The Joy Luck Club (Penguin Orange Collection)

The Joy Luck Club (Penguin Orange Collection)

by Amy Tan


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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

Part of the Penguin Orange Collection, a limited-run series of twelve influential and beloved American classics in a bold series design offering a modern take on the iconic Penguin paperback

Winner of the 2016 AIGA + Design Observer 50 Books | 50 Covers competition
For the seventieth anniversary of Penguin Classics, the Penguin Orange Collection celebrates the heritage of Penguin’s iconic book design with twelve influential American literary classics representing the breadth and diversity of the Penguin Classics library. These collectible editions are dressed in the iconic orange and white tri-band cover design, first created in 1935, while french flaps, high-quality paper, and striking cover illustrations provide the cutting-edge design treatment that is the signature of Penguin Classics Deluxe Editions today.

The Joy Luck Club
In 1949 four Chinese women, recent immigrants to San Francisco, begin meeting to eat dim sum, play mahjong, and talk. United in shared unspeakable loss and hope, they call themselves the Joy Luck Club. With wit and sensitivity, Amy Tan’s debut novel—now widely regarded as a modern classic—examines the sometimes painful, often tender, and always deep connection between these four women and their American-born daughters.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143129493
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/18/2016
Series: Penguin Orange Collection Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 201,004
Product dimensions: 4.90(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Amy Tan is the author of The Joy Luck Club, The Kitchen God’s Wife, The Hundred Secret Senses, The Bonesetter’s Daughter, The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life, Saving Fish from Drowning, The Valley of Amazement, and two children’s books, The Moon Lady and The Chinese Siamese Cat, which was adapted into a PBS television series. Tan was also a coproducer and co-screenwriter of the film version of The Joy Luck Club. Her essays and stories have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, and her work has been translated into thirty-five languages. She lives with her husband in San Francisco and New York.


San Francisco, California and New York, New York

Date of Birth:

February 19, 1952

Place of Birth:

