The Joy Luck Club

“The Joy Luck Club” was published in 1989 and written by Amy Tan. The book follows four women and their daughters. The women emigrated from China and joined together in San Francisco in 1949, to play mah jong. They formed a club they called the Joy Luck Club. At the meetings they gossiped while playing and ate a variety of foods. One of the women, Suyuan Woo designed the Joy Luck Club on a club she formed with some women while they were in China during the Japanese Invasion of World War II. It was called the Joy Luck Club because the women always wished each other joy and luck when they left each other.

The book is divided into four parts and each part is divided into four sections. Each mother tells her story, except for Suyuan because she died before the beginning of the book, her story is told by others. Each of the four daughters tells their story and their relationships with their mothers. Their mothers use criticisms to show their love to their daughters, but their daughters, raised Americans, don’t understand that kind of love.

Jing-Mei, the daughter of Suyuan, is given the task of meeting the twin daughters her mother was forced to leave in China by the other members of the Joy Luck Club. Suyuan had found her daughters but had died before she could meet with them. When she and her father gets off the plane, she is surprised to meet with kindness and love. She sees her mother’s face in the combination of their faces.

Book Summary

Feathers From A Thousand Li Away

The first section begins with a parable about a Chinese woman who is emigrating to America. She buys a swan from a vendor before embarking and he tells her the story of a duck who wanted to be a goose. He stretched his neck so far that he became a swan. It became more than it hoped. The woman sails to America dreaming of the daughter she will someday have. The girl will look like her but she will be judged by her own actions, not by her husband’s. She plans to give the swan to her daughter, but the immigration officials seize the swan, leaving her with nothing but a feather. When her daughter is born and then grows up to be a just the kind of strong woman she imagined, she wants to give her the feather but chooses to wait until she can explain the symbolic meaning in perfect English.

This section starts with Jing-mei visiting her father. Her mother had died two months earlier. Her father, Canning Woo, asked her to come to the Mahjong party with him. He and his wife began the Joy Luck Club in 1949 after they emigrated from China to San Francisco. Her mother, Suyuan, had based the mahjong playing club on another club she had founded while still in China.

Fuchi Wang, Suyuan’s first husband, an officer in Kuomintang which was a militaristic political party that ran China from 1928 to 1940, had taken Suyuan and their twin daughters to a small town called Kweilin. There they were to remain safely while he went to Chunaking. Kweilin was a town of refugees, with little resources. Suyuan got together with three other women. They would meet to play mahjong, have a ‘feast’ and tell stories. Then when they left, they wished each other luck and joy. Therefore, the name of the little parties was Joy Luck.

One day an officer hinted to her to join her husband in Chunaking. She knew that meant the Japanese were coming and the families of officers would be killed. She put her belongings and two daughters and began the long trip to Chunaking. By the time she finally arrived, she had had to lighten her load and was left with only three dresses. She also didn’t have her daughters and never told Jing-Mei what had happened to the twins. Jing-Mei goes to the Joy Luck Club Meeting with her father but feels out of place. Her mother had always compared her to her friend’s more successful daughter, Waverly who finished college. Jing-Lei feels less than adequate because of her mother’s haranguing.

The veiled insults delivered by her mother’s friends doesn’t help. By the time she is ready to leave, her self-esteem has almost bottomed out. But, the women stop her and reveal that her mother had been trying for years to find her lost daughters. She had just gotten their addresses when she died. They want Jing-Mei to go in her place and tell her half – sister’s about their mother. They give her the money for the trip. Jing-Mei feels that she doesn’t know enough about her mother to tell the twins their mother’s story.

The section is called “Scar”

An-Mei was four when her mother became a concubine. She and her little brother were sent to live with their grandmother, Popo. An-Mei eventually forgot about her mother, until her grandmother became terminally ill and she returned to care for her mother. Then An-Mei remembered her mother returning once to take her children and not being allowed to.

An-Mei’s mother cuts a piece of her skin off and puts it in a soup to feed her mother because this is supposed to be a sacrifice to heal a family member, but it doesn’t work. An – mei grows to love her mother for her sacrifice.

