The Joy Luck Club – Not much joy, little luck

One of my classes requires me to read The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan.  My first thought after reading it – Ugh, this is boring.

The Joy Luck Club is a story of four mothers and their four daughters.  The mothers were all born in China but moved to San Francisco.  They hope their daughters will have a better life in America and want to raise them with American options but Chinese heritage.  My main problem with this book is that each chapter is from a different person’s perspective, which is not necessarily a bad thing.  In this book however, it causes the flow to be choppy and it takes a long time to get to know and understand the characters.

As a whole, the stories are all interesting but it feels as though you are reading a different book each time a new chapter is started.  Sometimes the details are unbearably mundane and made me lose interest quickly.  The main plot is the mothers expectations of their daughters and the daughters feeling as though they will never live up to those expectations. One story is a bit different since the mother has died and her story is told from her daughter’s perspective.

I think if the book would have concentrated on one mother/daughter storyline it would have been a much more compelling read.   As it stand, this book is one that I could have lived without reading.

Football vs. Football

Football vs. Football?  The second football refers to soccer.  I’m  a fan of both, but my interest in soccer has been taking precedence over football the past few years.  I’m getting less and less tolerant of the slow pace of football and can’t stand how a player who has one good game is instantly and forever a hall of famer.

In my morning class today we had to pair up with someone we didn’t know and interview each other in order to introduce the other to the class.  I interviewed a really cool girl who was originally from Albania and has lived in the states for about eight years.  One of the questions asked was “one thing that makes you unique that we’d remember about you.”  My eventual answer was I’m a big soccer fan.  Being a soccer fan in the states is hard.  For some reason American’s just don’t get the appeal of soccer.  This got us talking about what I liked about it, and one of the main reasons I love soccer so much is the passion that the fans have for the game.  American football definitely has its passionate fans, but soccer is different – soccer is in a person’s soul.  Soccer can be the life blood of some countries.  Didier Drogba, an player from the Ivory Coast who had great success on the EPL team of Chelsea, made a successful plea for peace when his country qualified for the 2006 World Cup, resulting in the first cease-fire after five years of civil war.  How can you deny the power of soccer when a country will stop fighting just for the World Cup?

My love for soccer has grown over the years.  I started out watching the international competitions.  The excitement of watching a country fight for a win was addictive.  I then started watching the English Premier League – considered to be one of the best soccer leagues in the world.  I love hearing the fans sing their team’s songs and the passion behind it was riveting.  I also love the constant action of soccer – two 45 minute halves with no time outs.  Yes there is stoppage time, there are times when players pretend a hit on the leg was worse than it seemed, and there are the habitual divers which drive you mad.  But the passion of the game is something that is undeniable, even through a T.V. screen.  About four years ago my husband and I were in England for a vacation and visiting a friend.  The 2010 World Cup was going on at the time and being in a county where soccer is loved was such a good feeling.  Being able to go to a pub and have the game on – and no was talking during the game! – was incredible.  Such a different experience from watching football here in the states where I avoid going to bars to watch a game since there is so much noise to distract you.

I’ll still watch American football – Green Bay being my favorite team since I’m a Wisconsinite – but soccer is my preferred version of football to watch.  Here’s to hoping the US can manage a win this Tuesday and qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil!  What are your thoughts on soccer?  Ever been to an international game?