Select language, opens an overlay
The Joy Luck Club

The Joy Luck Club

Book - 1989
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Master storyteller Amy Tan examines the sometimes painful, often tender, and always deep connection between mothers and daughters in this New York Times bestseller.

" The Joy Luck Club is one of my favorite books. From the moment I first started reading it, I knew it was going to be incredible. For me, it was one of those once-in-a-lifetime reading experiences that you cherish forever. It inspired me as a writer and still remains hugely inspirational."--Kevin Kwan, author of Crazy Rich Asians

In 1949 four Chinese women-drawn together by the shadow of their past-begin meeting in San Francisco to play mah jong, invest in stocks, eat dim sum, and "say" stories. They call their gathering the Joy Luck Club.

Nearly forty years later, one of the members has died, and her daughter has come to take her place, only to learn of her mother's lifelong wish--and the tragic way in which it has come true. The revelation of this secret unleashes an urgent need among the women to reach back and remember...
Publisher: New York : Putnam, c1989.
ISBN: 9780399134203
Branch Call Number: FIC TAN, A.
Characteristics: 288 p. ; 24 cm.


From Library Staff

Where were you when you first read The Joy Luck Club? Treat yourself to one of the books that put Asian American writing on the American radar, and inspired one of the tear-jerking-ist movies, ever.

Lexile 930 | 6th grade +. This book is 352 pages, making it more of a challenge for learning readers. A wonderful story about Chinese immigrants to San Francisco, family, the game of mahjong, and food.

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
May 28, 2021

Every year, many immigrants come to the United States to start anew. “The Joy Luck Club” by Amy Tan, writes about four families of immigrants and three generations; the immigrants, their parents, and their children. This novel talks about issues Chinese immigrant mothers have with communicating between themselves and the new generation of American-born Chinese children. Though some portrayals of the mothers seem over exaggerated, many of them display the reasoning behind what the mothers expect of their children. Each family has a story to tell and similarly, each new immigrant to the US does too.

I loved Amy Tan’s style of writing, since it was full of Chinese culture and gave me a feel of how it was to be inside one of the four families. However, some parts of the novel were difficult for me to understand clearly, as the characters don’t explain various Chinese values.

pacl_teens May 14, 2021

""The Joy Luck Club" is a story of four Chinese-American immigrant families living in present-day San Francisco. I was drawn to read this book by its film adaptation. I prefer the movie over the book, as I find it hard to follow the text's nonlinear plotline, frequently skipping between timelines and protagonists, but this comes down solely to personal preference. From sixteen interlocking stories, including flashbacks and time-loops, we watch the bonds and conflicts between Chinese-immigrant mothers and their American-born daughters.

Like many other popular cross-cultural novels, such as the "Kite Runner" and "Crazy Rich Asians", "The Joy Luck Club" faced criticism for promoting racial stereotypes, idealized for the eyes of Western readers. As an American-Chinese, I can't say I resonate with the Asian-American experiences presented in the book, but at the end of the day, I think it is important for readers to understand that books such as this are not intended as representatives of cultures, but rather encouragements to the reader to explore cultural diversity." -Chloe, Grade 10

Jun 20, 2020

it's a very educational book and I highly recommend it.

Apr 27, 2020

I found this book somewhat bland and inconsistent. Some chapters, I found myself tearing up, while for other chapters, I found the characters struggles uninteresting and I simply did not enjoy reading their stories. The way the story is organized has much potential, however, I found it hard to follow the stories of each mother and daughter and I had to continually remind myself who each person I was reading about was and how their stories tied to the other stories. In addition, I really wished there could have been more in regards to the Joy Luck Club itself, as the book felt more like a series of short stories. I certainly really enjoyed some of these stories and would give them 5 stars as independent works because they masterfully evoked the feelings of the characters, time periods, and environment with subtle nuanced details, however, as a whole work, 'The Joy Luck Club' is lacking in consistency and completion.

I would definitely recommend reading the first chapter, Jing-Mei Woo: The Joy Luck Club, as it does a fantastic job of illustrating the struggles of Suyuan Woo during the Japanese occupation of China.

Aug 21, 2019

Well I read this book almost two decades ago when I was still in Southeast Asia- and the plot, the characters, the conflict, the feelings, the bright colours of the story- they are still vivid in my memory! What a beautiful and honest and realistic novel! This is my most favourite book of Amy Tan!

Groszerita May 16, 2019

Reread this book recently and loved it all over again. Mother daughter relationships, generational relationships, cultural differences.

May 08, 2019

Tried to put Joy Luck Club on Hold at Cody Now I don't see how to confirm.
Sheila Kelly

Kristen MERKE
Mar 05, 2019

Nothing like I expected, but enjoyable and powerful. Stories about love, family, history and the values of Chinese/American societies. Each character so unique and different, yet their similarities are what join them together to ultimately tell a story about loss.

Feb 04, 2019

Very interesting how all the stories weave together and the lessons they share.

Jan 30, 2019

Some of the stories were boring. One of the girls hated her mother. the others tried.

View All Comments


Add a Summary
Jun 20, 2020

The Joy Luck Club book by Amy Tan talks about Chinese American women and her daughter. The short story called Two Kinds from the book holds the main part of the book. The woman always wants her daughter to become a child prodigy. She starts by quizzing her multiple questions in order to discover her hidden genius. However, she pushes her daughter to play the piano which comes from watching a Chinese girl playing piano on television and the woman would hope that her daughter could also be the one. Her daughter keeps practicing piano without having any interest in it. Every teenage person would find the book educational for every decision they make whether in school or extracurricular activity. I highly recommend the book for teenagers because teenagers are always under the control of their parents and the parents are included in every decision they make. I enjoyed reading the book since it is related to my age which also taught me to make reasonable decisions.

Mar 18, 2017

This is the story of four Chinese women and their daughters. The mothers suffered great losses in the war, both financial and personal. To bolster themselves and each other, they formed the "Joy Luck" club, in which they shared friendship and happiness that was theirs for at least just that moment. Eventually, they emigrated to San Francisco. Their daughters grew up as Americans, but their Chinese nature was permanently and inescapably in their blood and bones and souls. I very much enjoyed the way the Chinese viewpoint inserted itself into the most mundane situations, especially as the mothers tried to teach their daughters the difficult lessons of life.

EPLPicks_Teen Apr 07, 2010

Encompassing two generations and a rich blend of Chinese and American history, the story of four struggling, strong women also reveals their daughters' memories and feelings.


Add a Quote
Aug 31, 2015

"I seemed to hear less than what was said, while my mother heard more. "

Feb 08, 2015

"What was worse, we asked among ourselves, to sit and wait for our own deaths with proper somber faces? Or to choose our own happiness?"


Add Age Suitability
Kristen MERKE
Mar 05, 2019

Kristen MERKE thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at CCCLib

To Top