This section is called “The Red Candle”

This is another story of a daughter and her mother. From the time Lindo Jong was two years old, she had been promised in marriage to Huang Tyan-yu. Her mother even referred to her as the daughter of Tyan-yu’s mother, Huang Taitai. Lindo’s home was destroyed by a flood when she was twelve, so when her family moved to the county, she moved into the house of her future husband. She was a servant at first and began to yearn for Taitai’s praise.

At age sixteen, Lindo and Tyan-yu were married. The matchmaker lit a red candle at both ends on their wedding night. If the candle burned evenly their marriage would be fruitful. The servant watching the candle ran because of a storm. She thought the Japanese were attacking. While she was gone, Lindo, who was not happy to marry Tyan-yu, but willing to do her duty, if she can keep her own identity in small ways, left her marriage bed to blow out one end of the candle.

Expecting the next morning to see her marriage contract annulled, because the unlit candle would signify that Tyan-yu would die if he stayed married to her, she is surprised to see the candle burned evenly and a repentant servant. Apparently, the servant came back and relit the candle. Soon, Tyan-yu had Lindo sleeping on the couch and they never consummated their marriage. When his mother found out she was furious and insisted they sleep together.

Finally, Lindo came up with a way out. She told her mother in law that she had had a dream sent by her ancestors told her that the servant had allowed the candle to go out, and he would die if he stayed in their marriage. She also told her that the ancestors had planted his seed in the womb of a servant girl who was secretly royalty. She was obviously Tyan-yu’s spiritual wife. Lindo knew that the girl was pregnant by a deliveryman, but she went along with it so she would not give birth out of wedlock.

After her marriage was annulled, Lindo emigrated to America.

This section is called, “The Moon Lady”

Ying-Ying was four years old when she went to the Moon Festival. Her nanny had dressed her in a new dress. Ying-Ying was excited to see the Moon Lady, and tell her her wishes. The nanny warns her that if she tells anyone else her wishes will turn into selfish desires. She says that a woman must listen but never ask. A lesson that stayed with her her entire life. While waiting to go to the party on a nearby boat, Ying-Ying watches the cook, but she is too close and get fish blood on her dress. In hopes of not angering her nanny and saving her dress, she smears fish blood all over the dress planning to make it all red.

Her nanny is furious at the mess, and removes her dress, leaving her in her slip. Then tells her to stay in her room. But, the firecrackers lure her out and she falls into the water. She is fished out by a fisherman’s net. When she can’t tell him where her home is, he leaves her on the shore, sure that her family will find her there. Ying-Ying watches a play on the Moon Lady and wishes her family will find her. And even though they did, she always felt changed, like they didn’t find the same girl.

The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates

This section starts with a parable about an American-raised daughter and her Chinese mother. The seven-year-old girl wants to ride her bike around the corner. Her mother is against it using the book, The Twenty-six Malignant Gates to show her the dangers that will happen to her if she is out of her mother’s sight and hearing. The book is written in Chinese and when the mother won’t interpret it, the girl becomes angry and rides around the corner on her bike, where she falls and hurts herself.

This section is called “Rules of the Game”

Lindo’s daughter, Waverly became a chess champion. Her mother had told her about an art of the invisible strength, and Waverly found it by playing chess. With hard work, she became a national champion, with only 429 points away from the grand master.

Lindo bragged about her daughter a lot and took her around the shops in Chinatown to show her off. Waverly was embarrassed and yelled at her mother in the street. That night, when Waverly came home, her mother told her that if she had no concern for her family, they would have no concern for her. That night, as she lay in bed, Waverly pictured her relationship with her mother as a chess game and saw her mother knocking all Waverly’s pieces to the ground. Although Waverly felt like she had lost her anchor, she considered her next move.

This section is called “The Voice From the Wall”

Ying-Ying never spoke to her daughter, Lena St. Clair about China. She only knew that her father, Clifford of English-Irish decent, rescued her. Since Ying-Ying couldn’t speak English she communicated with hand signals and facial expressions. Her daughter, Lena understood Mandarin but often misinterpreted her mother to people in order to make her words fit into the American thought process. Lena was embarrassed by her mother and wanted her to be more like other America mothers.

