First, I think one needs to be aware that the book tells the story of three sets of mothers and daughters as individual accounts in first person. Each individual chapter was more or less presented as a stand-alone story. I could not integrate the stories and make them into a whole. I found it hard to connect mother and daughter pairs, and that frustrated me a little.
Having said this, each individual chapter/story is wonderful in its insights into inter-generational tension that is based not only on culture but also on the age-old issues between mothers and daughters. Each woman experiences great struggles and life changes, and it is easy to either identify directly with them or to be fascinated by their exotic circumstances. In addition, it paints a lively picture of Chinese American life in particular. If you have had any contact with it, particularly in San Francisco, you will take from this book a much deeper understanding of Chinese Americans' experience, and it may just explain some things you always wondered about. Read this book as a loosely connected set of short stories, and you will enjoy it.