Jing-mei Woo, one of eight main characters in Amy Tan's 1989 novel, "The Joy Luck Club," appears aimless in her life, despite her mother's wishes that she become something exceptional. At the beginning of the novel, she is chosen to take her mother's place in the Joy Luck Club, an informal group of Chinese women, after her mother dies.
Jing-mei is one of four American-born women with Chinese mothers who appears in the novel. None of the daughters understand their mothers the way the mothers expect them too, in large part because they are from an entirely different culture. The book follows each daughter as she attempts to discover herself as her own person and as the daughter of a Chinese woman.
As a child, Jing-mei felt tremendous pressure to become an accomplished pianist. She learned to play piano but stopped playing after a subpar live performance. Prior to her mother's death, she tells her mother that she still has the ability to be a great pianist but is filled with self-doubt. Jing-mei learns that the half-sisters her mother was forced to abandon in China when the Japanese attacked are still alive. Toward the end of the novel, she travels to China with her father to meet the twin sisters she never knew and finally make peace with her mother's memory.