Clifford was transferred to an Italian neighborhood in San Francisco, and Lena would listen to the Italian girl in the apartment next door fight with her mother. Lena thought the arguments sounded violent and would be surprised to see the girl without bruises the next day. Ying-Ying was not happy in the new apartment because it was on a hill, so she kept feeling like the house was unbalanced. Ying-Ying became pregnant but was still not happy. When the boy died shortly after birth due to severe complications she blamed herself. She kept talking about another son she had killed. But, when her husband asked Lena what she was saying, Lena translated it as hope and consolation.

When she comes home, Ying-Ying is deeply depressed. Lena thinks that her relationship with her mother may be bad, but it’s better than her neighbors, until one day when the girl comes into Lena’s room. Her mother locked her out, but she is going to trick her by climbing in her bedroom window from Lena’s window. Later, when Lena hears the girl and her mother laughing at the prank she realizes they weren’t actually fighting when she heard them yelling at each other.

This section is called, “Half and Half”

An-Mei is bustling about her kitchen while her daughter. Rose Hsu Jordan sits at her table trying to gather the courage to tell her mother that her marriage is ending. Rose notices her mother’s Bible, that she treasured, now sits under the table leg as a stabilizer. Rose remembers when she and her husband, Ted first started dating. Both of their mothers were against the match, which made them both more determined. When they were first married, Ted made all the decisions, and Rose was happy with that. But, when Ted was faced with a malpractice suit as a dermatologist, he wanted Rose to make more of the decisions. She resisted and he told her he wanted a divorce. Now she has to tell her mother.

Looking at the Bible makes Rose remember the incident that took her mother’s faith. The family had gone to the beach and Rose was supposed to help mind her little brothers. Bing wanted to play on the rocks and Rose said yes. He fell, and Rose froze. She blamed herself for not getting there in time, and the rest of the family also blamed themselves for his death. They never found his body. The next morning Rose and her mother went to the shore where An-Mei used everything she learned throughout her life to make the gods give her back her son. She was sure that if she put her mind to it, she could get her son back. But, when she threw a rescue tube in the water and it came back shredded, she gave up.

At the time, Rose thought her mother had accepted that faith couldn’t change fate, but she realized with the maturity that fate is half expectation and half inattention. Rose thinks that her inattention let Bing drown and inattention made her miss the signs of her failing marriage. Rose decides that she must take the Bible out from under the table and read it for her answers. Then she remembers that Bing’s death is entered in the Bible with an erasable pencil.

This section is called, “Two Kinds”

Suyuan was convinced that her daughter, Jing-Mei was a child prodigy, like Waverly, if they could just find her niche. Jing-Mei tried a lot of different things, until one night when Suyuan was watching a child piano prodigy on the Ed Sullivan Show. From that, she decided that Jing-Mei would play the piano. She found a neighbor, Mr. Chong to give Jing-Mei lessons, but when Jing-Mei discovered that Mr. Chong was almost deaf, she quit worrying about hitting the right notes. He only noticed if the beats were off. So she never practiced.

Finally, it was time for the piano recital, and all the members of the Joy Luck Club were there. Jing-Mei was convinced that when she sat down her prodigy would take over and she would play beautifully. She didn’t.

Suyuan insisted she continues her lessons, but Jing-Mei furiously yelled that she wish she had died like her sisters. So, Suyan let her drop the piano. Then on her thirtieth birthday, Suyan offered to let her take the piano home. She quietly said that if Jing-Mei had practiced she could have played beautifully.

After her mother’s death, Jing-Meihas the piano tuned and sits down to play the same song she played for her recital, “Pleading Child”. Surprised at how easily the music returns, Jing-Mei tries the song on the next page, “Perfectly Contented”, only to discover the two songs are complementary pieces. They are two halves of the same song.

