read online Prime The Bonesetter's DaughterAuthor Amy Tan – Wildlives.co
Amy Tan has a way of starting a story that s impossible to put down For the first half of the book I kept wondering what about it made it so good Anecdotal stories, relatable characters, Chinese folklore for interest these are all good, but I finally realized in the last quarter of the book why I liked it so much Because it s a book about learning to love your past no matter how many scars it gives you, and learning to love and forgive your parents and ancestors, no matter what they may have done to your gene pool It s a story about loving people the best way you know how, and believing that some day they ll know just how much you love them, and just how much you wish you could change your faults so you could love them better But you hope that your feeble offering will be enough And it s a story about accepting the feeble offering for the gold mine that it is not feeble at all I learned a lot about myself and my family relationships through reading this book, and would recommend it to anyone who has a loved one they just can t quite relate to or understand. This was the first Amy Tan book I read This book wasn t specifically recommended, but the author was I was expecting something magical to happen as I turned the pages, but I couldn t get past the first four or five chapters of the book Besides the overly long sections of actionless description the story stagnated because of a poor balance between backstory, scene setup and description, and actual let s move things along plot , the main character Ruth is so weak and whiny that I couldn t empathize, sympathize or even remotely identify with her she made it impossible to get into the novel It may be unfair to give The Bonesetter s Daughter a poor review without reading the whole thing, but I wonder how anyone could stay with this character for any length of time I did like the character of LuLing, even if the stilted, stereotypical dialog coming from her seemed unecessary at best and amateurish at worst LuLing, Ruth s aging and Alzheimer stricken mother, is a strong character and the only thing that kept me in the novel as long as I was Bottom line the protagonist was forgettable and the pace was too slow Even January molasses memoirs get somewhere, but this book just ended up back at the library well ahead of its due date. Amy Tan s books are like a fine wine they re meant to be savored, to get the maximum amount of enjoyment out of each drop or word on each page.I have yet to read a book that s worthy of anything less than 5 stars Knock on wood, let s hope it stays that way.Ruth is a 46 year old professional woman with a busy life of her own she has a successful but demanding career, a live in boyfriend with whom she has a complicated relationship, 2 step kids who are bratty imho for most of the book, and finally, an elderly mother who may have some serious health issues to face.Her mother LuLing has one foot planted firmly in her past her roots are in China, and she has spent a lifetime coming to terms with what happened there before she moved to the United States after WWII.There are things she has revealed to her daughter, but only in Chinese Ruth is forced to come to terms with herself, her boyfriend and her mother.This book is broken into 3 parts, with the middle part going into LuLing s history in war torn China The fluidity of Tan s writing is so superb, and her ability to weave a tale that s written so perfectly is simply wonderful Tan is a master at writing about history she offers richly vivid depictions , complicated issues, multi generational conflicts, redemption, forgiveness and self awareness I can t say enough good things about this book My only regret is that I didn t read it sooner. This is a chronicle of voicelessness across three generations of a Chinese family it captures how these women lost their voices, why they continued to be voiceless, and how they attempted to reclaim their voice Voice in this book is both literal and figurative it s about standing up for oneself, speaking one s truth, being acknowledged, being understood, and not being censored And the perpetrators who claim the women s voices can be cultural, personal through the violation of one s secrets or body , cross cultural, as what happens to the youngest when she finds herself in a relationship with a man who already has two Caucasian children, and even professional, as what happens for those who choose to give voice to others ideas but not their own as ghostwriters And not incidentally, it is also a book about ghosts who remain with us from our past, haunting us with their curses or benevolently giving us advice about our current choices Serendipitously enough, this book made me proud to be part Chinese, but also sad that there was so much about Chinese culture and especially its writing and its calligraphy that I cannot understand But in the end, it inspires the reader to speak out, to express appreciation to relatives, to insist on being heard in one s relationship, and to rediscover the paths of their ancestors It may sound corny, but this book was an incredibly moving read for me, unsettling me and making me question my own experiences at its difficult passages On a general note, however, please stop titling book s The Blank s Daughter From the abortionist to the gravedigger to the bonesetter, I m tired of women being defined by the occupation of their father What shall I title my memoir The Senior Health care Analyst s Daughter Hmm Regardless, after Joy Luck Club, this is definitely Tan s most powerful novel Bravo Some passages that struck a chord There s a lovely discussion on someone s favorite word, vapors, a passage too long for