Amy Tan's novel was one of the books on the list for my daughter's sophomore American Literature class, along with Gone With the Wind (which she wanted to read because it was so long), Walden (which I have always loved in theory and have never finished), and some other decent titles. She will pick one book to read for the entire year and keep a journal about it.
This would not be a bad book for this purpose. Covering eight women in two generations, it explores, in brief vignettes, the life, love, and loss of women of Chinese heritage. The mothers all came from China to the United States, and their (mostly sad) history in China is covered. The daughters all have uneasy relationships with their mothers, and their own problems with life, even though they are not living through wars.
While there is nothing that would make this book objectionable for middle school students, I don't know that they would find it very interesting. It's very philosophical; very little happens. I looked at about 90 interest inventories over the weekend, and the number one thing students dislike is nothing happening in a book.
I suppose I should read Gone With the Wind again, but I know I read it in the summer of 1980, so maybe I will try to actually finish Walden.