Oakland, California


B.A., San Jose State University, 1973; M.A., 1974

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The Joy Luck Club (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 349 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Joy Luck Club is a story that portrays the different vignettes of four tenacious Chinese immigrant mothers and their first generation strong American daughters. As a first generation Chinese myself, I could immediately relate to some of the difficulties that the daughters faced, and many of the vignettes of the mothers reminded me of my parents/grandparents stories. The story also gives the reader a glimpse into the life of a typical Chinese lady in the 20th century and introduces the reader to Chinese culture and society. In the book, the daughters often try to be free from the constant nagging of the mother's, and one of the daughters even views her mother as an obstacle she must overcome, her own personal battle. I could really relate to the hard time that the daughters faced, because I myself am used to having my grandpa always comment on everything I do. His complaining would often leave me feeling imprisoned and constrained. I just wanted to get away from everything and anything that had to do with my family. However, through the course of this book I came to realize that the nitpicking of the older generation was just their own unique way of showing their love for their children. Many times, the Chinese daughters are often left confused by their mother's messages. The daughters cannot relate and understand the underlying meaning because of the different cultures that the mothers and daughters come from. While the Chinese culture is a high context culture the American culture is the polar opposite, a low context culture. Often times, the clashing of cultures would lead to confusion and frustration on both sides. I think that another reason why the mothers and daughters have such a difficult time understanding each other is because of the completely different environments that they grew up in. The mother's faced sexism, racism, and the struggle to just simply survive. Often times, the things that they learned growing up became important symbols and lessons that they hoped to pass down to their children. But to the daughters who grew up in an environment where they tried to hide their roots as much as possible, and being Asian was "unfashionable", these messages only helped to widen the gap between mother and daughter. The book illustrates the journey that the mothers and daughters faced trying to understand the different cultures and perspectives of the Chinese and American way of thinking. Chinese people prize filial piety above all other characteristics, and I remember often having to go to temples to pay my respects to my ancestors and that I could not talk back to my elders. In one of the stories, the Joy Luck Club is having a crab dinner. Since everyone immediately grabbed the largest and juiciest crabs, the hosts, Suyuan (mother), and Jing-mei (daughter), are left with the last two crabs. Jing-mei knows that one of the crabs was dead before they bought it, which is bad luck in Chinese culture, so she willingly grabs the dead crab so that her mother may enjoy the tastier crab. This is a very good example of filial piety, while everyone else is greedy, and hopes for the best for themselves, the daughter is being respectful by leaving the better crab for her mother. I specifically remembered this story from the book because I think that if I was in the same position as Jing-mei I would have taken the better crab for myself.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was one of the most enlighting, purest books ever! I loved it from the beginning it shows you the powerful bond between mothers and daughters 'cheesy I know but true!'. It shows hardship, passion, and experience. It showed me what mothers are capable of and what they would do to protect their children, and it inspired me to be in English Honors as well as a possible future writer...
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wow is what I have to say about this book if I had to describe it in one word. I'm a senior in high school and my english teacher gave it to me because we are going to read it later in the year but I read it early. I started on the first page and couldn't stop. I have never read a lot like this, I read all 336 pages in two days, in school, after school, whenever I had the chance. I LOVE the way Amy Tan wrote this book, the vignettes are so beautiful and touching. I found myself really feeling for the characters in the book. I am mesmorized, I feel the most unexplainable feeling of happiness and sadness since I have read it. I can't wait to read it again!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is really a great book to read, because of the lessons behind each story. Eight unique women from two generations and each have a story to tell. The joy luck club is a book that different type of people will enjoy and get to learn in the process. It allows readers to travel to China and learn some of the customs. It also touches the different types of loves that exist in the world such as the love for the family or the love for a partner. It really is a fun book to read and some might even shed a tear or two.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
With stories of the past, relationships between the mothers and daughters show a gap of no understanding. The recent death of Suyuan Woo's mother, Jing Mei "June" Woo, causes questions to pop up after her passing. The questions leave blanks in what is to be contrasted in similarities and differences. It made the daughters think in a new light of how there mothers were, and showed a better understanding of their actions and words. The mothers tell tales of their culture, and how different it is from what their daughters now know in America. While Suyuan is reviewing over her mother's life from her aunts, she makes realizations of what her mother had done in life, and what she must do to grant her mother's dead dream. In the expressions of the mothers, a most common fact to find was that they would relate themselves often to their daughters, and would predict or describe in greater meaning, events that occur. The mother's described struggles and hardships that they went through in their youth. Most often, the daughters would misunderstand the message of what the mothers were telling them. The lessons and morals in their stories brought out a new point of view. A memorable experience I had while reading this book was the new found information on what China was like, and I shared some views on how there had to be sacrifices in order to gain what was thought as endless riches, and freedom.
