Read The Bonesetter's Daughter by Amy Tan Online


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 cuRuth 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....

Title : The Bonesetter's Daughter
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780002254861
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 308 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Bonesetter's Daughter Reviews

  • Brina
    2019-05-21 21:24

    As an adolescent reader, Amy Tan used to be one of my favorite authors, yet, at the time, I did not appreciate the scope of her writing. One of my 2017 reading goals is to revisit authors I read during that time so as to fully enjoy their work. The Bonesetter's Daughter, an sweeping novel that takes a reader from California to prerevolutionary China and back again, is the second of Tan's books that I have read this year. A story featuring a strong mother-daughter connection that is emblematic of Tan's writing, The Bonesetter's Daughter offers readers a captivating novel in three parts. Ruth Luyi Young is middle aged and still dealing with baggage of her youth. Although she has been in a stable relationship for the past ten years and has a successful job, Ruth at age forty six still grapples with her upbringing as an only child to a widowed mother. Throughout her life, Ruth has become known as a people pleaser while not taking the time to assert herself about her own wants and desires in life. As a result Ruth is in a long term relationship yet not married and ghost writing books instead of authoring her own stories. Ruth's life undergoes dramatic changes when her mother LuLing is diagnosed with the beginning stages of Alzheimer's. Ruth's own life takes a back seat as she moves in with her mother and becomes her caregiver. While living in her childhood home, Ruth discovers a memoir LuLing had written seven years earlier when she first feared that she was losing her memory. Ruth takes the manuscript to be translated, and Tan takes her reader on a journey to pre-revolutionary, rural China. Liu LuLing grew up in the village of Immortal Heart as the daughter of Precious Auntie, her Bao Bomu. Precious Auntie suffered many hardships including the murder of her father, a respected bone doctor, and her fiancé on the day of her wedding. Precious Auntie was already pregnant with LuLing at the time, and was taken in to life with her to be husband's family. Following LuLing's birth Precious Auntie stayed as her nursemaid, and never let LuLing know that she was her mother until it was too late to form real maternal bonds. As a result, LuLing has also been grappling with ghosts and curses for her entire life. Tan provides the reader with a glimpse of life in Peking and Hong Kong before China became a modern country. One sees this in the orphanage run by missionaries where LuLing lives and the crowded streets of Peking and Hong Kong where she waits for her journey to America. Tan provides a contrast to life in China still dictated by Buddhist g-ds and practices to modern San Francisco where LuLing ends up, escaping the hardships that befell her in her youth. Written in three parts, Tan creates a strong mother-daughter relationship in LuLing and Ruth as she offers similar themes in their childhood. Tan's mother daughter motif as well as the differences between immigrants and their children born in the United States is evident in her other books as well. She provides the reader with a modern feel good story as well as quality historical fiction all in one book. The Bonesetter's Daughter was enjoyable for me to revisit, and I look forward to spending more time reading Tan's novels. 4 stars.

  • Amelia
    2019-06-16 20:06

    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.

  • Saleh MoonWalker
    2019-05-26 20:24

    Onvan : The Bonesetter's Daughter - Nevisande : Amy Tan - ISBN : 345457374 - ISBN13 : 9780345457370 - Dar 368 Safhe - Saal e Chap : 2001

  • Rebbie
    2019-05-28 02:24

    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.

  • Yulia
    2019-06-21 00:07

    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 more 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 more you meant" (p. 92). Or in my own mother's case, the less you showed, the more 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).

  • Irish
    2019-05-21 03:17

    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.

  • Obsidian
    2019-06-13 00:17

    I think that when Amy Tan is right on she is definitely right on. A few years ago I devoured every book she had written and still have all of her books on my bookshelf. I decided to re-read "The Bonesetter's Daughter" for my Booklikes-opoly square. The "Bonesetter's Daughter"is told as a shifting narrative of a Chines American daughter (Ruth) trying to deal with her mother (LuLing) who is starting to lose her memory due to Alzheimer's. Ruth feels frustrated trying to deal with her mother and with her relationship with her lover Art. At times Ruth becomes mute and is unable to express herself. When she finds her mother's diary she decides to have it translated and the diary allows her to really see her mother for the first time. Ruth was a trial for me at times. Seriously. I wanted her to take a stand against her boyfriend/lover and his terrible kids. They were exhausting to even read about. But I did feel smidgens of sympathy for her here and there. Her mother's obsession with ghosts, curses, and embarrassing her as a child are definitely things that would make it hard for you to sympathize initially with LuLing until we get to her story. I will admit that at first I didn't like LuLing until we (readers) get to read the memoirs that Ruth is having translated from what her mother wrote. You get LuLing's earlier younger voice and your heart is definitely going to break when you read about what she dealt with while living in China. It also helps Ruth better understand her mother and realize why her mother acted the way she did while she was growing up. The two women get closer towards the end of the book which did make me happy. I have always loved Amy Tan's writing. She manages to make every sentence count and just draw you in. I felt every second of LuLing's younger voice via her diary as she remembers what her life in China was like. And also her sadness when she realizes her daughter is pulling away from her. I will say though the reason why I only gave this four stars is that the first part of the book that primarily is told from Ruth's POV was hard to get through. That's why I didn't give it 5 stars. The setting of the book goes back and forth from San Francisco to China. The China parts of the book felt the most alive to me. Reading about LuLing living at Immortal Heart made it seem like the a stark and desolate place. The ending was poignant but also sad. I know that this book is quite realistic with showing how Alzheimer's affects people and families, but I still wished for a different ending.

  • Suzanne
    2019-05-25 01:17

    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.

  • Sandra
    2019-06-16 02:07

    4 - 4.5 stars.Tan portrayed in a great way the cultural and language conflicts between migrant parents and their kids.I also enjoyed the part of the book set in China from 1915 to 1950.

  • Holly
    2019-06-20 01:57

    At the beginning of Amy Tan's fourth novel, two packets of papers written in Chinese calligraphy fall into the hands of Ruth Young. One bundle is titled Things I Know Are True and the other, Things I Must Not Forget. The author? That would be the protagonist's mother, LuLing, who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. In these documents the elderly matriarch, born in China in 1916, has set down a record of her birth and family history, determined to keep the facts from vanishing as her mind deteriorates.A San Francisco career woman who makes her living by ghostwriting self-help books, Ruth has little idea of her mother's past or true identity. What's more, their relationship has tended to be an angry one. Still, Ruth recognizes the onset of LuLing's decline--along with her own remorse over past rancor--and hires a translator to decipher the packets. She also resolves to "ask her mother to tell her about her life. For once, she would ask. She would listen. She would sit down and not be in a hurry or have anything else to do."Framed at either end by Ruth's chapters, the central portion of The Bonesetter's Daughter takes place in China in the remote, mountainous region where anthropologists discovered Peking Man in the 1920s. Here superstition and tradition rule over a succession of tiny villages. And here LuLing grows up under the watchful eye of her hideously scarred nursemaid, Precious Auntie. As she makes clear, it's not an enviable setting: I noticed the ripe stench of a pig pasture, the pockmarked land dug up by dragon-bone dream-seekers, the holes in the walls, the mud by the wells, the dustiness of the unpaved roads. I saw how all the women we passed, young and old, had the same bland face, sleepy eyes that were mirrors of their sleepy minds. Nor is rural isolation the worst of it. LuLing's family, a clan of ink makers, believes itself cursed by its connection to a local doctor, who cooks up his potions and remedies from human bones. And indeed, a great deal of bad luck befalls the narrator and her sister GaoLing before they can finally engineer their escape from China. Along the way, familial squabbles erupt around every corner, particularly among mothers, daughters, and sisters. And as she did in her earlier The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan uses these conflicts to explore the intricate dynamic that exists between first-generation Americans and their immigrant elders.

  • Luís C.
    2019-06-20 03:18 ''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 more on Ruth, and what she will do with the knowledge she has gained.

  • Praj
    2019-06-02 00:22

    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.

  • Connie
    2019-06-03 20:09

    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.

  • Daniel Clausen
    2019-05-31 04:14

    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.

