The book, The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan is a short story book. Each individual story is told from a different viewpoint of each of the seven characters: three (1) migrant Chinese mothers, and their four American-Chinese daughters.
The book has a mother-daughterly, familial theme. More specifically, it focuses on the issue of cultural clash between the Americanised daughters and their still-traditional, Chinese mothers.
Amy Tan does this by presenting the conflicting views and stories of both sides, providing the reader (and, ultimately, the characters) with an understanding of the mentalities of both mother and daughter - and why each one is the way she is.
Although The Joy Luck Club is a short story book, the individual stories relate to each other and correlate to express this issue. The stories are grouped into four sections: (generally) two devoted to the mothers and two to the daughters. Each section has a title of its own and is 'introduced' by a brief excerpt which carries a theme parallel to the ones explored by the stories that follow.
Amy Tan presents this issue of cross-cultural mother-daughter relationships by examining the various aspects of the issue - for instance, the similarity in the natures of mother and daughter, communication breakdowns, the effect external aspects have on the relationship, and what happened in the lives of the mothers that moulded their personalities and ideals.
Each of the four sections of the book is dedicated to one of these aspects and together, they explore this grand issue and tell a larger tale of its own.
The book sets off with the untimely death of Jing-mei Woo's mother, who founded the Joy Luck Club and died with unfinished businesses - the knowledge that her two daughters (whom she'd abandoned as infants while escaping from China)...