American Translation

This section begins with another mother/daughter story. A Chinese mother visits her American daughter’s new condo. She sees that her daughter has put a mirror at the foot of her bed. The mother warns her that the mirror will make her marriage unhappy by causing the happiness to bounce back and deflect away. Since she brought a mirror for a housewarming gift, the mother hangs it at the head of the bed. The mother tells her daughter that it will bring peach blossom luck. When the daughter asks for an explanation, the mother tells her to look in the mirror, she can see her future granddaughter. The daughter sees a child him her own reflection.

This section is called, “Rice Husband”

Ying-Ying is going to visit her daughter, Lena in her new home. Lena thinks about how her mother always said she could predict what was going to happen to her family. Lena wonders why she never did any thing to change it if she could predict it. She wonders what her mother will predict when she visits her and her husband, Harold.

Lena remembers an incident with her mother when she was a child. Her mother told her that for every grain of rice she left in her bowl the future husband would have a pock mark on his face. This made Lena think about the bully next door with pocks on his face. She began to think she could control her future choice of husband and prevent marrying him by what she ate. Lena became anorexic.

Years later, she found out the boy next door died of a rare form of measles and blamed herself for it. Even though she knows this is ridiculous, she still wonders if her current husband is punishment for what she did to her destined husband. Finances are a problem for Lena and Harold. They have always shared expenses equally, but things have gotten out of hand. When he started his company, Lena offered him a loan, but instead he asked her to move in and share rent. Soon they were married and she helped him to make his business successful. She began to be on his payroll, but every time she asks for a raise, he says he doesn’t want to play favorites. Lena is resentful that he makes seven times what she does. But, he still wants her to pay half the expenses of their home life, even as far as to keep an itemized list.

When Ying-Ying sees the ice cream on this list, she questions why Lena is paying for half of it when she doesn’t eat it because it makes her sick. When Lena brings this up to Harold, he replies that he just assumed she was on one of her many diets. During this argument, she hears a crash in the guest room. Ying-Ying knocked over a vase that was on a wobbly table that Harold made years earlier. Lena starts to clean it up and tells her mother that she knew it was going to happen because the table was wobbly. Ying-Ying asks her why she didn’t do something to prevent it.

This section is called, “Four Directions”

Waverly takes her mother Lindo to a nice restaurant called the Four Directions. She plans to tell her mother she is engaged. But, she loses her nerve when her mother keeps changing the subject. So she takes Lindo back to her apartment hoping that she will get the hint by seeing all of her fiance, Rich’s things around. This makes Waverly think about when she temporarily quit chess.First she missed a match, thinking her mother would react, she didn’t. Then she decided to go back to it when she realized she could have beat the winner easily. Waverly thought her mother would be thrilled, but

First, she missed a match, thinking her mother would react, she didn’t. Then she decided to go back to it when she realized she could have beat the winner easily. Waverly thought her mother would be thrilled, but instead, she said that you can’t always expect to go back to something you left. Lindo stops bragging and standing over Waverly when she plays. She stops polishing Waverly’s trophies. Waverly begins to lose games. Finally, when she is fourteen she gives up the game entirely. Then Waverly remembers her first husband who Lindo criticized so much that Waverly could only see his faults. That is why she is afraid to tell her about Rich, because he loves her so much, as she loves her daughter, Shoshana.

When Waverly brings Rich to dinner at her parent’s house, it does not go well. He makes a few small mistakes that seem to stand out glaringly to Waverly. So she doesn’t tell her mother about their engagement. Finally, Waverly is determined to break the news. She goes to her mother’s house and sees her sleeping. She thinks how small and innocent she looks and begins to cry. Lindo wakes and asks her what’s wrong. Lindo tells her about the engagement, and Lindo is surprised to learn Waverly thinks she doesn’t like Rich. Lindo tells her to get married in October so they can honeymoon in China. Waverly considers taking her mother along so she can see China again. She hopes the trip would help them “leave their differences behind”.