  • Margitte
    2019-06-20 02:25

    A great read! The mother-daughter relationships spanning over three generations was done so authentically it is hard to believe that Amy Tan was not there herself in each generation living those lives in all the different scenes/eras of the book."Things I must not forget" - is the first line of some Chinese writings which her mother handed to her and which she managed to translate. Her mother, Luling, was in the early stages of Alzheimers, which forced Ruth (or Lootie as her mother pronounced her name), to finally get someone to translate the rest of the papers. Ruth had a need to understand her mother's behaviour and thoughts better.The book often had too many 'page-filler' detail in. You know, those paragraphs and paragraphs of words, which the reader has to skip here and there to continue the story, but it was written so beautifully, and so detailed, with so much suspense, that I just couldn't put it down.After discovering her mother and grandmother's remarkable life stories hidden in the old Laz-y-Boy chair, Ruth could finally understand herself better, although it was unintended. But she first had to relive two other lives through her mother's meticulous writings to reach a point where she connect all the dots in her own personal relationship-issues with the people around her.I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Excellent read. Amy Tan is not one of those authors who can be put down easily. And to really enjoy her writing style the most, one must make time to sit back and start one of her stories and stay with it right through to the end. It is worth it.

  • Andrea
    2019-05-30 03:24

    2007 Rating: 2 Stars2016 Rating: I’m very happy this one got selected for book club as it had been many years since I’d read this. I remember my original frustration was that I was much more used to Amy Tan’s work which is primarily set in the past. This book starts in the present day and remains centered there, even as the past is explored. Sadly, this present-focus remains less engaging for me than other works by Tan. I don’t need to love or even like the protagonist, but I also don’t want to be annoyed, bored or just uncomfortable spending time with them. Sadly, that’s still how I feel about Ruth. Her present world is bleak and joyless and reading it felt sort of joyless for me. I enjoyed the flashback to her mother’s story the best but even then…there was a deep thread of sadness here that seemed intense even in context against a long tradition of sort of depressing Chinese stories and Tan’s own work. Overall, this book has a lot of interesting elements and details, is well-written and paced, but ultimately just doesn’t make for an enjoyable reading experience for me.

  • SheriC (PM)
    2019-06-06 03:01

    Wonderfully moving story of mothers and daughters and how the way we learn to relate with our mothers can impact every other relationship we form in life. The characters grow and learn and change over the course of the story in a most satisfying way, although the author does come perilously close to an unrealistically (view spoiler)[Happily Ever After ending. (hide spoiler)] Alright, maybe she did it, but I enjoyed the journey so much that I didn’t mind it. I zoomed through this book in less than two days because I stayed up waaaaaay too late last night to finish it. Hardcover version, has been on my bookshelf for so long I don’t even remember when or where I got it. Really 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 because I don’t do half-stars. I read this for The 16 Tasks of the Festive Season, for Square 11, December 21st-22nd: Book themes for Dōngzhì Festival: Read a book set in China or written by a Chinese author / an author of Chinese origin; or read a book that has a pink or white cover. This book is both set partly in China and the author is the daughter of Chinese immigrants to the US.