Kelli_S More than 1 year ago
Amy Tan’s Joy Luck Club is a realistic novel emphasizing Chinese heritage. It tells the stories of four families, four mothers: Suyuan Woo, An-mei Hsu, Lindo Jong, and Ying-Ying St. Clair, and their four daughters: Jing-mei Woo, Rose Hsu, Waverly Jong, and Lena St. Clair---each story telling the past of each mother and how their daughters live now. All four of these families are joined together by the Joy Luck Club---a club that meets weekly and plays mahjong. One mother dies, and her daughter, Jing-mei, is on a quest to uncover something that her mom left behind in China. Another was married off as a child, but escapes. Another raises a chess-playing champion. I thought this book was a really great read, but somewhat confusing to follow, considering each chapter is not from the same perspective as the previous one. When I began a chapter about one of the daughters, I would have to go back and review who their mother is and what they did. I believe that the theme of the book is family heritage, and would be great for daughters to read with their moms. This book is only 288 pages long, but I found it difficult to hold my attention for long periods of time. Overall, I would give The Joy Luck Club 3 stars out of five; interesting, yet difficult to keep up with.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It would be much more enjoyable if i didnt have to write a report
VirtuousWomanKF More than 1 year ago
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan was a very slow read and I had a very difficult time getting into the story. What was interesting to me was that the women were so rude to one another although there were glimpses of kindness. These women lived in difficult times, indured injustice and yet they didn't support one another with graciousness. Amy Tan reveals the Chinese culture and the difficult transition from China to America. This story begs the question "How well do you really know your mother?"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very interesting I liked how it dealt with family. In the beginning it was about mother and daughters and their relationship.It shows creation and passion and keeps readers interested. There are different kinds of lessons to learn in this book. It is really just a great book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book tells about China at that time related to the lives of four women and how they try to inherit their memories and lessons to their daughters. The memory, experience, and lessons captured my mind. This book reveals the hidden lives of Chinese immigrants and it tells us how China has developed from the period when the mothers lived, up to the period when their daughters lived. The style of writing by Amy Tan was surely a fresh experience.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorite books of all time. I really enjoyed reading it. I had to finish it in one sitting because I just couldn't stop. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a good book about culture, family, and drama.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book was just as good as the movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I recently read this for my AP English class, and I enjoyed it. It was pretty interesting, not my first choice as far as literature goes, but still good. Interesting dynamics.
booknut79 More than 1 year ago
This is by far one of my all time favorite books. The characters and settings seem to just come alive. You'll get lost in the story wanting to find out what happens next. So many lessons and messages are hidden within the stories that span all races and age groups. I fell in love with the book a long time ago and find myself reading it again and again and each time finding something I had missed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
not super-impressed. had trouble keeping characters straight. kinda slow. ending predictable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There are so many stories within the stories it was very hard to put it down. I wish the book had told even more! It really got you to FEEL how these women felt! I highly recommend it to women of all ages. I gave this max stars, but I'm having trouble sending it with the stars showing.
Laurcm 2 days ago
The Joy Luck Club is worth reading and will leave you wanting more. The unique structure of the book; short stories told by a tight-knit group of women who are mothers and daughters. The structure of The Joy Luck Club from a structuralist point of view mimics that of a book in itself, the mother’s parts being the first and last act as binding, holding all these stories together with the middle two parts left for the daughter’s. Throughout these four parts, generational gaps, mother-daughter relationships, and cultural identity are all a large part of this book. Starting very early in the book it is clear that there is a generational disconnect between the mothers and daughters. The mothers who grew up in China and moved to American having girls who are Chinese being raised in American culture pose a challenge to their relationships. Jing-Mei Woo, daughter of Suyuan Woo, takes her mother’s spot after she has passed away. She is faced with a deep secret and almost instantly feels a disconnect from her mother. Jing-Mei Woo said to her mother’s friends, “‘What will I say? What can I tell them about my mother? I don’t know anything. She was my mother.’ The auties are looking at me as if I had become crazy right before their eyes,” (Tan 31). The generation that Jing-Mei is part of has lost touch with that of their mothers. Being unable to formulate who her mother specifically shows the gap between the Americanized daughters not knowing what defines their mothers and who they truly are. Jing-Mei Woo soon after comes to the conclusion that her mother’s friends see her in their daughters. They are all frightened as their story and their journey may be just as easily forgotten by their daughters. Throughout the novel, the mothers and daughters disagree and do not see eye to eye in many instances. In Wavery Jong’s first story she grows tired of her mother being so proud of her and showing her off to anyone they encounter. This causes her to snap back under her breath triggering her and her mother to fight (Tan 101). While this is an inconvenience to Waverly, her mother is only proud and wanting to show off. Soon after the struggles between Rose Hsu and her mother become evident. Rose Hsu admits to falsely translating messages from various places and people (Tan 109). Beyond this admittance of Rose Hsu, there are much deeper relationship issues between the two. Not only is Rose Hsu gives her mother misleading information, but her mother also believes her. While it may not seem all that harmful in the sense that her mother is naive due to the language barrier, Rose knowingly lies to her mother. Commonly seen through the novel, is the cultural identity that the characters hold. There are many different levels showcased by the daughters and mothers; the mothers being more culturally grounded and the daughters straying from their rich culture. Jing-Mei Woo tells the story of her mother Suyuan Woo recalls a memory, “She put this knife on the softest part of her arm. I tried to close my eyes, but could not. And then my mother cut a piece of meat from her arm...” (Tan 40,41). Suyuan Woo’s mother was sick and as a part of their beliefs, she sacrificed a part of her healthy self for her dying mother in the last resort soup. The cultural significance of this scene shows how Suyuan, as well as the other mothers, carry their heritage with them and how much it truly means to them.
Anonymous 5 days ago
Amy Tan’s novel The Joy Luck Club, is worth reading because it powerfully allows the reader to question connections through certain barriers. While looking through a psychoanalytic lens, the novel includes aspects of family traditions/hierarchy of generations, barriers between mothers and daughters, and identity. It is made clear at the start of the book that the mothers want their daughters to follow the tradition of The Joy Luck Club and for them to remember their Chinese heritage. Suyuan Woo, the mother of the main character, tells June her story and how The Joy Luck Club came to be and why it is important. Even after they arrived in America, the mothers continued this tradition in hopes that their daughters follow. It is also revealed early in the story that June must go to China to find her half-sisters. She needs to tell them about their mother’s life, however, June is fearful she doesn’t truly know her own mother. The Joy Luck Club also includes barriers of culture and language between mothers and daughters. An issue that June finds within her mother’s story is that “joy luck” cannot be translated and loses its meaning for the daughters, “They see daughters who grow impatient when their mothers talk in Chinese, who think they are stupid when they explain things in fractured English. They see that joy and luck do not mean the same to their daughters, that to these closed American-born minds ‘joy luck’ is not a word, it does not exist,” (Tan 31). Throughout the novel, the daughters are embarrassed and frustrated with their mothers’ inability to speak perfect English. This shows how impactful families with different cultures can be. There is a moment in the book when Lena, one of the daughters, admits to wrongly translating for her mother. This shows how important it is for the daughters to be patient with their mothers. Lastly, the novel discusses identity. Each character is unable to connect her Chinese heritage to her American society. They have been raised in mostly Chinese households, yet they feel “safe” in modern American culture. During the story, Lena talks about their identity with Rose: “‘At first I thought it was because I was raised with all this Chinese humility,’ Rose said. ‘Or that maybe it was because when you’re Chinese you’re supposed to accept everything, flow with the Tao and not make waves. But my therapist said, Why do you blame your culture, your ethnicity? And I remembered reading an article about baby boomers, how we expect the best and when we get it we worry that maybe we should have expected more, because it’s all diminishing returns after a certain age,” (Tan 170). The daughters also look at their mothers’ Chinese costumes and traditions as old-fashioned or ridiculous and they feel disconnected to the Chinese culture. Lena explains how she tried to hide her identity as a child, “I used to push my eyes in on the sides to make them rounder. Or I’d open them very wide until I could see the white parts. But when I walked around the house like that, my father asked me why I looked so scared,” (Tan 106). Overall, this novel was a delicately written story about how separation between cultures can be disastrous, but the connection can be beautiful.
Anonymous 5 days ago
Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club is a worthy read that explores life amongst women facing inequality. Through her intriguing characters, the author investigates important topics such as identity, familial culture, and marriage. Finding identity as an oppressed woman is one of the strongest ideas in The Joy Luck Club. All of the mothers in the novel, born and raised in China, push back against a society that tries to quiet them as children. The mother Ying-Ying St. Clair discusses the power she possesses because of her birth in the year of the Tiger (Tan 282). She describes her personality as one of cunning, patient and fierce--words that were not supposed to describe Chinese women. Additionally, the mother Lindo realizes her power as a child, stating, “I was strong. I was pure. I had genuine thoughts inside me that no one could see, that no one could ever take away from me. I was like the wind” (Tan 53). Both stories can inspire the female reader to utilize her inner power in a society that sees her as unequal. The Joy Luck Club also explores the idea of the relationship between mothers and daughters and the lessons taught between the two. Looking back on her childhood in China, Ying-Ying remembers an instance when her mother ridiculed her for playing. “‘A boy can run and chase dragonflies, because that is his nature,’ she said. ‘But a girl should stand still’” (Tan 70). The mothers, born in China, were raised with the belief that girls should be calmer and less energetic than their male counterparts. An-Mei Hsu made a point of raising her daughter different. “. . . I was raised the Chinese way: I was taught to desire nothing, to swallow other people’s misery, to eat my own bitterness. And even though I taught my daughter the opposite, still she came out the same way! Maybe it is because she was born to me and she was born a girl” (Tan 241). Amy Tan