Becca Anderson, author of Badass Women Give the Best Advice, has written a blog post on the life and career of author Amy Tan.
Amy Tan grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, the daughter of Chinese immigrant parents; she lived in a dozen different homes before graduating from high school. After her older brother and father both died of brain cancer, her mother, who feared the family was jinxed, moved them to Europe, finally settling in Montreaux, Switzerland. Despite experiencing a number of hair- raising teenage escapades, Amy still managed to complete high school one year early.
Back in the US, Amy attended a succession of colleges, finally earning a BA and then a MA in linguistics from San Jose State University. After college, she worked at county and federal jobs serving developmentally disabled children under six years old. In 1983, she started doing freelance technical writing
for companies like AT&T and IBM but soon decided to try writing fiction.
She honed that skill via the Squaw Valley Community of Writers and in a writers’ group led by author and writing teacher Molly Giles. Her first work was published in 1986, then reprinted by Seventeen magazine and Grazia. Though literary agent Sandra Dijkstra offered to represent her, Amy was not yet committed to a fiction-writing career.
In 1987, after returning from a visit to China with her mother, Tan discovered that she’d received offers to publish a book of short stories about Chinese immigrants, based on three that she’d already written. This resulted in The Joy Luck Club (1989), which remained on the New York Times bestseller list for over nine months. She hit the bestseller list again with her novels The Kitchen God’s Wife (1991), The Hundred Secret Senses (1995), The Bonesetter’s Daughter (2001), Saving Fish from Drowning (2005), and The Valley of Amazement (2013). She was coproducer and coscreenwriter for the highly successful 1993 film adaptation of The Joy Luck Club, and she wrote the libretto for the operatic version of The Bonesetter’s Daughter. Her other works include two illustrated children’s books, The Moon Lady (1992) and Sagwa and The Chinese Siamese Cat (1994), and two memoirs, The Opposite of Fate: A Book of Musings (2003) and Where the Past Begins: A Writer’s Memoir (2017). Amy Tan lives in New York and California with her husband and their two dogs.
Everything You Need to Know About Love and Life
Advice from girl bosses of all kinds: Women are, far and away, the Oral Sex. Women’s Studies scholar Becca Anderson has gathered the wisdom from a chorus of fabulous femmes for this one-of-a-kind advice book. From housewives to Hollywood starlets, from standup comedians to startup entrepreneurs, these badass women offer unvarnished and unabashed opinions and share their frank and forthright thinking on the wild world of relationships.