  • Hildred Billings
    2019-05-30 03:12

    "The Bonesetter's Daughter" is the second to last Amy Tan novel I have yet to re-read, and like "Hundred Secret Senses," I realized I couldn't remember a dang thing about this book. "The Joy Luck Club" is all about switching POVs between eight characters, "The Kitchen God's Wife" is basically a super long version of one Joy Luck story (that is of course morbidly depressing half the time), and "Saving Fish From Drowning" is about a ghost following around and narrating about the lulziest tour group to ever hit Myanmar. Turns out that "Hundred Secret Senses" was about an insufferable woman with a badass sister who had an awesome backstory to tell - turns out that "The Bonesetter's Daughter" is about an insufferable woman with a badass mother who had an awesome backstory to tell.The first thing making Bonesetter Stick out is the fact the daughter's - Ruth - POV is written in third person. Why, when Amy Tan is the queen of rambling first POV? I have no idea. Because the entire middle section narrated by her mother, LuLing, is written in first. But I'm getting ahead of myself.Other than that, it's the usual Amy Tan fare. Ruth is in a miserable relationship on the brink of failure (wow, that's new) and her mother, the immigrant LuLing, drives her bonkers. (That's new too!!) Ruth spends her whole time whining and whining, especially about her mother, and ESPECIALLY about her long-time boyfriend what'shisface. (Oh right, Art. Groan.) Art has two teenaged girls from a previous marriage with the most wtf names ever (Dory and Fia. Yeah. That's real 90s.) who talk like they're six instead of early teens. Basically, Ruth's life is totally moan-worthy and omg all these negative feels. She and Olivia from Hundred Secret Senses should become bffs and complain about how awful it is to be upper middle class in San Francisco.ANYWAY, the story. You see, Ruth has a mother (really?? In an Amy Tan novel??) named LuLing, who is starting to act a little strange. Turns out she has early-onset dementia, and is of course only going to get worse. So what does LuLing do? Write down her entire life story up until moving to America, just in case she forgets any of the details and can never tell her daughter. Ruth has the documents translated while her mother is away. Of course, what she discovers about her mother are things she would have never guessed before. Or even imagined. As usual, LuLing's story about growing up the illegitimate daughter of deformed-by-fire "Bonesetter's Daughter" is both heart wrenching (I mean it's 1920s China come on) and intriguing. I struggled to get through Ruth's set-up chapters and then pretty much devoured all of LuLing's backstory in one night. Since I'd forgotten most of it, it was like it was brand new to me...which is always nice.With all this whining on my part (hi Ruth, you're rubbing off on me) you may be wondering why I gave this book four stars. It's more like 3 and a half, but I decided to round up, because of the score I gave Hundred Secret Senses. These books are almost exactly the same in structure and style, just the details are different. And the biggest difference is that Bonesetter had a waaaay more fulfilling ending than Hundred Secret Senses did. I was actually smiling a little when I closed this book. Unlike the other one which I'm pretty sure I threw across the room. Is it Tan's best work? No. Not at all. I have the "reader's guide" paperback and in it is a lot of mentions on Tan's part about how hard this book was for her to write. Well, yeah. You're pretty much just copying yourself now. (She said affectionately.) That said, Tan is an amazing writer, so her "slush" tends to be far better grade than most other author's magnum opii. I read this book very quickly, not because I'm a speed reader but because I was legit hooked once LuLing's tale began. If you love the backstory's of Tan's "mothers", then read this book now. You won't be disappointed. If you can't bear to read another Olivia-type character again I'm...I'm sorry. Good luck.

  • Rebecca Huston
    2019-06-02 02:56

    I really enjoyed this one, having wanted to read this one for years. Set in both pre-communist China and modern day California, telling the story of Ruth and her mother LuLing. It is not an easy relationship at all. LuLing is quarrelsome, manipulative, and has made Ruth's life hell for many years. Ruth tries to be understanding, but her mother is driving her crazy and when the doctors say that LuLing is sliding into dementia, Ruth's life turns upside down and leaving her to pick up the pieces. Sorting out her mother's rubbish filled home Ruth finds out that what she thought she knew about LuLing may have been quite different. The story is told from two points-of-view, spanning decades from China to America, and full of history, including inkmaking, arranged marriages and Peking Man. Well-written and a hearty recommendation from me. Four stars overall. For the longer review, please go here:

  • Holli
    2019-05-22 02:20

    Like most of Tan's books, this novel focuses on mother-daughter relationships extending over several generations. It is a tale of discovering the truth about our past and ourselves. Ruth's mother LuLing is suffering with the early stages of Alzheimer's and carefully writes down the "Things I Know Are True" and the "Things I Must Not Forget" - leaving them for her daughter to find. These are the vehicles through which Ruth discovers the secrets and truths hidden in her mother's past. This is a wonderful book - a little slow in the beginning but fantastic overall. Definitely read the "Conversation with Amy Tan" in which her friend Molly Giles interviews her (at the end of the novel). This makes the book much more personal and even more wonderful.