shows the reader that the mother possesses the ability to leave a strong impact on her daughter’s beliefs and opinions; she decides whether her daughter lowers her eyes in the presence of a man (as Ying-Ying learned) or smiles and shakes his hand (as Rose Hsu learned). Both the mothers and daughters also endure bad marriages in Amy Tan’s novel. Ying-Ying, as mentioned above, describes herself as a Tiger; yet, when she meets her future husband, she describes the death of that inner feline. “So I decided. I decided to let Saint marry me,” she explains. “. . . I let myself become a wounded animal. I let the hunter come to me and turn me into a tiger ghost. I willingly gave up my chi, the spirit that caused me so much pain” (Tan 285). Earlier in the book, the reader witnesses the equally toxic marriage of Ying-Ying’s daughter, Lena. Although her husband Harold runs the company they both work for, he pays Lena one-seventh of what he makes and still demands that she pay half of every expense they share (173-175). This causes tension between the two about every purchase and strains their relationship. In both of these marriages, the women are controlled and lessened by the men. By detailing both of these stories within The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan portrays inequality amongst men and women and the dangers of a marriage built on sexism. The Joy Luck Club contains many simple life lessons about being a woman in society and looking for equality amongst men. Reading Amy Tan’s novel is not only enjoyable but educational as well, making it an extremely worthwhile read.
Anonymous 5 days ago
(Part 1) Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club is absolutely worth reading, as many different aspects of the novel warrant a second and even third read. The immensely interesting conflict pulls monetary power into play, discussing the struggle between the status of mother and daughter with a new and refreshing perspective. While defending her daughter against what she views as an unsatisfactory marriage, this conflict comes into the light as the monetary struggles of one daughter’s life reveal themselves to her mother (180-181). While her mother views money as a burden bared by the strength of their marriage, her daughter separates from that value in adulthood. This conflict intercedes into almost all mother-daughter interactions, such as when one mother grows increasingly offended at her daughter’s assumptions of her monetary status, insisting on paying when her mother already offered (290). Monetary struggles between generations allow for a new perspective to grow in the parent-child intergenerational conflict demonstrated throughout The Joy Luck Club. The generational struggles in the novel remain incredibly relatable, allowing for growth in both the mother’s and daughter’s mindsets. The classist framing of most conflicts demonstrates the differences between mother and daughter roles in fiction, describing the generational differences in both the Chinese and American cultures. Tan’s depiction of this conflict reflects her own experiences, delving into a personal struggle which breeds an introspective mindset. A childhood memory from one mother demonstrates this fact of life, as she takes care of her Mother-in-law through abuse and fear (46). This expectation demonstrates the Chinese standard for children, something not valued in the American culture the daughters in The Joy Luck Club grew up in. Immense cultural differences provide an insightful look into the Chinese-American culture which indulges the mind’s natural curiosity. This cultural difference is vital in understanding the novel, as the distance between child and parent is incredibly vital to the plot and demonstrates the struggle surrounding the original Joy Luck Club members. One such struggle is the relationship between a talented child and her mother, who believes that the child should be grateful for the opportunity to be celebrated, while the child wishes to be free from such a burden (102-103). Children are expected to provide for their families at a young age, to either work to demonstrate their worth or serve their parents to the best of their ability. The subsequent character growth is developed with incredible skill, Tan’s writing ability unrivaled in this area. The daughters of the novel demonstrate incredible character growth throughout the plot, such as divorcing and remarrying in defiance of the cultural norms of their heritage and the subsequent judgments from their parents (191-192). When revealing her future plans to her parents, Waverly Jong demonstrates immense personal growth through understanding her mother even through the power struggle spanning generations. While she imagined that Lindo would disapprove of her choices and shun her, Lindo responds in turn with doubts that her daughter trusts her judgment (204). In understanding her mother, Waverly demonstrates Tan’s incredible ability to create heartfelt moments that involve growth for all characters involved. The realistically flawed characters struggle with cultural and relatable issues which develop
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thank you B&N for the special offer. I very much enjoyed the 4-8 stories. I also am an immigrant of America, but by many generations & blended to not stand out by race. This story will stay with you as to why the immigration, the difficulties of fitting in and the desire to leave your legacy / heritage and understanding with your family. I enjoyed this tale and admire how well written. JDL 12/25/18
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
indygo88 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm not sure if it was because this was abridged or because I was trying to multi-task as I listened to it (likely, a combination of the two), but I found my mind wandering during this & I just didn't get as much out of it as I'd expected. Perhaps one day I'll read the whole thing & gain a greater appreciation.
cestovatela on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is pretty a fast and entertaining read, but ultimately not a book I respect. Tan tells stories that I suppose might have happened in China, but she also seems to want to make suffering beautiful and poetic somehow. I'll take some quality non-fiction about China any day.
RachelPenso on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was about four mothers from China and their four Chinese-American daughters. It was an amazing book that told of the lives of these eight women.