Ruth Young does not get on well with her elderly mother LuLing. Growing up, sometimes she was secretly ashamed of her old-fashioned mother who made her feel different from other kids. Even as an adult, they constantly disagree about the simplest of things. When her mother starts ailing and forgetting things, the relationship becomes more strained. LuLing tries hard to communicate with her daughter by telling Ruth about her own story and how she came to America. She feels that through this story, filled with sadness and tragedy, can Ruth finally understand who she really is. In a race against time and the disease that will claim her memories forever, unfolds a story of family, sacrifice and love.
What I liked about this book
Actually, half-way through the first page I realized that I had read this book before. I went through an Amy Tan phase a few years back and happened to be living in a house that had a lot of Amy Tan books for me to borrow. I kept on reading though, because I could not recall what happened in the book which says a lot about how memorable the book was (not). Don't get me wrong, this book was a pleasant read (both the first time round and this time), especially the stories involving Precious Aunty and LuLing growing up in China. However, Ruth was not a character I could connect with in the book.
What I disliked about this book
Unlike The Joy Luck Club, this book did not enthrall or captivate me. It was an average read but felt slightly bland in parts. Some of the chapters were good but wading through the others was akin to looking for the fruit cocktail in bowls of custard.
A quote I liked from this book
"A daughter should have no secrets from a mother."