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download pdf The Kitchen God's WifeAuthor Amy Tan –

Winnie And Helen Have Kept Each Other S Worst Secrets For Than Fifty Years Now, Because She Believes She Is Dying, Helen Wants To Expose Everything And Winnie Angrily Determines That She Must Be The One To Tell Her Daughter, Pearl, About The Past Including The Terrible Truth Even Helen Does Not Know And So Begins Winnie S Story Of Her Life On A Small Island Outside Shanghai In The S, And Other Places In China During World War II, And Traces The Happy And Desperate Events That Led To Winnie S Coming To America In

10 thoughts on “The Kitchen God's Wife

  1. says:

    I read this when it came out I thought I had written a review no It s holding all these years later a lasting wonderful reading impression The culture the relationships struggles and love the foods it was all delicious.

  2. says:

    Amy Tan writes about women complex women and I think that s one of the things I love about her books The men in her stories are shadows, almost undeveloped, with little presence except when they are cruel and threatening I found this closed women s world wonderfully refreshing, especially after reading so many books where men are the main focus In The Godfather, Mario Puzo jumped into Mama Corleone s point of view for just one small bit just long enough to reveal that the wife of the mafia godfather did not concern herself with her husband s violent world She didn t care After all, men never concerned themselves with women s problems They were from two different worlds, and this separate view reminded me of Winnie, the main protagonist in The Kitchen God s Wife Winnie is so distant from her cruel husband that she doesn t even know if Wen Fu is a gangster, and Tan never confirms it either After all, it s not important The main focus is all about women And the women are vivid too Winnie and Helen come alive By the end of the book I felt I knew them quite well Both their personalities and voices are so strong I can still imagine them bickering with each other And they are friends too true friends, who resent and care about each other They even talk trash, yet they still stick together I found this push and pull so real There s always a bit of one upmanship with friends, and Tan knows this You want good things for your friends, but you never want them to be too successful or too happy It s like sibling rivalry LOLAnother great character was Auntie Du, who is an older woman with no husband he died and no money She can t even write But she turns out to be this lovely hero, whom I just wanted to hug In a society that undervalues widows and spinsters, I loved that she saved the day, and she didn t even ask for credit What a great character As with all of Tan s books, I love her simple but lyrical prose, and I love all the details she adds about China before and after the war Tan takes you a different world and a different culture, but makes it familiar simply by introducing you to these fascinating and flawed women The love and pain they feel is universal, and I found myself quite choked up at the end, thinking about the friends and family that are in my own women s world Problems I had with this book were the slow parts Winnie s daughter Pearl is definitely not as interesting as her mom although I found her relationship with her mother poignant Wen Fu Winnie s husband is almost too cruel, too inhuman He s such a monster I really hated him, which is good for a villain But like all Tan s men, he was a shadow, very evil, but a shadow nevertheless I think Tan revealed way too much of the ending in the beginning when Pearl is telling her story Having Winnie go back and explain how things led up to where she was in the present, when you already know the outcome, kills a lot of the suspense But all in all, I enjoyed this a lot If you ve never read a Tan book, you ll be instantly transported to a new world But if you ve read her other books, you ll definitely recognize many of the same themes and character types that she usually writes about I give The Kitchen s God s Wife It s a great book

  3. says:

    Secrets Mothers and daughters nearly always keep secrets from each other But at some point in life the secrets need to be told.don t they Winnie, Pearl s mother, faces this dilemma Winnie s dearest friend Helen is threatening to tell Pearl all of the secrets of Winnie s early years in China So Winnie decides to tell Pearl her life story before Helen does Because of course Helen would not tell it correctly anyway.But Pearl has a secret of her own Will hearing her mother s secrets give her the courage to share hers This book was sometimes quite painful to read Readers who are overly sensitive to scenes of abuse of any kind may not be able to deal with parts of this story We see what Winnie lived through because of her arranged marriage to a complete jerk and from the war in China in the 1930 s and 40 s She suffered immensely but did have a few triumphs at times and somehow held onto a deep down core of strength that perhaps surprised even herself Chance is the first step you take, luck is what comes afterward.But you have to have the courage to take that first step, and trust that the luck will follow your path I think Winnie did this the best way she could I hope Pearl learns to do the same I promised my mother that I would take her this book in May She recently discovered Tan s work when she read The Bonesetter s Daughter We are planning a book swap It will be fun to discuss them after reading, because we have discovered a bit of a secret between ourselves lately Every so often we both actually like the same books Maybe that means one or the other of us is getting older and smarter

