Amy Tan's short story "Fish Cheeks" exposed the reader to the vulnerability she felt as a young Chinese teenager growing up in America. Her story is something many kids can relate to at one point or another and that is being embarrassed about who they are. Tan felt that she was different than all the other kids because of her race and therefore was ashamed of herself and her family. She was so ashamed that she even wish for "a slim American nose". Once she found out that Robert, her crush, was coming over for dinner she became more critical of her family and they way they celebrate Christmas. She hated the fact that they didn't eat a traditional American dinner and they her father belched at the end of the meal to show his gratitude toward her mother.
She didn't realize until she was older that her parents cooked that dinner especially for her, considering it was all of her favorite meals. She also realized that it's okay to be different from the standard norm in America. Had she felt more comfortable around Robert and his family, maybe they would have felt more comfortable as well. Tan's ability to tell her story in a way that it had just occurred and to inclde even the slightest details makes it easier for the reader to understand her point of view.