  • Alysia
    2019-05-21 21:22

    This is my third Amy Tan book. I have not read a novel from her in years and this book helped me to remember why she is one of my favorite authors. Amy Tan has a timeless writing style. That is the only way I can describe it. She doesn't write overly poetic or too simple. Amy Tan writes with a unique style that is perfect in every way. Her Chinese voice and American Chinese voice interchange with ease.This book addresses mother-daughter relations and the complexes feelings involved. Ruthie is the daughter most of us are. At times, our mom's are not making any sense to us, other times we are just fitting them into our busy lives, while we trying to be mothers to our kids. I love reading books about historical Chinese culture, like Snow Flower and The Secret Fan and The Concubine Saga. This book mixes the past with the present of the women in one family. From generation to generation the reader gets to see why things are the the way they are in one family. Why does Ruthie's mom think she going to be punished? I like the way Amy Tan makes the sequence of events follow so easily in this book. You can see the cause and effect in each chapter.The only reason I am taking a star away, is this book did not have me hooked like her other book Saving Fish From Drowning. Was I missing something? I think it was just the slow start in the beginning. It gets me every time. Overall, a good read.

  • Stacy
    2019-06-02 02:57

    Ruth is part of the sandwich generation, trying to balance her live-in boyfriend and his daughters along with her increasingly more forgetful mother and a demanding job.This was my first Amy Tan book and I found it to be riveting. I found Ruth's story much easier to follow. LuLung had a really difficult life and I found myself depressed.

  • Katje
    2019-06-07 20:24

    Just finished Amy Tan's "The Bonesetter's Daughter." I enjoyed the book for the most part... it felt like her other stories did, a glimpse into a culture radically different from my own, yet wrestling with some similar issues I've grappled with in my own life.The last few pages, though... just drove me insane. This gal is dealing with her elderly Alzheimer-stricken mother with a $750/mo. Social Security income, her insecure boyfriend and his two whiny teenage daughters, losing her confidence in her career. Then, in the last few pages, magically out of thin air, a huge trust fund appears so the elderly mother can afford the nicest assisted living facility available, a professor instantly decides the elderly mother (the one with dementia) is ideal girlfriend material, the insecure boyfriend becomes Mr. Rock overnight (and his daughters start being wonderful), her career evaporates into thin air as she becomes a novelist, and magically the old mother (who has been wandering the streets in her nightgown, remember) remembers a name she couldn't think of for decades... and the name is backed up by 100-year-old glass photographer plates that somehow survived both WWII and the Chinese cultural revolution.Oh... and eight years into her Alzheimer's, the old mom rings up her daughter and apologizes for what she did to her as a little girl (she can't remember WHAT she did, only that she's supposed to apologize)... the one single thing so many women of my generation long for from their mothers (and in my experience, never ever receive), an acknowledgment of inflicted pain and a request for forgiveness.The absolutely impossible events laid out here just totally destroyed the rest of the entire book for me. The reality for families dealing with dementia is poverty, hurt feelings, loneliness, stress, and (possibly worst of all) unfinished business... the kind that will never, ever be resolved because the people they once knew have dissolved underneath the plaque of the destroyed brains.I felt insulted by the resolution of this book. I can tell it was meant to be heart-warming, satisfying, and hopeful to others in similar positions, but it would be cruel false hope built of wishful thinking and thin air.I think I'm done with Amy Tan.

  • Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
    2019-05-21 21:24

    Amy Tan has a way of getting inside mother daughter relationships that is startling. All of her novels explore the bond at both its best and worst. Part of what makes her stories so interesting is the clash of culture and of generational change which is so different to my own. The Bonesetters Daughter is probably the darkest of her novels, despite the (too) neat ending. The stories of the women are fascinating, though I had a hard time liking Ruth much which is probably unfair, I know all too well how difficult mother daughter relationships can be.It is the type of book that makes you want to ring your mother or grandmother and ask questions about their life that you hadn't thought to ever ask.

