The first book I’ve read and decided to write on is “The Bonesetter’s Daughter,” by Amy Tan.
I really wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into here. I literally went looking for “Memoirs of a Geisha,” a book that I’ve already read, but would like to analyze and I couldn’t find it anywhere in my apartment. So, while rushing out to work I saw “The Bonesetter’s Daughter,” and grabbed it thinking it would be a decent, light read.
I was wrong.
The story started out light enough. We’re introduced to Ruth, the main character in the story, and we get to see what her life is like as a ghostwriter in San Francisco. To me I found her story to be a bit bland, but I can say I’m quite certain Amy Tan meant for the reader to simply understand Ruth. There was nothing “amazing” or “special” about her which makes it easy for the reader to identify with her.
It also makes a good path for the story to follow. Of course the story doesn’t stop at Ruth. We’re introduced to her mother and it’s clear, almost immediately that she’s going to have her time in the limelight…and she does.
Now, in an attempt to avoid spoiling what maybe one of the more masterfully structured story lines I’ve read, I won’t go into detail. I will say that Amy managed to express so much, so simply that it really seems Effortless. (Read the book and that will seem semi-clever)
It’s because of this that I was wrong. “The Bonesetter’s Daughter,” is not a
decent, light read. It is a very good light read. I recommend it to anyone who wants a glimpse into a different type of family dynamic. One in which we see relationships between mothers and their daughters and how no matter what those relationships are like they all have love.
I can only hope that I can one day get my message across in the same effortless manner.
– What Will I Take From This –
I noticed that Amy does a wonderful job of expressing the internal self. (Something I’ll need to master for at least two of my literary projects.) You know not only what the character is thinking, but what they feel while they have their thoughts. I think this is important for properly portraying your characters. They are people, and I want my readers to know this.
I also feel that it helps with character development. When I originally read the story I admit, kind of hated Ruth. She’s the sort of self-centered I don’t understand. Ruth, to me, is ripe with complaints and misunderstandings; (problems that we all have) but never seems willing to openly approach the issue. Luckily Amy Tan does so well with her character’s inner self the character development is apparent and feels natural. I love that.
So from this story I note: To keep my characters as natural as possible. The story is important, but the characters make it so. I’ll remember that they’re people.