This is my third reading of this novel, and this time around it’s like diving into an old friend’s cozy home. I was excited that my book club picked this for our first read together, although the conversation was not as robust as might have been expected. The consensus was that although we enjoyed this book, the stories could have gone a lot further and we would have been happy to read more from Tan about these characters.
There are eight main characters, although one of them is dead by the time this book takes place, and therefore doesn’t narrate any of it. The other seven rotate through their narrations. I enjoyed that we had both mothers’ and daughters’ perspectives, and I enjoyed that all the narrators were women. This gave the book depth, and allowed for many themes to run successfully throughout the novel. The main theme I noticed is the difference in perspective between what the mothers believe they are communicating and what the daughters are actually understanding, and vice versa. This is good family drama, and the miscommunications only add to the sense of drama.
This one of the only Amy Tan books I’ve read, but it won’t be the last. She has a large body of work, of which I’ve heard great things about almost all of her books. If you haven’t read anything by her, I’d suggest you give her a try.