The Joy Luck Club Read-Along: Week 6 Recap

Joy

Welcome to the 6th weekly recap of The Joy Luck Club read-along!  Next Saturday, Oct. 24th, I will be posting a review of the whole book.

This week, we read two chapters, each about one of the mothers.  I don’t like Ying-ying St. Clair.  Out of all the mothers, I think she’s the worst.

[Spoilers] I think she was a spoiled brat as a child, and though she doesn’t say that outright, she does admit to being very vain.  I want to feel sympathy for her that her first husband was a horrible man and abandoned her to run off with some other woman.  I want to cry for her that she aborted her baby.  However, I don’t feel anything for her except dislike.  I don’t hate her.  I just think she’s a sour emotionless woman that doesn’t care about anyone and is only full of negativity about everything.  I feel the opposite for An-mei Hsu: “…I was raised the Chinese way: I was taught to desire nothing, to swallow other people’s misery, to eat my own bitterness.”   She at least understands how she tried to raise her daughter differently, but she only has the tools that she learned from her mother, who learned them from her mother, etc.  Reading her words about how Rose turned out the same way despite her efforts gave me space and permission to forgive my mother and my grandmother.  While I know now that forgiveness doesn’t mean I have to allow either of them to be in my life, it does mean I can let go of the anger and confusion.  At least some of it anyway.  I know it’s a work in progress.  While I don’t know for sure if An-mei knows how close Rose was to ending her life as An-mei’s mother did, perhaps she does suspect it.  I think An-mei is the wisest about her daughter than any of the other mothers are about theirs.  [End Spoilers]

What do you think of Ying-ying?  An-mei?  Comment away!  Just be sure to mark clearly any spoilers 🙂

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