Every writer from William Shakespeare to Harlan Coben, John Grisham to everyone else, has his own style. For Amy Tan, she is probably the most popular when it comes to mother-daughter relationships. Tan is a writer who has received much praise for her works, although she has also been criticized for what has been claimed to be racial stereotype towards the Chinese culture. She has released a good number of books through the years including novels, short stories, non-fiction, and children’s work.

Amy Tan Biography

It was on February 19, 1952, that Amy Tan was born to John and Daisy Tan both of whom were Chinese immigrants. She was brought up alongside her two siblings – an older one and one who was younger. Her father who was a Baptist minister, as well as an electrical engineer, made it to the States in order to escape the Chinese Civil war.

When she was fifteen, her family suffered the tragedy of the loss of her father and brother. The two of them died in a space of six months from brain tumors. Following the tragedy, she moved with her mother and brother to Switzerland where she continued growing up. Before moving, she had started her high school education at Marian A. Peterson High School in Sunnyvale where she spent only a year before she moved to the Institut Monte Rosa, Montreux from where she graduated.

She went to Baptist College which was the institution that her mother had wanted for her and moved to San Jose City College in California together with a boyfriend she met on a blind date. Interestingly enough, he was the man she would later get married to. Amy got her bachelor’s degree as well as her masters from the college.

Amy Tan Books

Tan has written a few books in the past since the publication of her first work, Fish Cheeks which is a short story collection in 1987. Some of her other works include the following:

1. The Joy Luck Club (1989)

This novel tells the story of a club started by four Chinese American families that have migrated to the United States named The Joy Luck Club. The club sees the Chinese play the mahjong game for money. Most importantly, like almost all her works, it centers on the relationships between the different mothers and their daughters in the San Francisco community that it is set.

The novel has been adapted into a film of the same name. It was directed by Wayne Wang.

2. The Kitchen God’s Wife (1991)

This is one of Amy Tan’s most commercially successful works. Even though it is mostly a work of fiction, it is referred to as an autobiographical work in some ways. It is mostly drawn from the life of her mother and it centers on the relationship existing between a Chinese mother who has immigrated to the US and her daughter.

3. Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat (book)

This is one of the two children’s books written by Tan. It tells the story of a kitten that changes the fate of Chinese cats and their appearance forever, as well as that of China.

4. The Opposite of Fate: A Book of Musings (2003)

In this memoir, Amy Tan has successfully collected a number of essays and other writings which are all centered on her life as well as her family life. The collection has won various awards including the Audie Award for Best Nonfiction in 2004 as well as Booklist Editors’ Choice.

Facts About The Author

Amy Tan
Amy Tan, her parents, and siblings (Image Source)

1. She did not have the best of relationships with her mother: Amy Tan and her mother did not have what one could call a good relationship so much that at a point, her mother had a knife to her neck threatening to kill her over a disagreement they had as a result of a boyfriend Amy had.

2. Her grandmother committed suicide: When she was a young girl, Amy’s mother, Daisy would always threaten that she would kill herself so as she could join her own mother who had also committed suicide. Daisy attempted suicide but failed and then in 1999, she died.

3. She had half-siblings: After moving to Switzerland with her mother, Tan made a shocking discovery that she had half-siblings who were birthed to her mother in a previous marriage that was not known to Amy.

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4. Tan Amy is a married woman: In 1974, she got married to Lou DeMattei with whom she lives in San Francisco, California. Many years since they got married, they are still yet to have any kids because she doesn’t want to have children. This is as she feels she might pass on mental issues to them, something that both her mother and grandmother have suffered from. She also has suffered from depression.

5. Her roommate was murdered when she was in college: Amy’s roommate was killed when she was in college and she was the one who identified the body. This would continue to affect her for many years that followed.

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