Has there been a film version?
Who are the important characters?
Ruth – a Chinese American woman living in San Francisco with her long term boyfriend, she is a ghostwriter and once a year she loses her voice for a week
LuLing – Ruth’s mother, an immigrant from China, suffering from Alzheimer’s
Art – Ruth’s boyfriend
Precious Auntie – LuLing’s nursemaid from China, a ghost who supposedly haunts their family and LuLing believed Ruth could communicate with her
GaoLing – LuLing’s sister, also an immigrant from China
What’s it about?
This is another dual story which takes place in the past and the present, China and America. Ruth is worried about her mother after LuLing is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. We learn about Ruth’s childhood, which was filled with her mother being afraid of ghosts, threatening suicide, and asking Ruth to communicate with LuLing’s dead nursemaid, Precious Auntie. However, the central part of the book consists of LuLing and Precious Auntie’s story as LuLing has written it down; partly so she doesn’t forget it and partly so Ruth will be able to read it.
Why is this book a bestseller/classic?
Because it’s an Amy Tan book, and an Oprah Pick, I think.
Do you recommend I read this book?
How did this book make your list?
It’s by Tan. And Oprah liked it.
Has it won any awards?
“I read that only after she died. Yet I have a memory of her telling me with her hands, I can see her saying this with her eyes. When it is dark, she says this to me in a clear voice I have never heard. She speaks in the language of shooting stars.” – p 176
Of course I enjoyed this book. There hasn’t been a single Tan book I haven’t loved. However, this one was a bit harder to become involved in – at least until LuLing started telling her story. I believe “The Kitchen God’s Wife” is still my favorite Tan book. This one had the characters a little too spread out from each other for me to get deeply into it. And the entire was so sad it depressed me a little. From Alzheimer’s to WWII, to dying husbands every few years – just a little too down. However, I did love the continual references to bones and shooting stars. Anything with shooting stars, I like.