I’m different and that’s okay

February 13, 2010 § Leave a comment


Before Amy Tan’s Joy Luck Club, my idea of the Chinese was that they were a race of Shaolin fighting cooks. And that’s not derogatory in any way. I used to get up early on Saturdays to watch this tiny Chinese woman make delicious food from what was seemingly anything she could find in her kitchen. And an hour after that, Stephen Yan would come through his sliding paper doors to cheerfully say, “Herrooooooooooo, today I cook for you . . . ” But I digress. Amy Tan’s depiction of life as a Chinese immigrant’s daughter opened up a world that was not too different from mine, except that hers was filled with characters so vividly drawn, you expect to meet them on the street somehow. I’ve been a fan ever since. I especially look out for those moments when she describes Chinese mothers. Like mine, they’re a little bit neurotic and so far removed from my world that they might as well be speaking an alien language. They shout and sometimes find no other recourse than to hit you on the head, but at the heart of it all is a mother who only wants what’s best for you and is willing to go through great lengths to get it for you.

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