Before we start, can we just mention that Amy Tan, Stephen King, and several other famous authors have performed together in a band called the Rock Bottom Remainders? Because yea, that happened. Watch here.
What’s It About: Short narratives from the point of view of four Chinese women, who immigrated to the U.S. in the mid- 20th century, and their American-born daughters.
Why: My duties as a student teacher in a classroom of students who are ‘reading’ it
Thoughts: I liked this a lot more than I thought I would. While I wish there was more of it, the reflections on the cross-generational immigrant experience are really insightful and heartfelt. I was drawn more to the more impressionistic chapters- “The Moon Lady” and “Half and Half” come to mind.
Perhaps due to the structure of the book, I didn’t quite feel any unity between the characters’ stories. I even got the daughters’ stories confused. I mean, you can only write about so many unhappy marriages until they all start blending into each other.
All in all, though, I highly recommend the book.
The movie, on the other hand, is a bit more tiresome. My own quick Google searches of the book/movie come up with lots of discussion of the perpetuated stereotypes of Asian men/women. Some of these claims are true, in my opinion. I cringed a bit every time the actresses playing the older Chinese women spoke in highly-accented, broken English; how demanding and unreceptive each ‘tiger-mother’ was (the word ‘tiger-mother’ does not appear in TJLC); how much the film seemed to be mocking or exoticizing the culture instead of making it real and motivational.
I’d say that the movie was good regardless of its problems, but the acting is just so bad. Like so so bad.