This section is called, “Without Wood”

Rose Hsu Jordan finds the divorce papers and a check for ten thousand dollars from her husband in the mailbox. She takes some sleeping pills and mostly sleeps for two weeks. She finally comes out of it when her mother, An-Mei calls. She tells Rose to speak up for herself. Afterward, her husband calls to find out why she hasn’t signed the papers. Also, he wants her out of the house because he wants to marry someone else and they want the house. She tells him to come on over for the papers. When he arrives she gives him the unsigned papers and tells him she will not be leaving the house.

This section is called, “Best Quality”

While Jing-Mei is cooking dinner for her father she remembers a crab dinner for the Chinese New Year her mother, Suyuan had cooked a few months before she died. She and her mother had shopped for the dinner, and Suyuan told her not to eat a crab that was already dead when it was cooked. While she is checking out the crabs, one looses a leg, so the vendor insists she buys it, too. She buys ten crabs with the extra missing its leg.

At home, they cook the crabs for the dinner guests, including Waverly and her family. But Suyuan hadn’t factored in Waverly bringing her daughter, so she had to serve the crab with the missing leg. Waverly chooses the best crab for her daughter and the next best for Rich and herself. The rest of the group choose crabs until they get to the last two. Suyuan insists her daughter choose first, who then insists her mother choose. Finally, Suyuan gets her way and Jing-Mei gets the better crab of the two. Suyuan takes her crab into the kitchen on the pretext of getting more seasonings.

Waverly and Jing-Mei are talking when Waverly finds out Jing-Mei is still seeing her gay hairdresser for her hair cuts. She warns that he may have AIDS and suggests she try her hairdresser. Jing-Mei tells her she can’t afford him. Then mentions that Waverly’s firm hasn’t paid her for some free lance work she did. Waverly says that they didn’t want it, but she didn’t tell her because she didn’t want to hurt her.

After everyone leaves, Suyuan tells Jing-Mei to think more of herself and always choose the best quality. Then she gives her a jade pendant telling her the necklace was her life’s importance. Then she tells her not to listen to Waverly. Her words always move sideways, like a crab. She tells her daughter to always move in a different direction.

Queen Mother of the Western Skies

This parable is about a grandmother spending time with her baby granddaughter. She wonders whether she should tell her granddaughter to get rid of her innocence to protect herself or to keep her optimism and faith in the goodness of humans. She regrets teaching the girl’s mother to see the evil in people because she thinks that if a person looks for the evil in people that is all they see, and they lean towards the evil.

Then the baby giggles and she stops her worries. The grandmother thinks the laugh means the baby has the wisdom of past lives. She is the queen mother of the western skies. The grandmother asks the little girl to teach her mother how to laugh and that to lose your innocence doesn’t mean you have to lose your hope.

This section is called, “Magpies”

An-Mei’s mother told her a story while they were taking care of her grandmother. When she was a little girl she sat by a lake crying. A turtle swallowed all her tears and warned her that if she continued to cry her life would always be sad. Then he spits her tears out into eggs that opened into magpies. He told her that whenever someone cries, their tears are feeding someone else’s joy. Therefore you must learn to swallow your tears. After the death of her grandmother, An-Mei wanted to leave with her mother. Her uncle forbid it, so when she went anyway he disowned her and wouldn’t let her brother go.

Her mother was the concubine of a rich man in the city. She had been tricked into her position by the man’s second wife. She had wanted to give him a son, but couldn’t, so when she met An-Mei’s mother, who was in mourning for her husband, she asked her to come back to her home to play mahjong. They played so late that the two women went to sleep. During the night the man and his wife traded places and he raped An-Mei’s mother.

The next day she was forced to stay with him. She gave birth to a boy, and the second wife took the child for her own son. The man allowed An-Mei’s mother to keep her daughter and offered to build them their own house, but the second wife prevented it. Finally, her mother committed suicide. The man in fear of her unhappy ghost haunting him promised to raise An-Mei and her brother as his most honored children. An-Mei brings the fake pearls the second wife had given her and crushes them underfoot in front of the woman who was trying to claim her mother had been trying to fake the suicide and went overboard. That was the day An-Mei learned to shout.

