Sunday, January 22, 2006

Book Review: The Opposite of Fate by Amy Tan

I can't believe I forgot to mention in my other post that I also finished my book last night. Since I'm so busy, this'll be brief.

I've been a fan of Amy Tan's writing for a long time. There is just something true and resonant in the stories she tells and the language she chooses. However, her fiction books do tend to run together in my head.

I was very interested in this book when I first saw it come out. It's non-fiction but isn't her autobiography. It's a collection of writings and musings about life in general.

The first thing that struck me is that her voice is very much as strong in her non-fiction as it is in her novels. Also, she bases a lot of her fiction work on her actual life. And wow! She's had an interesting and eventful life. Makes mine seem dull in comparison!

Since I am interested in writing my own books, I found her comments and descriptions of her writing process, and how she became an author very interesting and inspirational to read. She only wrote her first book when she was well into her 30's. So, I still have lots of time to become rich and famous!

I found her perspective interesting and thought-provoking. Some of the stories repeated the same details, because they were not all written specifically for this book. Some are emails to people, speeches, journal entries, etc.

Finishing the book I feel a bit dissatisfied with the ending. It's ironic since she comments in the last piece about how she has the power to write a better ending if she chooses so. I think the problem I had with it is that it demonstrates that she is very much an American author. With the recent events in America, her story touched on the attack on the Twin Towers that caused them to collapse and the legacy that has left for Americans. While I am very sympathetic to what happened (and how could anyone not be touched by the innocent deaths in that attack) it just didn't seem to work for me. The title piece also had to do with her struggle with Lyme disease. Maybe it'll take another read through for me to feel the connection and work it together with the rest of the book, but after the first read, I wish she had written a better ending.

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