The Kitchen God’s Wife by Amy Tan

Amy Tan’s first novel, The Joy Luck Club, was a resounding success, but I liked this, herkitchen gods wife second novel, even better.  It’s based on the life of her mother, who criticized it with such statements as, “I never knew a person with that name,” and “I never went to that place.”  And her mother was correct, since this is fiction, not biography.  However, the story follows the basic outlines of Amy Tan’s mother’s life: abandonment at the age of six, when her mother disappeared and her father sent her to live with her uncle and aunts, marriage to an abusive husband, and, at last, a loving second marriage.  The Kitchen God’s Wife gives a glimpse of life in China before, during, and immediately after World War II.  You’ll be turning pages as you cheer for the main character every step of the way!

The character based on Amy’s mother is called Winnie, and her first husband is named Wen Fu.  In real life, Amy’s mother never told Amy this cruel man’s name, calling him only “that bad man.”

(Helen Snow, retired from Information Services)

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