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Customer Reviews for

Saving Fish from Drowning

Average Rating 3.5
( 75 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(16)

4 Star

(22)

3 Star

(12)

2 Star

(23)

1 Star

(2)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

1 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

Hi!!!

My name is lianya my bierthday is february 3, 2012 i am turning 12

posted by 18605311 on January 18, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Ok, Burma, and the title: these are the only interesting parts of the book.

I was so disappointed in this book. I liked the idea of the quirky socialite ghost as narrator, but gee what really horrid characters. Shallow, cowardly, petty, self absorbed and wealthy. Gee they really had me, not. I do believe that trips with friends can go astra...
I was so disappointed in this book. I liked the idea of the quirky socialite ghost as narrator, but gee what really horrid characters. Shallow, cowardly, petty, self absorbed and wealthy. Gee they really had me, not. I do believe that trips with friends can go astray, but geeze,
this was so contrived and far fetched and no character was anybody to care about. There is a little dog picked up along the way in China and that dog somehow never poops or barks or needs serious attention even though it is close to dying. There is an arrogant vet along, what luck.
The only clever bit is the title about a fisherman who "saves" fish from drowning by removing them from the water. They struggle at first, then lie peacefully. o gee, they are dead. Better sell them, buy a bigger net, save more fish tomorrow. no lie.
Amy, Amy, Amy, why? I loved The Joy Luck Club. I love that you play in a band with Dave Barry. I love your humor. Why this book?

posted by irlandskisoprano on February 20, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2010

    DISAPPOINTING !!!

    I agree with all the rest of the 3 and lower ratings group ... When I read the pocket and the first few pages I was captivated ! This sounded like it would be a wonderful read .... but I was soon disappointed. The book gets 2 stars for at least having a good first half. In that section there is mystery ... why was she murdered, where are the 11 missing pple ... and as you read you are dying to see and read about what really happened to them! But all to soon that part comes and the disappointment is overwhelming ! The second half of the book is filled with excessive words and stories that hold no baring, there are to many missed moments .... Like when Harry happens to miss seeing that it is the missing 11 on the tape he was given b/c she was turning down the volume. You read and read hoping for the pain (of finishing the book) to end. I only completed the book out of an obligation to myself to see it to the end. But this was a 100% disappointing novel. AMY TAN COULD DO BETTER !!!! and she does not in this book. It is a pass .... for those how have not read it .... don't waste your time, it's not worth it. This is definitely a book for the yard sale.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    Ok, Burma, and the title: these are the only interesting parts of the book.

    I was so disappointed in this book. I liked the idea of the quirky socialite ghost as narrator, but gee what really horrid characters. Shallow, cowardly, petty, self absorbed and wealthy. Gee they really had me, not. I do believe that trips with friends can go astray, but geeze,
    this was so contrived and far fetched and no character was anybody to care about. There is a little dog picked up along the way in China and that dog somehow never poops or barks or needs serious attention even though it is close to dying. There is an arrogant vet along, what luck.
    The only clever bit is the title about a fisherman who "saves" fish from drowning by removing them from the water. They struggle at first, then lie peacefully. o gee, they are dead. Better sell them, buy a bigger net, save more fish tomorrow. no lie.
    Amy, Amy, Amy, why? I loved The Joy Luck Club. I love that you play in a band with Dave Barry. I love your humor. Why this book?

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2009

    disappointing

    I am typically a fan of this author, but this book was a disappointment. It was difficult to get through. The characters were monotonous and lacked the usual development and flair. The plot had potential but got lost among the myriads of unrelated and unconnected details. A little more judicious editing might have made it a better book. It was one I kept reading thinking that it was surely going to get better. It didn't.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2012

    What Happened????

    IIn the beginning I was into the book, got to know the characters and was looking forward to another Amy Tan book. Saddly the book stayed stale for a long, long time and then just took a cliff dive. I did not finish the book, and I have read all her books.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2012

    Hi!!!

