Monday, February 11, 2008
57. The Bonesetter's Daughter - Amy Tan

The last Amy Tan book I read was Saving Fish from Drowning and in it Tan had deviated from her usual theme of family relationships, especially those between immigrant parents and their first generation daughters. While I enjoyed the book, it wasn’t one of her best. With The Bonesetter’s Daughter, Tan has returned again to familiar territory and fans of her work will not be disappointed.

The Bonesetter’s Daughter is the story of Ruth, an independent first generation daughter of a Chinese immigrant. Always concerned with trying to please everyone around her, including her often verbally combative mother, a seemingly self absorbed live in boyfriend, and her clients, Ruth’s already turbulent life gets turned upside down when her mother, LuLing, is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

As LuLing’s condition deteriorates, Ruth tries to throw herself into her work when she comes across a stack of papers, written in Chinese, that her mother had given her the year before. She’s able to translate a few words on her own which grab her attention, “These Things I Know are True”. Desperate to discover what her mother wrote, Ruth hires a translator. Along with another packet of papers Ruth finds hidden in her mother’s apartment, entitled “Things I Must Not Forget”, she discovers her mother’s hidden past that leads Ruth to a better understanding of who her mother is, the relationship they have, and her own future.

I love Amy Tan’s work. Even Saving Fish from Drowning which was good, not great, and had a disappointing happy-ish ending. Don’t know what else to say other than I recommend it. Another wonderful read by Tan, author of The Joy Luck Club, The Kitchen God's Wife, and Saving Fish from Drowning.


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