This section is called, “Waiting Between the Trees”

Ying-Ying is worried about Lena’s marriage. She remembers her own first marriage. When she was sixteen, she was given in marriage to an older man. She didn’t think she would fall in love but did. She became pregnant and several months into the pregnancy her husband left her for an opera singer. She found out her husband had been unfaithful throughout their marriage. Heartbroken, she aborts her baby.

Born in the year of the Tiger, Ying-ying knows she is of two natures. The gold side is fierce while the black side is cunning and crafty. After her husband left her, Ying-ying used the black side of her nature. When she met the wealthy Clifford St. Clair, she waited four years, until she heard of the death of her missing husband, to marry him. She thinks that her first marriage drained her fierce spirit so much that she did not teach it to her daughter, who was also born in the year of the Tiger. She must help Lena find her spirit so she can fight. She decides to share her story with Lena so she can let her Tiger loose.

This section is called, “Double Face”

Waverly is preparing for her wedding and her honeymoon in China. She laughingly wonders if they will let her leave China when they see how Chinese she looks. Waverly takes her to get her hair fixed at her hairdresser and Lindo thinks Waverly may be ashamed of her because she is trying to make her look more American.

When her hairdresser says she and her mother look alike, Waverly is pleased, so Lindo understands that she is not ashamed of her after all. They even both have crooked noses. Waverly likes it because it makes her look devious. With two faces no one knows what she is thinking. Lindo remembers the last time she was in China and the people could tell she was from America.

This section is called, “A Pair of Tickets”

Jing-Mei and her father fly to China, they are met by his family. While in the motel, he finishes Suyuan’s story for her. As she was walking with her daughters, she came down with dysentery. Knowing that she was dying she begged passing pilgrims for help. Finally, she put her mother’s jewels and photos and letters in her daughter’s clothes. Begging whoever rescued them from taking them to the address she wrote on the papers. Then she wandered off to die.

When she woke, she was in a hospital having been rescued. Her husband was dead. She met Jing-Mei’s father, Canning Woo there. He tried to help her find her daughters, but she was unable to. Later she found out that the girls had been rescued by some monks who had trouble finding someone to read the letters. Finally, seven years later they went to the address, but it was too late, Suyuan and Canning were in America.

After she died, an old schoolmate of hers saw the girls in a department store. They looked like their mother, and the friend knew she was looking for them. Canning thought Suyuan’s spirit helped in the hunt. When they get off the plane, Jing-Mei is worried they won’t recognize her and feel uncomfortable. But they instantly welcome her and want to hear about their mother. When her father takes a picture of all three girls, they can see their mother’s face in a combination of them all.

Character Analysis

Suyuan Woo – the founder of the Joy Luck Club. Born and raised in China, she had been married and had twin daughters when the war between China and Japan broke out. During the war, her husband died and she lost track of her daughters. Although she married again and had a daughter, she spent the rest of her life looking for her twin daughters. She finally found them but died before she was able to join them. She refuses to focus on the hardships life offers but works to create happiness and success. She pushes her daughter hoping to find what her secret gift is.

Jing-Mei Woo –  daughter of Suyuan Woo. Born and raised in the United States. She is young and trying to find her place in life. She has low self-esteem and doesn’t think she is up to following her mother’s dream to find the twin girls. The more she learns about her mother, the more she learns about herself. She thinks that her mother’s constant criticism shows a lack of affection instead of the love her mother meant for it to show.

Lindo Jong – a member of the Joy Luck Club. Born and raised in China. When she was two years old she was promised to marriage. She was under the tyranny of her mother in law. When she marries at sixteen her husband cannot consummate their marriage. She finally gets out of the marriage by using her mother in laws superstition to get out of the marriage.

She teaches the skills of invisible strength to her daughter. Her daughter, Waverly, uses these lessons to master chess, but when she begins her teenage rebellion they grow apart. Lindo worries that she has made her daughter too – an American.

Waverly Jong – born and raised in America, her mother named her after the street they lived on in San Francisco in hopes she will be more American. As a child, she was a chess prodigy but gave it up as a teenager. Her mother taught her to hide her emotions and thoughts which helped her to become a chess champion and then to become a successful lawyer. Her first marriage didn’t survive but she has high hopes for the second marriage she is about to enter into. Through most of the book, she is afraid to tell her mother about her engagement because she thinks she won’t like her and her criticisms will damage this marriage as it did the first.