me to quote, but very thoughtfully done pgs 20 21 A lot of her mother s admonitions had to do with not showing what you really felt about all sorts of things hope disappointment , and especially love The less you showed, the you meant p 92 Or in my own mother s case, the less you showed, the you were in control of your feelings, your effect on others, and the situation involved a misguided philosophy I took years to unlearn, though I know it s hopeless to convince my mom of the error of her affective formula You can have pride in what you do each day, ut not arrogance in what you were born with p 250.And lastly, It broke her heart to see her mother trying so hard, being so conscientious, do determine to be valuable Making her mother happy would have been easy all along LuLing simply wanted to be essential, as a mother should be p 301. Ruth Young And Her Widowed Mother, LuLing, Have Always Had A Tumultuous Relationship Now, Before She Succumbs To Forgetfulness, LuLing Gives Ruth Some Of Her Writings, Which Reveal A Side Of LuLing That Ruth Has Never Known In A Remote Mountain Village Where Ghosts And Tradition Rule, LuLing Grows Up In The Care Of Her Mute Precious Auntie As The Family Endures A Curse Laid Upon A Relative Known As The Bonesetter When Headstrong LuLing Rejects The Marriage Proposal Of The Coffinmaker, A Shocking Series Of Events Are Set In Motion All Of Which Lead Back To Ruth And LuLing In Modern San Francisco The Truth That Ruth Learns From Her Mother S Past Will Forever Change Her Perception Of Family, Love, And Forgiveness Like The Joy Luck Club, this book is about relationships between mothers and daughters, and the importance of knowing each other s life stories In the first part of the book, we meet Ruth, a first generation Chinese American working as a ghostwriter for New Age self help books in California She has a hard time asserting herself in her ten year relationship with her boyfriend Her mother, LuLing, has been recently diagnosed with dementia, and can no longer live alone LuLing is depressed, critical, sends her daughter on guilt trips, and threatens to commit suicide whenever she is crossed She believes in superstitions and curses, and needs to communicate with the dead when she makes important decisions.The second part of the book tells the story of LuLing and the bonesetter s daughter back in China This memoir written by LuLing, was my favorite part of the book LuLing was part of a rural family that made high quality ink that was used in calligraphy Both LuLing and her mother faced difficult challenges, and were never totally accepted by her father s family In her teens, LuLing was taken in by missionaries during the Japanese occupation of China, and she later immigrated to the United States LuLing s journal gives Ruth the knowledge to understand her mother better, and to make sense of Ruth s childhood.The third part of the book is set in the present, and easy solutions are found for both LuLing s and Ruth s problems A thread seems to tie the three generations of women together in strong, but difficult, mother daughter relationships.I had mixed feelings about this book The first part of the book, about Ruth s problems and LuLing s negative parenting, dragged for me The second part, set in China, was exciting with wonderful characters the bonesetter grandfather, the wicked relatives, LuLing s first love, the suicidal nursemaid The short third part brought things together well, but seemed to promise an almost too rosy future. I just didn t enjoy this as much as Amy Tan s other books Her plot development, with its mother daughter issues, has become almost a formula She does do a credible job describing life in China in the last century and I came away with a deeper understanding of that culture I just never thought of Amy Tan as the Maeve Binchy of Asian writing This is not meant to be a criticism of Maeve Binchy, an author whose well written books I think are fun to read It just is I get the impression that she keeps writing the same story, just changing the locations a little and adding nuances to the characters That is how I am beginning to feel about Amy Tan. The Bonesetter s Daughter is divided into three sections The first, set in present day California, introduces us to Ruth Young, a Chinese American woman whose 10 year relationship with the man she loves is deteriorating for reasons she doesn t understand When her mother shows signs of dementia, Ruth suddenly becomes aware of what her mother s memory loss means the disappearance of stories that will help Ruth understand her family and give her the sense that she is part of a story larger than her own The middle section of the novel is the memoir written a few years earlier by Ruth s mother, LuLing, so that her daughter will know the truth about LuLing s life in China The third section focuses once on Ruth, and what she will do with the knowledge she has gained. Meaningless words are a mere group of letters And if these words are weaved into a 350 pages manuscript, the essential plot is misplaced between the evaporation of its characters Tan exaggeratedly lengthens the stereotypical dilemma of two generations of women mother daughter trying to find solace in a past laden with secrets and customs that mold cultural uprightness Disappointing outcome to what might have been an admirable chronicle. I almost gave up on this book early on I m glad I didn t While I didn t really care for the character of Ruth too much or her life in San Fransisco, the story of her mother LuLing really saved the book and turned the entire novel into a deeply affecting work The middle act where LuLing is allowed to tell her story in her own words was the obvious high point of the book for me.