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The Joy Luck Club
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Joy Luck Club weaves the stories of four Chinese immigrant mothers and their four daughters into a richly satisfying novel. The mothers' experiences in China inform how they bring up their daughters in America, and the girls must figure out how to navigate their own lives, drawing on what they have gleaned from their Old World mothers and their American childhoods. Mothers and daughters of all cultures will appreciate the miscommunication, heartache, and unconditional love that flow through the novel. (It's been translated into 35 languages.) You may want to check out the 1993 film version.
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What's the story?
Four Chinese immigrant women form a mahjong club in the late 1940s in San Francisco, dubbing themselves The Joy Luck Club. Over the course of 40 years, their stories unfold as they raise their daughters in a country quite different from their own. Mothers and daughters learn to navigate relationships as they imperfectly translate one another and the opposing cultures. Seeking to find their identities as women, mothers, daughters, and wives, they find joy in the lives they create.
Is it any good?
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Chinese history (circa 1920s to 1940s) affected the lives of the Chinese mothers, and how they raised their American-born daughters. How did the experiences your parents had influenced the way they raised you?
Reconciling two different cultures can be challenging for the children of immigrants. Do you have any personal experience with this issue? How do you think a person can find harmony between the culture of your family heritage and the culture of the place you're living in?
Mother-daughter relationships can be fraught with tension and strong bonds. Do any of the conflicts in the book sound familiar to you?
The Joy Luck Club is often required reading in high school. Why do you think that is?
Themes & Topics
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For kids who love multicultural books and historical fiction
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