  • Marcela
    2019-06-03 03:11

    2.5 STARSThis is my second book by Amy Tan after The Joy Luck Club. I thoroughly enjoyed reading TJLC, so I was really looking forward to reading this book. The Bonesetter's Daughter is told from two points of view: Ruth, a first-generation Chinese-American working in San Francisco as a ghost writer, and her mother LuLing growing up in China and how she moved to America. I enjoyed reading the first part of the book and was quickly hooked with Ruth's story. However, it all went downhill when the story switched to LuLing's point of view and how she told the story of her childhood in China, her precious Auntie, and other events that transpired. I normally enjoy everything that has to do with historical fiction and learning more about different cultures. Unfortunately, I found this part beyond tedious to the point that finishing this book started to feel like a chore. I even considered giving up on this book, but after investing so much time on it I just decided to "power through." The ending was a bit better as the story goes back to Ruth and puts all the pieces together giving the reader a clear meaning of this book. Overall, it had a great beginning and a good ending, but I would not recommend this book because of LuLing's part in the middle. These were my favorite quotes:”What is the past but what we choose to remember?””A mother is always the beginning. She is how things begin.””You should think about your character. Know where you are changing, how you will be changed, what cannot be changed back again.”

  • Anne
    2019-06-12 22:22

    3.5/5 STARSHonestly, this book was not what I expected. Going into it i had my hopes set along the lines of a tale like Memoirs of a Geisha. I won't say I'm disappointed, but I'm definitely not entranced, or enamored of this. In some ways, both books are similar and yet in other ways they are separated by gapping differences. I'm glad I went into this without proper enlightenment of it's content, otherwise I would have been reluctant to read it.The story is recounted in voices of a mother and daughter who are American citizens, but of Chinese decent. Ruth, the daughter, is a 46 year old woman in search of her true herself. Her mother, LuLing, is superstitious and burdened by the weight of a past-life in her small village in China. These two women are descendants of a famous "Bonesetter". We, as well as Ruth, learn of her heritage and secrets of her ancestry through memories relayed to her by her mother in written pages of a journal.WHAT DO I THINK?I do adore this book. I really love how the strenuous character of a mother-daughter relationship is portrayed. And with the mix-in of a little bit of filial affection, filial duty and devotion--this book would have been perfect.Themes featured: Chinese culture, family, ancestry and genealogy, heritage and legacy, ghosts, curses and superstitions, love, self discovery and guilt.

  • Donna
    2019-06-17 21:56

    3.5 starsI have always liked Amy Tan's novels. A common theme for her is tension in the mother-daughter relationship. I don't mean this in a volatile way. Her stories are usually stretched around love and understanding, and then forgiveness. In this novel, it seemed that with the strict Asian culture and then with the Americanized child, there seems to be a rift that needs to be bridged. And the author does that beautifully.Her stories aren't fast paced, but, for me, they do evoke feelings of compassion. I feel the author knows that many of us haven't escaped childhood without some sort of invisible scars, then with that as a kick-off point, she proceeds to tell a story of tradition, kindness, tough love, forgiveness, compassion, change and above all, understanding.

  • Katie
    2019-06-19 23:09

    I'm so glad I listened to this one, it made my heart happy. I have a weak spot for mother-daughter (and sisters) stories. I especially loved the parts about LuLing's childhood in China.

  • Kristie
    2019-05-20 21:24

    This is the first Amy Tan book I've read and it won't be the last. Loved it.

