers and daughters seem daunting.
Well, I am so happy I took the plunge.
The Joy Luck Club is a novel of 16 vignettes that weave together to form one masterpiece. They are stories of hardship and hope. I found tears in my eyes at multiple parts as I learned why the mothers push their daughters, hoping for for successful lives.
I yearned for a connection with my own Chinese mother, one I will never know. I felt an urge to call my adoptive mother and speak about how while I am Chinese-American, I know the world will never just see me as Chinese.
This classic had me questioning my identity and my values in a way I had never done before. It was truly beautiful. The ‘short stories’ make it easy to read and a novel you can pick up easily. There were too many quotes for me to copy down in my book journal. It was that memorable for me.
While it has always seemed there has been a divide on how people (particularly Asians) have accepted/rejected this book, as a Chinese adopted person, I am very glad I read it. My only regret is that I didn’t read it sooner.