|Welcome | Log In|
Dear Amy Tan,
One year ago, I sat in my room bent over a book, one I could not put down because it awakened me to things I could not see. It lifted dark shadows, and revealed what was real and what was not. The Joy Luck Club jolted me. Through ancient Chinese women, I experienced the agonizing death of a child, the wrenching loss of a husband, the encompassing caress of a mother, the joy and anticipation of marriage, grandchildren, friendship, the joy of telling your mother you love her, and the joy of touching roots and knowing them.
The heartbeats of a mother and daughter are identical, their souls sewn together with interconnecting roots, and interminable love. This love is exceptional. I say this because I am a daughter. When I read your book, I was running my fingers through the deep, watery reflection of my own life. I am not Asian American. However, I related to the themes revolving around mothers and daughters. Your words catapulted my mind to memories of my own. Each character spoke to me through their haunting tales of sorrow and sweet tales of joy.
The emotional undercurrents pushed through my insides until I mouthed out the last words of your book. Your words struck a vital cord in me, making me think hard about things I had not before. I looked in the mirror and saw more than just a fourteen-year-old girl. I saw a person who carried her mother in her eyes, and realized you can live with someone such as your mother, and never know the depth or the half of their life.
Sometimes I think I know my mother. Then some extraordinary story emerges that makes me admire and love her all the more. It fascinates me that there is still much I do not know. You wrote how June learns more of her mother, her tragedies and sufferings, after she has passed away. This allowed me to see how misunderstandings can exist tragically too long. I realized that mother and daughter love is unique, and so is their communication. This love, like the roots of a tree, can be twisted, or intertwined in perfect harmony. Every story, and every thought you put into their heads at the dinner table or when together was so real. It showed the effects of anger, disappointment, and frustration. People assume others have never suffered like ourselves, when in reality, they have, in different times, circumstances, and degrees.
I feel many times I take my parents, close relatives and friends for granted. Every human being has something valuable to offer. There are things we will never know about a person. Waverly, Lena, Rose and June explain their motherís actions, thinking they are ignorant, pushy, or uncaring, when that was not always the case. When Suyuan gives her daughter her "lifeís importance," it showed me something else. Not only must we respect others, but ourselves. Often I have not thought of myself as important. However, in reading your novel I realized we must have a strong belief in ourselves. Our life and love is just as worthy as anyone else's.
Thank you for your book. It brought me closer to my life. I made me realize that our mothers do understand. Perhaps they don't always see how their comments affect or sting, but the reasons for their actions usually have a backing of experience and love. Perhaps you wrote this book so personally and so real because you yourself discovered that you had three sisters you did not know of? Because you lost a brother? Because you grew up American with aChinese mother replete with stories of China? Whatever the reason, I commend you for your writing, but most of all I thank you for writing such a moving novel. It made me say "I love you" to my mother more meaningfully, bringing me closer to her, and making me appreciative of lifeís treasures.
Renee Noel Gilliland
© The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. (Used by permission.)