    My name is lianya my bierthday is february 3, 2012 i am turning 12

    1 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2009

    not like her usual stuff

    very disappointing

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2009

    Not your typical Amy Tan novel

    I am usually absolutely riveted by Amy Tan books. I own every book she has written. Until this one I have loved them. Her character development and story lines have always been above stellar. None of the above descriptions apply to this book. It was boring, poorly developed and far too "wordy". The author expounds on meaningless bunny trails more often than she develops her plot. I skipped entire paragraphs out of boredom. The characters were self-involved and difficult to empathize with. I do not recommend this book. If this is the only Amy Tan book you've read, I recommend you look to her previous works for a true representation of her talent.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 9, 2009

    Saving Fish from Drowing - Intriguing Main Character

    Really enjoying this book, it was selected as a book club pick. The main character is dead and follows a group of individuals on a pre-arranged tour through China and Burma as they encouter mishap after mishap. Amy Tan does a terrific job of character development for all of the characters in such a way that you as the reader can identify with the flaws and attributes of every member of the group. There are group dynamics as well which allow you to feel empathy and sympathy throughout the read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2014

    The author definite needs to stay away from the

    Multi themes and return to a plain and simple narrative too many characters weaken the structure l

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2011

    Amazing

    Typical Amy Tan..beautiful.

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  • Posted July 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I read the jacket and it sounded great! Boy, was I wrong!

    I do give kudos to Ms. Tan and her writing style for the book. It is written as the main character is a ghost looking out onto what is going on. But as the story moves along, which it does VERY SLOWLY, the characters aren't interesting or how they go through their journey. It's written like a really bad movie.
    The other pro about the book, though, is why people do the things they do and how we, as Americans, try to help. Our book club discussed this at length.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Can't find the fish ....

    The report was a terrible thing to read: "The body of Bibi Chen, 63, retail maven, socialite, and board member of the Asian Art Museum, was found yesterday in the display window of her Union Square store, The Immortals, famed for its chinoiserie .." - p 2.
    -----
    A terrible end to Bibi Chen and the strange beginning to "Saving Fish from Drowning", a novel by Amy Tan.
    -----
    Bibi Chen, a San Francisco art patron, had planned the journey of a lifetime for herself and eleven of her friends. Death was not going to deprive her of this adventure. Her incorporeal spirit accompanies her friends on a prearranged tour through China and Burma. If only her friends had followed her original itinerary, they would not have gone missing.
    -----
    The story is narrated by Bibi Chen. This is an interesting start to the novel; however, it soon becomes tedious as the character seems to drone on and on about everything. The remaining characters were very real, each having several flaws; however, they were overdeveloped to the point that one did not really care about them. Bibi's spirit interacting with the real world was not an aspect that I enjoyed. The mystical fantasy was too much for me and the story lost its' charm; however, the novel was pure Amy Tan, delving into the pot of human nature, discovering our basic insecurities and strengths, and examining our relationships with one another.
    -----
    This would not be my favorite Amy Tan novel. I prefer "The Joy Luck Club"; however, I would recommend to those who have read Ms. Tan's other novels to judge for themselves.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 13, 2009

    most hilarious

    The most hilarious story I've read in years; as good as Steven King's "The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon," or Mark Twain's "Huckleberry Fin."

