In Amy Tan’s fourth novel, she explores the relationship between an American-born middle-aged daughter, Ruth Young, and her Chinese immigrant mother, LuLing. Ruth is an extremely passive character that is forced to examine her own life when her mother develops the early stages of Alzheimer’s. The book has two narratives, Ruth’s own accounts of 1990s San Francisco life sandwiches her mother’s 1930s-’40s Chinese past. They must try to forge a path to understand each other between old Chinese superstitions and a painful family history with a modern world and LuLing’s increasing trouble understanding it.
This book is so sweetly poignant in it’s mother-daughter story lines. Although, admittedly I prefer the mother’s story much more than the daughter’s. Growing up and watching the immigrant-mother and daughter relationship between my oma and my mother, it is interesting to read a different culture’s view of the same type of relationship. This book is supposedly somewhat autobiographical and has been reviewed by many as a wonderful story line worthy of the same author who wrote Joy Luck Club. Unfortunately this is the first Tan novel I’ve read, but I enjoyed it so much, that I will be on the lookout for more in the future.