Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Bonesetter's Daughter/The Kitchen God's Wife by Amy Tan

If you've never read Amy Tan, you need to make that your next reading project.  Her books have several major themes that make them fascinating, and her writing style is so engaging that you won't want to put the book down.  I have The Joy Luck Club, The Kitchen God's Wife, The Hundred Secret Senses and The Bonesetter's Daughter on my shelf and I re-read them regularly as the storylines are so "rich" that the books are a pleasure every time again. 

Read more about Amy Tan here:

Her books contain several common themes:
  • secrets - and how they can slowly destroy relationships
  • mother and daughter... every daughter feels some degree of resentment against her mother, usually based on misunderstanding, and as the secrets are revealed, the relationship can deepen
  • guilt - for choices made, for opportunities missed, for loved ones lost along the way
  • the generation gap, especially in immigrant communities- second generation immigrants can feel trapped between the desire to become part of the new culture, and the obligation to stay connected to the old culture and they often become translators between the two cultures
  • fulfilment through art... art in various forms becomes an escape from the struggles of everyday life, and a way to come to terms with life
The Bonesetter's Daughter:
This is the story of Ruth and her mother LuLing.  LuLing is in the early stages of AAlzheimer's and Ruth is increasingly frustrated by her mother's confusion.  LuLing has recorded her story for Ruth to read one day, as as Ruth reads her writings, she begins to understand her mother like never before.

The Kitchen God's Wife:
This is the story of Pearl and her mother, Winnie.  Pearl has been keeping a secret from her mother, and as they reconnect over Great Auntie Du's funeral, she discovers that her mother has been keeping a secret too.  Winnie tells her heart-breaking story of her first marriage in China and revealing the truth allows mother and daughter to grow closer.

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