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How did I get this book? giveaway is sponsored by Penguin Books, but I purchased my own copy to read & review
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars
GoodReads | Author | Publisher
When I originally read this book for my sophomore Global Literature class, it was a 2-star read for me. It is so unfair to blame the teacher, but the teacher I had that year really did not inspire any kind of love for the books she was teaching. It seemed as if they were homework for her as much as they were homework for her students. Maybe that's unfair, but when I look back on my high school years, all three of my other English teachers seemed a lot more passionate about their subject and really wanted us to love the books as much as they did. Even when I didn't love the books, those other teachers' love of literature was a noticeable thing I respected and admired.
Anyway, back to the book! From the moment I started reading The Joy Luck Club for the second time, I knew my 2-star rating was going to disappear. The writing is just beautiful and the intertwining stories are a fascinating exploration of the dynamics between mothers and daughters. Add to that the differences and misunderstandings between one generation born in China and the next generation born in the United States, and you have quite a compelling read. With alternating chapters telling the individual stories of eight different main characters, I sometimes had a little bit of trouble keeping everyone's story straight, but this didn't interfere with my enjoyment of the book as a whole -- I just flipped back to check on a name or a detail and continued on.
I found the Chinese culture portrayed in this book very interesting, but the search for understanding, meaning, identity, and a better life for one's children feels very universal as well. This book has become a modern classic and I can now see why. If, like me, you read this one for school and didn't like it, I highly recommend giving it a second chance!
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Thanks to the publisher, I am running a giveaway! One winner will receive a copy of the Penguin Classic Edition + a copy of the (gorgeous!) new Drop Cap Edition. Since the books will be shipped by the publisher, this giveaway is restricted to US and Canadian addresses only. (Sorry international readers!) To ship to Canada, the publisher will need the winner to provide a phone number. Personal information will only be used for the purposes of this giveaway and will be kept private.