The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan

bonesetters-daughterRuth 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.

“A person should consider how things begin. A particular beginning results in a particular end.” (pg. 159)

For the first half of Tan’s novel, I kept wondering about LuLing’s story. It’s quietly possibly the best part about this novel. I enjoyed Ruth’s own addition to the story and it helped me understand the secrecy that surrounded her all her life, but I wasn’t all that interested in Ruth’s life set in the present. I muddled through the details about her relationships with her boyfriend, Art, whom she lives with, Art’s daughters, Dory and Fia, and her aunt, although I understand the part they placed in the story.

“As the years go on, I see how much family means. It reminds us of what’s important. That connection to the past. The same jokes about being Young yet getting old. The traditions. The fact that we can’t get rid of each other no matter how much we try. We’re stuck through the ages, with the bonds cemented by stick rice and tapioca pudding.” (pg. 93)

Personally, LuLing and Precious Auntie had the most interesting story and relationship. The story unfolded in such suspense that I was convinced that it would fall short of my expectations, but Tan did not disappoint. For the most part, The Bonesetter’s Daughter is very well-written and interesting, but the epilogue was too happily-ever-after. Everything was tied up in such a way that was completely contradictory with the tone of the book.

Others’ Thoughts:

Book Mentioned:

  • Tan, Amy. The Bonesetter’s Daughter. New York: Ballantine Books, 2003. Originally published 2001. Print. 368 pgs. ISBN: 9780345457370. Source: Purchased.
Book Cover © Ballantine Books. Retrieved: January 7, 2009.

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