  • Ivana Books Are Magic
    2019-06-05 02:20

    Having already read two novels by Amy Tam, I was pretty certain that I knew what I was getting myself into. What did I expect? Well, basically a story about an estranged (Chinese) mother and a (Chinese American) daughter trying to fix their relationship, all narrated from a strictly feminine point of view. Surely enough, the opening chapter titled ‘truth’ delivered what I was expecting. It was written from a perspective of LuLing Liu Young, mother to Luyi Young (her American name is Ruth) and a widow to Kai Jing and Edwin Young. The second chapter introduced the character of daughter Luyi/Ruth Young. The writer while introducing us with Ruth’s life, reveals to the reader that this introductory chapter is actually a beginning of long letter of sort (this long letter can also be seen as an autobiography, a retelling of her mother’s life in her own words) directed to her. LuLing Liu has written this letter in Chinese but Luyi/Ruth, not knowing to read the characters well, is not able to make much progress. When the novel opens, Luyi/Ruth has pretty much given up on the effort to read it any time soon and she feels very guilty about it.This second chapter is written in third person view but it follows Ruth (Chinese name Luyi) and this is in fact the beginning to the first part of the book. Luyi/Ruth narrative takes a rather long time, the writer starts of by telling us about Ruth’s present work and private life. After becoming increasingly worried for her mother, Ruth (Liyu) moves on to examine her past, until it is time for us to move to the second part of the book and read her mother’s (i.e Lung Ling Liu’s) life story. Part two is basically the letter LuLing Liu gave to her daughter. It is also worth noting that part two only starts about half way through the book (page 153 in my edition) but it includes both the story of LuLing and her mother (the grandmother of Ruth). The third part of the book is not very long (it starts on page 299), it takes only a few chapters including the epilogue. The epilogue is quite short, lasting only two and a half pages (in my edition pages 351- 353). Those who have read The Kitchen’s God Wife will notice that the narrative structure and the plot are pretty much the same. We get three stories favouring the maternal side of the family (grandmother, mother, and daughter) through the eyes of two characters (mother and daughter).Firstly, I’d like to say a few words about Ruth’s part of the story. At start I really liked her character. Even if the writing is from third person point of view, we are privy to Ruth’s thoughts, so it is like she is written her narrative voice. Ruth’s reflections on life, both on her personal and private life were very interesting. For instance, Ruth’s job is very interesting, being somewhat hard to define, we can call Ruth a book doctor, a ghost writer, a book collaborator or a very diligent editor (one that does writing as well) and I enjoyed learning more about this women that seems to handle it all. Ruth character and her present life really got my interest. What follows next is that Ruth relationship with Art (her partner) and Art’s daughters (he is divorced with children) is put under some strain by her troubled relationship with her mother. Suddenly, Ruth starts questioning everything.However, by the time Ruth started noticing that something was wrong with her mother LuLing Liu, I became increasingly annoyed with Ruth. I mean how blind can you be? Ruth as a character stopped to hold my interest long before she started revealing her own life story. You see, Ruth seems to take forever to figure out her mother has dementia and even when it finally gets to her, Ruth waits until forever to do something about it. I kept wondering when will finally be the time for ‘her mother’s story’ because I couldn’t wait for Ruth’s story to end. Considering the fact that the narration follows Ruth most of the book, this was obviously a problem. Not long into the novel, Ruth gives into self-piety and at times it makes reading far somewhat tiresome. Perhaps it was meant to show how Ruth is evaluating her life, but if it was supposed to show us a bit of soul-searching, it wasn’t written that well. Besides feeling sorry for herself, Ruth starts to feel guilty all the time, seems to let everyone step over her, figures out it might not be the best thing to do, but does nothing about it. I kept getting more and more frustrated with her so despite the fact that I had initially liked this character, by the time Ruth travelled to her childhood and shared it with me as a reader, I wasn’t that interested. Secondly, let me elaborate on the second part of the book for this is a part that I really liked. I think that the story about ‘the bonesetter’s daughter’ had tons of potential. I just loved the concept behind the story. Was the potential realized? Some of it was realized in the course of LuLing Liu’s narrative but not fully. At times, the narrative seemed hurried and the writing lacked beauty. At start the writing is fluent and LuLing speaks clearly ( as it is supposed to be a translation from Mandarin, hence no need for the mother to talk in broken English) but soon the sentences become too simple, leaving the narrative neither here nor there, if you know what I mean. I wouldn’t criticize Tan for making LuLing Liu speak in broken English in the first part ( but I wish she explained it better), but the writer should have been more consistent in the second part. Speaking of all that, why is LuLing Liu’s English so bad? Is it because it is