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29 August 2018 @ 04:33 pm
The Valley of AmazementThe Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When I finished this book, I did two things that I rarely do:

(1) I gave a rating of 3 stars, even though the story was gripping and satisfying (although the ending, as far as I'm concerned, fell flat, almost akin to the ending of the movie, Bettlejuice. It felt almost as, after writing this book for over 8 years, Amy Tan was sick of it and just ended it.)

(2) I rarely write a review. I enjoy reading and then go onto the next book once finished the previous book. This time, I'll made an exception.

I fell in love with Amy Tan's writing when I read Joy Luck Club and The Kitchen God's Wife. The stories were so good and the readers were able to learn about Chinese culture, superstitions, and way of thinking. The Valley of Amazement followed the same pattern: a good story line, an inside view of early 20th Century Chinese culture. But, unlike her other stories, this book is not safe to be assigned as a reading assignment in schools.

The Valley of Amazement is the story of Chinese women who were Chinese courtesans and how they wound up in that type of profession. It is also about motherly love and how some cope when feeling abandoned by their mothers. I think it would've been a great book that could have initiated lots of great discussions and dialogues in an English class. Unfortunately, Ms. Tan decided to include numerous (lame) erotic scenes with numerous vulgar expressions. I believe the same story could've have been told without vulgarity.

I'm not a prude. I've read my share of erotic novels. But in those stories, the plots are not the prominent part, the sex is. On the Valley of Amazement, I felt that the sex was actually an annoying distraction to the author's story.

I don't like to tell author's how their stories should be written, but I found that Ms. Tan missed having her book being a good teaching tools in schools.

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