Review of 'The Opposite of Fate'

The Opposite of Fate by Amy Tan

the_opposite_of_fate.jpg Amy Tan is the author of a number of bestselling books including “The Joy Luck Club” and “The Kitchen God's Wife”. In “The Opposite of Fate” she has put together various pieces of work from the speech she gave as a child that won an award (“What the Library Means to Me”) all the way to various submissions to conferences and newspapers. The topics cover, as might be expected, her writing, her family and her thoughts on an assortment of topics. The book consists of a number of themed chapters into which these pieces are placed that roughly describe their contents.

As might be expected with such a book I found that often the material overlaps here with her telling the same anecdotes again and again (particularly about her mother and some of the events in her life) which I did find slightly annoying but Tan does write well. The details of her thinking process and morals are spread out for the reader to take or leave: She makes no apologies.

There were often articles that I found ended just as they got interesting, in particular one where she talked about her trip to China to see her relatives where the intriguing detail is cut off after only one day. Another where she describes the filming of the movie version of “The Joy Luck Club” in amazing detail up to the point when filming starts at which point, filming all the way up to seeing the rough cut is summarised in four sentences – With her involvement in the process as producer it would have been interesting to have heard more of the actual filming itself but here we are left wanting.

I did find the title of the book “The Opposite of Fate” quite intriguing and fate is actually a reoccurring theme throughout – Was it fate or an intentional set of actions that brought about her life and the books she has written? Tan argues that it was the later though her mother would (strenuously) disagree.

I would suggest this book strongly to anyone familiar with Amy Tan's work but would not suggest it to anyone else (even here I had to reach back into my distant memory to recall some of the details of her other books to be able to relate to what was being said). Even being familiar I found it fairly slow to get through despite her prose being very easy to read.

Rating: “It is OK but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2015-03-25

Genre: Autobiography

Publisher: Harper Perennial

Publication Date: 2003

Other reviewed books by Amy Tan: