An Immigrant’s Luck


Angel Gupta

Amy Tan’s “The Joy Luck Club” stands as a beautiful novel definitely worth a read.

“This house was built too steep, and a bad wind from the top blows all your strength back down the hill. So you can never get ahead. You are always rolling backward”

Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club gives a fresh and lasting image on the lives of Asian-American immigrants, and their US citizen children. Four ladies, coming from all angles of misfortune, leave their motherland to create a new life for themselves and their loved ones. Not only does it reflect the issues that many immigrants face such as the anxiety of being sent back and stumbling to fit into modern western culture, but it shows how first generation children are often conflicted between their heritage’s culture and community and the social circumstances of the United States. 

In the 1940s, four Asian women arrived in the United States to start their own lives, and created a club where they can share their culture through board games and delicacies. After the passing of one of the members, her daughter Jing-Mei “June” Woo comes to the club in place of her mother. There, she learns about the mysterious past that her mother has kept behind in China, and begins the true story of how intertwined all of their lives are to each other, and how the club represents their new beginning. 

As someone who’s also a first generation American citizen, this book is one of the first I found that was truthfully reflective on some of the struggles that we face today. It shows that coming forward and embracing our heritage is a gift; no matter where we are, our ancestry stays with us. With the book winning the Los Angeles Times Book award and eventually adapted into a film, this book is definitely worth the reading for a new yet important experience.