An-Mei Hsu – a member of the Joy Luck Club. Born and raised in China. When her father died and her mother was taken by a rich businessman as his concubine, An-Mei goes to live with her after her grandmother died. At the house of the businessman, she learns the importance of speaking for herself. She wants to pass this lesson on to her daughter, Rose. She has lost most of her faith in God after the death of her son.

Rose Hsu – An-Mei’s daughter, born and raised in America. Her marriage has fallen apart. She always allowed her husband to make decisions but when her husband wants her to take more responsibilities their relationship falls apart. Her mother teaches her the importance of asserting herself.

Ying-Ying St. Clair – a member of the Joy Luck Club. As a young girl, she marries and older family friend knowing it is her duty and destiny. She begins to fall in love with him, only to have him leave her for another woman while she is pregnant. She is heartbroken and aborts her baby. When she meets Clifford St. Claire, she marries him and moves to America. She gives her daughter an American name in hopes that she will fit into the country better. Seeing her daughter caught in an unhappy marriage, as her first one was, she hopes to help her be strong enough to leave.

Lena St. Clair – Ying-Ying’s daughter. Born in America. She is trapped in a bad marriage, she learned passivity from her mother and brings it into her marriage and career.

Amy Tan Biography 

Amy Tan was born in Oakland, California on February 19th, 1952. One of three siblings, Tan was born to Chinese immigrants named Daisy and John.
When she was just fifteen years old, Tan’s father and brother, Peter both died of brain tumors in the same year. After this tragedy, Tan’s mother moved the remaining family to Switzerland where Amy attended high school. It was while living there that Tan discovered that her mother was formerly in an abusive marriage and had been forced to leave her children from that marriage in Shanghi when she left. Tan later traveled to China to met her three half-sisters.

Tan attended college at Linfield College in Oregon before moving to San Jose State University in San Jose, California from which she graduated with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in English and Linguistics. While attending San Jose State University, Tan met her husband, Lou Demattei on a blind date and the two quickly fell in love. They married in 1974.After college, Tan worked odd jobs to support herself such as a switchboard operator and a pizza maker, before beginning her writing career.

After college, Tan worked odd jobs to support herself such as a switchboard operator and a pizza maker, before beginning her writing career. In 1989, Tan’s first novel, “The Joy Luck Club” was published and received critical success. It was adapted into a movie in 1993 for which Tan penned the screenplay.In 1991, Tan’s second novel, ‘The Kitchen God’s Wife’, was published and received more success, making her a household name at the time and ensuring that she was able to create a

In 1991, Tan’s second novel, “The Kitchen God’s Wife”, was published and received more success, making her a household name at the time and ensuring that she was able to create a full-time career as an author. Tan has since written five more bestselling novels with the most recent being released in 2013 and been the author of two popular children’s books exploring Chinese culture and five more non-fiction bestsellers.

She has won many awards for her work, including the American Library Association’s Award on two separate occasions and a Commonwealth Gold Award. She was also nominated for a BAFTA for her screenplay for “The Joy Luck Club”.In 1998, Tan was diagnosed with Lyme disease and, having gone untreated for some time, she still suffers from complications of the disease, including occasional epileptic seizures. As a result of this, Tan founded a charity called LymeAid 4 Kids, which helps children who have the disease but do not have insurance pay for treatment.

In 1998, Tan was diagnosed with Lyme disease and, having gone untreated for some time, she still suffers from complications of the disease, including occasional epileptic seizures. As a result of this, Tan founded a charity called LymeAid 4 Kids, which helps children who have the disease but do not have insurance pay for treatment.Tan currently lives in San Francisco, California with her husband and often plays in a band called the Rock Bottom Remainders with other famous authors like Barbara Kingsolver and Stephen King.

Tan currently lives in San Francisco, California with her husband and often plays in a band called the Rock Bottom Remainders with other famous authors like Barbara Kingsolver and Stephen King.