her way of preserving her culture and not becoming assimilated into American culture? If that is the reason I understand, it is not uncommon practice among immigrants but we as readers need some kind of explanation, especially as Ruth seems to hind that her mother’s bad English might have something to do with one particular accident (why was that accident never explained fully)?There were also some small things, details and inconsistences that bothered me. For example, have you noticed how Chinese husbands in Amy Tan’s novels are always villains or they die tragically early in the marriage? In addition, there is this family that leaves a lot of money as inheritance after it was noted several times that they don’t have any money left (first they lost it all and then when the communists arrive they are actually happy they don’t have anything because it would have been taken away from them- historical context and all that). Heroines always have to search for salvations by themselves- which would be commendable if it was more credibly described. Nevertheless, I enjoyed part two of the book a lot more than part one. I enjoyed reading about LuLing Liu’s growing up and her life up to coming to USA. The poetical way Chinese calligraphy was describes was an absolute treat. As someone who paints, I enjoyed those parts immensely. Moreover, reading about her mother was equally if not even more interesting. There were some great minor characters here, well portrayed even if they didn’t take too much space, for example sister Yu.Still, while I was reading, I couldn’t shake off the feeling of déjà vu. Now, I don’t mind that Amy Tan’s writing clearly follows a pattern (a mother- daughter relationship gets better once the secrets are out), but this novel resembles The Kitchen’s God Wife so strongly it felt like plagiarism. I would have been tempted to call it plagiarism, if it wasn’t written by the same author. The pattern itself is not a problem, it is more that the story didn’t flow the way it was supposed to and the characters didn’t realize their potential. I don’t mind similar characters and repeated plots, as long as the novel takes on a life of its own and in my view this one failed to do that.Many authors have a writing pattern, take Isabel Allende for example, her novels always feature a young intelligent heroine growing up and falling in love in a politically unstable Latin country. Now, that I think of it, there are quite a few similarities between Isabel Allende and Amy Tan. Both of them are immigrants living in USA, both of them write in English about events that often take place in foreign (non- English speaking) countries so there is always that aura of translation in their works. We feel like these authors are translating their culture to us and this add another dimension to their ‘magic realism’. With Allende, my enthusiasm died a little after I had read several of her novels, and while it might have been because of the ‘pattern’, I don’t recall ever being bored, and I was definitely bored, at least at times, while I was reading this novel.On overall, I think this novel is too long and could benefit from either being 150 pages shorter or having certain parts rewritten. The first part of the book in particular seemed to drag on. There are a lot of irrelevant episodes that could have been left out and nobody would miss them so much. Some parts of the narrative seemed to drag forever, while some important events were completely ignored and only mentioned in passing. There were events and characters I wanted to know more about (a bit more about Ruth’s father, please, he is hardly mentioned) but the author just breezed over them. In contrast, there were things that were repeated over and over again. For most part, the writing in this one felt rushed and uneven. It wasn’t polished at all. There is only one truly beautiful passage and that is when first husband of LuLing Liu courts her by telling her a story about different levels of beauty in art. That philosophical conversation that revealed they were in love without even mentioning the word love, well that episode was extremely romantic.Do you know that feeling when you’re reading a book and you can sense everything that is going to happen? This novel in particular seems to promise a lot of secrets but you can honestly figure it all out in the very first chapter. At least I could, maybe because I read two of Tan’s other novels prior to this so I’m not excluding the possibility that to some reader this book will truly be filled with secrets to unravel. But to me, this novel felt repetitive. At times, neither the myth nor the magic realism manages to salvage it for me. I enjoyed reading about Chinese’s folklore, but somehow even that felt like something I read before (perhaps in other Amy Tan’s books). Another thing I didn’t like was the ending. I thought it was unrealistic, inconsistent with the portrayal of characters and naïve. Had it been the first book by Amy Tam that I have read, I’m sure that I would have had enjoyed it more, this way it felt a bit slow and repetitive. Nevertheless, I’m glad that I’ve read it. Told from a feminine point of review, this maternal family saga does have its perks. I enjoyed some parts of this book more than others, but on overall I did like it. Some of its characters are truly memorable and some of its passages quite beautiful. As I already said, I particularly liked the description of Chinese calligraphy and the philosophy behind it. I think it is something that any lover of art might enjoy. To sum up, this is a lovely maternal family saga.