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  • Posted May 25, 2009

    Saving Fish From Drowning

    On Christmas morning in Mandalay, a group of 11 American tourists go missing in Amy Tan's Saving Fish From Drowning. Bibi Chen, who mysteriously dies before the trip, (a trip in which she had planned), narrates this novel. She provides her insight on the unfortunate events that occur while her friends are traveling. Many things cause the disappearance of her friends. One disappearance is caused from the misunderstanding of cultural beliefs. Another was the language barrier between the tourists and the people of Burma. There are also relationship problems between the group members that cause tension. It is critical for them to accept these differences between each other and their captors if they ever want to escape. Saving Fish From Drowning is an adventurous novel that will keep readers prepared for the worst and question whether or not the tourists will get out of the difficult situations. It is evident that this novel is not meant to make readers smile. It starts out with Bibi's death, funeral, and then a description of her misfortunate childhood. It's unfortunate that at the end of the novel things really don't change. The answers that are sought out however, are finally answered. Saving Fish From Drowning has a great plot, but at times throughout the story things become confusing especially if the reader does not recall earlier events. Relationships between the characters are a big part of the story. Each of the characters is connected to each other in many different ways. Throughout the novel, many of these relationships fail, while others grow stronger because of the events that take place on their trip. It helps the reader when Bibi adds to her narrations about what she knows personally about the characters, such as how she met them. At times however, the reader may question if her interpretations are correct or simply her opinions. This does challenge the reader and makes the story somewhat more enjoyable. Another thing that Tan uses in her book is the thoughts of the characters. Even though they are not narrating the story their personal thoughts are thrown in so we can understand them without just Bibi's personal interpretations. The setting in this novel takes place mostly in China and Burma. The trip that Bibi planned was to show her friends where she grew up, to see the art of the area, and to learn about it culturally. However, if she was still alive when the group took the trip they would have not faced the same problems and would not have gone missing. It is easy to see that this angers Bibi, but she influences the characters even in death to fix some of the conflicts that angers her. Altogether though, Amy Tan's novel Saving Fish From Drowning is filled with many surprising turns and conflicts that at times are unpredictable and make readers curious for much more.

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  • Posted May 21, 2009

    Saving Fish from Drowning

    Amy Tan is the author of Saving Fish from Drowning. In this novel, Tan has the story being narrated from a dead character. The narrator admits in the beginning that "I died" (Tan 2). Her name is Bibi Chen and in the beginning it is initially thought that she has been murdered, but however changes soon afterwards. Chen's death happened in December not too long before herself and a group of friends were to leave for China. The group still went, but did not follow the itinerary that Chen had carefully planned. The purpose of this trip is to learn some of the cultural background. As things begin changing, things happen that are not supposed to occur. These changes continue until the group goes missing. Crews are, then, out searching for them
    The organization of this book for the most part is easy to follow. Once in a while, though, there are some parts that are confusing. Despite the fact that it is easy to follow, there is one conundrum. Chen blames the whole group for themselves going missing. Under the circumstances, it is somewhat agreeable because everything went wrong after the group changes the plans. Potentially, though, they could have followed the itinerary exactly as planned and Chen could have been with them and still have went missing. It is possible that when the group goes missing, that it could have been unavoidable regardless of the conditions.
    Right from the start, this book is a different style. Reading from the view of a dead character is somewhat of a new concept. It contrasts with the majority of other written books that are written from an outsider or another living character in the book. It becomes really awkward when Chen reveals all the personal issues of each character that no one else in the book seems to know. Some of them also feel as though friends would not know about them. Other factors contribute, too, to the different feel of the book. Probably the most noticeable component is the theme seems to be absent. Either that or it is a challenge to determine what the theme is. A possible theme, which is minor, might be to follow what was planned or the results might not be what is expected. It might have been challenging to find a major theme because it was hard to find a connection to the book. Connecting to the personalities of the characters is no problem, but trying to relate it to everyday life is hard. It does not always seem to happen in which it is presented in the book as when people go missing in ordinary life today. However, developing this connection depends on what the person has experienced. This book is quite different from many other books, which has some advantages, but many consequences. It is just something that takes getting used to.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2008

    One great story

    I personally thought this was one of the best books I have read in that last five years. It made me research Burma and become more informed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2008

    My first Amy Tan read

    The title of this book jumped out to me. 'Saving Fish From Drowning' was an interesting concept, to say the least. I absolutely loved this book. Ms. Tan's story gave me insight to a country/culture I've never explored. Burma/Myanmar came alive to me with the author's description of the countryside and its people. I highly recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2007

    Disappointed

    I adored 'The Kitchen God's Wife' and 'The Joy Luck Club' but 'Saving Fish from Drowning' was a huge disappointment. It never came alive for me and always seemed mechanical and contrived. This story simply felt clunky.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2007

    Disappointing

    This book was very disappointing, I only finished it because it was a book club selection. I would not recommend it to anyone.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2007

    A reviewer

    I tried to get through this book, it had potential but I found it very dull and boring, at times it seemed to gain momentum but never recovered...

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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