Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Bonesetter's Daughter book review

My rating = 4 stars

The Bonesetter's Daughter tells the story of Ruth, a ghostwriter living in San Francisco, and her mother LuLing, who is beginning to show signs of dementia and Alzheimers. Ruth's relationship with her mother has always been strained, and she goes through some soul searching to discover what she herself really wants and needs in life. At the same time, Ruth deals with feelings of guilt and failure as she tries to come to grips with the reality of her mother's dementia.

As Ruth is going through her mother's belongings, she comes across a manuscript LuLing wrote in Chinese, which tells the story of her childhood with "Precious Auntie", her nursemaid, during the prewar days of China in the early 1900s. As Ruth reads her mother's story, she comes to understand LuLing better, strengthening their relationship, and learning about herself as well.

I enjoy reading Amy Tan, although I have to be in the right mood for her. All her books have some heart-wrenching, cry-my-eyes-out moments, and I have to be psyched up for it. This book was a little tamer in terms of drama, but still a wonderful story. Amy Tan often focuses on mother/daughter relationships, their histories, and the effects of those relationships on future decendants. This book uses that same formula, and also discusses with a lot of tenderness what a daughter's duty is towards her mother when the mother cannot take care of herself.

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