  4. says:

    great story about a relationship between a mother and daughter we all, to some degree, struggle with our relationships with our mothers this book made me look deeply at my own relationship with my mom and got me thinking about how much about my mom and her life that i still don t know my mom is reading this now and we ve had some great conversations about this and what it means to our own relationship this is a wonderful story about 1 the incredible love of a mother 2 cultural assimilation and native cultures 3 the rise of communist china 4 a woman s fight for self determination and empowerment 5 surviving domestic violence.

  5. says:

    I read this book for the Goodreads Book Club Diversity in All Forms If you d like to join the discussion here is the link book is an extremely short read I read it in less than 24 hours while working and going to school The story takes a huge turn when Winnie shares what her life was like in China This is a sad, but eye opening story that is definitely realistic fiction Winnie and Helen have kept each other s worst secrets for than fifty years Now, because she believes she is dying, Helen wants to expose everything And Winnie angrily determines that she must be the one to tell her daughter, Pearl, about the past including the terrible truth even Helen does not know And so begins Winnie s story of her life on a small island outside Shanghai in the 1920s, and other places in China during World War II, and traces the happy and desperate events that led to Winnie s coming to America in 1949.

  6. says:

    What I learned from this book my favorite part Isn t that how it is when you must decide with your heart You are not just choosing one thing over another You are choosing what you want And you are also choosing what somebody else does not want, and all the consequences that follow You can tell yourself, That s not my problem, but those words do not wash the trouble away Maybe it is no longer a problem in your life But it is always a problem in your heart.

  7. says:

    The Kitchen God s Wife was my second novel by Amy Tan As it often the case with Tan, this novel focuses on the dynamics of an American Chinese family, precisely on the relationship between a mother and a daughter There are other characters, but there is no doubt that the mother and the daughter are the protagonists of this novel Pear and Winnie are not only the sole narrators, they are what this novel is about The Kitchen God s Wife opens with the daughter s narration Pearl has been born to a Chinese mother and Chinese American father, that is, Pearl s mother moved to USA to get married to an American Chinese man Consequently, Pearl s mother Winnie is still deeply rooted in her Chinese culture Pearl, on the other hand, has grown up in USA and belongs to another culture Pearl has a secret that she hides from her mother Pearl has multiple sclerosis, a vicious immune disease all immune diseases are chronic and incurable, so it is perhaps not that strange that Pearl hides it from Winnie Pearl s condition being something that I understand perfectly suffering from an immune disease myself , made it easier for me to get involved into the story from the start As the story progresses, we realize that the relationship between the Pearl and Winnie is quite complex, which by might another reason why Pearl has revealed her health condition to almost everyone but Winnie.When an elderly aunt dies, Pearls meditates about her past and present While Pearl is reflecting on and writing about Chinese funeral customs, she also shares a lot about Chinese beliefs and traditions I quite enjoyed reading about that The way Pearl was explaining cultural related things was simple but interesting Pearl doesn t go into great detail, but as I said, she does some cultural explaining What follows next is that Pearl s mother Winnie invites Pearl and her family to an engagement party of their cousin At the same time, Pearl s aunt Helen confront Pearl, insisting that Pearl must tell Winnie the truth about her health condition or the aunt will Helen does the same thing to Winnie, demanding that Winnie reveals her past and the secrets it hides to Pearl I won t get into what happens next to avoid spoilers but I need to mention that Winnie becomes a narrator as well Winnie retells her incredibly painful life with a powerful voice At times it was difficult to read about everything that happened to Winnie, I often felt like it was, quite frankly, too much Is it even possible that so many horrible things can happen to somebody There were a few episodes that could have been left out, as there was no need to turn an already tragic story into some kind of a contest of how many horrible things can happen to a single person At one point I even felt frustrated, wondering how Winnie will ever manage to escape the vicious circle she was trapped in, but I m certainly glad I continued reading as it all comes together in the end Winnie makes for an amazing narrator, I simply loved her character Even if I felt there was simply too much happening to Winnie, I sympathized with her every step of the way While I was reading Winnie s story I felt transported to another time and place Pearl s narrative is modern, Winnie s is old fashion, and somehow these two work perfectly together Some parts of Winnie s narrative continue to haunt me, especially one particular sentence that also happens to be my favourite quote from this book That is the saddest thing when you lose someone you love that person keeps changing And later you wonder Is it the same person I lost Maybe you lost , maybe less, there are thousand things that come from imagination and you don t know which is which, which was true, which is false I sweat that has to be one of the most profound things ever written about grief When we mourn for somebody, when we try to accept somebody s death, what we are afraid of is not only how we will live without them but how we will leave without their memory The older I get, the I realize that memory often plays trick on us It is not as reliable as we want and need it to be This the worst of pain, to wonder whether we remember the loved ones correctly, and knowing there is no way we can know for sure That doubt often followed by guilt is perhaps what hurts us the most On overall, I would say that this novel was easier to follow than The Joy Luck Club, mainly because there are only two narrators In addition, the narrators both have very distinct voices It is easy to understand both Winnie and Pearl but perhaps even importantly one can understand why misunderstandings between them occur, perhaps even why they had to occur Their relationship is a complex but a loving one The way Pear and Winnie act both in respect to one another and to other people makes sense, the motivation behind their actions is very clear This rounded character development is something I quite liked Their characters are better developed and rounded compared to those in The Joy Luck Club even if we admit that there was less place for character development in that book, I have to notice that those characters were a little flat while these are anything but Finally, both Winnie s and Pearl s life stories are interesting and worth reading, even if I think that on Winnie s side of things there was some exaggeration Not in the sense that these kind of terrible things described in Winnie s life story didn t use to happen to women, and probably still do for that matter, but in the sense that it felt excessive to include that amount of trauma and put it all on the shoulders of one character.This novel seems better developed and mature than Tan s first, yet somehow I still liked it a bit less than The Joy Luck Club Having already been introduced to similar themes in Amy Tan s previous novel, I have to admit that I felt a little less involved in the story Reading The Joy Luck Club felt like being immersed into a magical world I felt involved while I was reading this book, but not as fully immersed into the narrative as with the first one There is magic in this one for sure, but something of that newness of reading experience that contributed to the feeling of what I now can call wonder is gone Had this been the first Amy Tam novel I have ever read, I would have had probably given it five stars, this way I think that a four star marking is appropriate I loved this novel but I can t say I have fallen madly in love with it or anything like that I had a feeling I got what I was hoping for, if you know what I mean, but there wasn t anything extra However, there is no doubt in my mind that The Kitchen God s Wife is a powerful novel, one well worth reading I would certainly recommend this one, especially to those interested in themes it explores.

  8. says:

    The book starts out in contemporary America, and is narrated by Pearl a second generation Chinese emigrant, who is trying to balance her own 21st century American family life with the needs of her Chinese mother and her mother s friends From the third chapter on the narrating is taken over by Winnie, Pearl s mother, and it transforms into being the story of her life told against the background of her living in Shanghai in the 1930s and 40s, under the Kuomintang, but with the Communists already making their presence felt, and her experiences with the Japanese invasion of Shanghai On a personal level it is about Winnie s relationships, with her own mother, with her first husband Wen Fu, with her friends Hulan, Peanut, Min and Grand Auntie Du, and finally, about her relationship with the Chinese American translator Jimmy Louie The first pillar of the book for me was the suffocating nature of the family life portrayed It starts in the present day, with a mother daughter relationship that I found cringingly intrusive In fact the whole family is way too over bearing, and that isn t even just blood relatives It also includes various friends who have been sucked into this gooey familial web The second pillar was the superstition that is rife throughout the whole story From the eccentricities of Grand Auntie Du s household alter , to a plethora of omens that drench the lives of these people inspiring or damning and always taken seriously At one stage there is a visit to a fortune teller, but this seems superfluous given that their lives are already heavily dominated by a super awareness of portents of good and bad fortune.The third and final pillar of the book for me was the ubiquitous male dominance in Chinese society at this time This was illustrated in the general culture, in the licence given to Winnie s first husband, and in the heavy governance of her father, both towards her and her mother Men ruled and marriage was all But this pillar had woodworm The women in the story were rebelling through friendship and support for one another, through the changing politics of the time, and through the sheer cussedness and determination of the main female protagonists in the story.My least favourite character at the beginning of the book was Helen, or Hulen as she was known in China, but as time went on I could not help but be beguiled by the riches that the author brought to her personality She was stupid and clumsy, touching, wily, endearing, maddening, loyal, naive, preposterous, turncoat and vulnerable By the end of the book I found her quite irresistible Such a huge character It was a pleasure to follow the ups and downs of her friendship with Winnie, and have my initial dislike so overturned In fact all the women characters in the book had a lot of presence for me.The book ends with a return to the present day, with Winnie and her daughter Pearl coming to terms with a lot of things in one another s lives that they had previously kept secret, and we sense a new closeness between them.For the most part though the book is harsh and quite brutal Winnie did not have an easy life, not only in personal terms, but also in what she went through whilst being bombed, in fleeing the Japanese army, and in the aftermath of the war Having said that there is a happy ending and the glow from that did much to warm the cockles of my cowardly heart.

  9. says:

    I officially do not want to read anything by Tan again At least this is how I feel at the moment.Why the three stars The Kitchen God s Wife is very well written, but I hated what this book was doing to me The WWII in China is merely a backdrop for the protagonist s personal drama of epic proportions suffice to say that when something very bad, but not exactly cruel, happened view spoiler one of protagonist s children dies, quite straightforwardly, of plague hide spoiler

  10. says:

    The book begins with Pearl planning on attending a wedding but then also learns there is a funeral As most of Tans books, this book deals with family history, relationships, some cultural history of China, the life of women in China and assimilation to the United States.Winnie and her friend Helen have a kept a secret for most of their lives, Winnie s daughter Pearl also has a secret she has been keeping from her Mother Helen steps in, claims she is dying is she and tells each Winnie and Pearl that they need to tell their secrets or she will Winnie decides that she will tell her daughter what she has kept secret from her.Winnie s story is set on a small island outside of Shanghai in the 20 s but she moves to other locations in China prior to coming to the United States in 1949.Winnie s story is a sad one, born to a beautiful mother who one day disappeared she is sent to live with a distant relative, he way of life changes drastically She ends up being married to a man who physically and emotionally abuses her This is only the beginning Her story may be painful to some who have suffered domestic violence, or who have suffered the loss of their children Winnie does not have a happy life until she meets Pearl s father in China at a Military Dance They fall in love and then begins the story of Winnie trying to escape to be with the man she loves Pearl in turn, shares her secret with her Mother Her secret does not have the same impact for me the reader Their shared confessions serve to bring them closer and ends with Winnie wanting to take Pearl on a trip Amy tan does complex relation ships well She is able to show the complexities of Mother Daughter relationships Winnie and Pearl were not close their relationship has not always been good Tan also writes about female friendships, husband wife relationships in this book Her writing is beautiful and lyrical I enjoyed how Winnie s story was told It almost felt like a book within a book 4 Stars for me I found I did not like this book as much as I liked some of her others Tan s writing is beautiful but at times I wanted to have things speed up a little Some may not like the changing POV of the main characters But I think most wont mind.