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Dreams of Joy by Lisa See

Dreams of Joy

by Lisa See

Other authors: Janet Song (Narrator)

Series: Shanghai Girls (2), May and Pearl (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,0231028,298 (4.1)88
  1. 10
    Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See (SqueakyChu)
    SqueakyChu: Another novel of fascinating cultural detail by Lisa See.
  2. 00
    Daughter of China: A True Story of Love and Betrayal by Meihong Xu (SqueakyChu)
    SqueakyChu: More about the Cultural revolution in China. This is nonfiction.

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» See also 88 mentions

English (102)  Dutch (1)  All languages (103)
Showing 1-5 of 102 (next | show all)
Dreams of Joy is the sequel to Lisa See's Shanghai Girls, so be sure you begin there first. The two books tell a complete story of young women on journey from Republic of China’s Shanghai to 1940s America and then back into Communist China during the Fifties. What makes the tale so captivating is the depth of history woven throughout. During my reading I kept a notepad of phrases and historical events to research since so much of it happened before my generation and was not taught in history classes when I was in school. Yet this is what makes the author’s books so readable: there is more information than you can possibly remember but she makes it all come alive by placing her characters in the midst of each historical event. And she does it seamlessly. Of the two novels, Shanghai Girls is the better story simply because its protagonist, Pearl, is the most well-drawn character, but Dreams of Joy speaks the most toward Red China and the devastation experienced by villagers during Mao’s Great Leap Forward. Both books are fine history lessons, but more than that, they are incredibly compelling stories with beautifully rich characters. ( )
  phrenetic.mind | Dec 30, 2014 |
Amazing book! Love it and I recommend it!
It’s a profound story with many turning points, emotions, adventures and horror moments.
I loved the main characters and their continuous fight for their own dreams.

Here are some quotes I like and would love to share:
“Everybody works so everybody eats.”
“A hurried marriage is not a solid basis for a marriage. Suicide is not a solution to unhappiness.”
“Just remember, a person is his – or her – history. If your history isn't good, then you won’t be good. A rebel as a five-year-old will be a rebel as young man and will die a rebel.”
“The spear hits the bird that sticks his head out.”
“As long as we have enthusiasm and determination, we can achieve anything!”
“An inch of gold won’t buy an inch of time.”
“Always show the greatest kindness to the ones you like the least. If you show kindness to your mother-in-law, who like all women has been bred to hate her daughter-in-law, then you will create an obligation she will never be able to repay.”
“No matter what you’re feeling or how desperate you become, always take a moral position.”
“Those who have little to lose don’t want to lose what little they have. “
“…men are attracted to women who are crazy about them.”
“…truth, forgiveness, and goodness are more important than revenge, condemnation, and cruelty.”
“Give a low man one ounce of power and he’ll throw ten thousand pounds of bricks on your head.”
“Nothing is more precious than when you might lose it.” ( )
  florryalyna | Dec 4, 2014 |
Continues the story of the Shanghi Girls, only thro the perspective of the daughter, Joy. Joy returns to China to find her father, during the time of China's Great Leap Forward. Lots of details about the life of peasants suffering and starvation at that time. Not a happy book to read,but I'm glad I did. ( )
  Pmaurer | Jul 21, 2014 |
I love all of Lisa See's novels. It's so easy to get sucked away into joy's life. I've never been to China, but her novels speak of the communist experience from a point of view that we rarely hear as Americans. ( )
  saradiann | Jun 29, 2014 |
Lisa See is an amazing storyteller, with a great talent for including historical details into her novels. Dreams of Joy is the continuing story of May and Pearl, two sisters who escaped China for the U.S. after the Japanese invaded China... and the story of their daughter, Joy, who runs away from the U.S. back to China to discover her roots and who she really is... and to find her father. Heartbreaking at times, but filled with joy for sure. ( )
  Randall.Hansen | May 11, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 102 (next | show all)
Although the ending betrays See’s roots in genre fiction, this is a riveting, meticulously researched depiction of one of the world’s worst human-engineered catastrophes.
added by Shortride | editKirkus Reviews (May 15, 2011)
With each new novel, Lisa See gets better and better. Each work is more tightly woven, richer with information, its characters more memorable than the last....And so it is with "Dreams of Joy," which picks up where "Shanghai Girls" left off, giving us the story of a young Chinese American woman's search for her father and her three-year odyssey in the People's Republic during Mao Tse-tung's Great Leap Forward. The scope of the novel is astonishing — including the ingenious ways Chinese women handled their menstrual periods and the carefully concealed and shocking stories of starvation in the communes, the suffocating collectives into which the country was divided...The novel is front-loaded with all of these revelations, and continues to move extremely quickly until the very end — one of those hard-to-put-down-until-four-in-the-morning books — but happily, the action is not all external
Crowd-pleaser See continues the story she began in Shanghai Girls with this compelling account of life inside the People's Republic of China during Mao's disastrous "Great Leap Forward." ...See writes vividly about China's people, places and customs; her descriptions of various state banquets will bring on hunger pangs. That such feasts were served while millions starved is a sobering history lesson in the midst of this engrossing saga about two tiger mothers of an earlier day.

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lisa Seeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Song, JanetNarratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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For my father, Richard See
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The wail of a police siren in the distance tears through my body. Crickets whirr in a never-ending chorus of blame.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
In her beloved New York Times bestsellers Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Peony in Love, and, most recently, Shanghai Girls, Lisa See has brilliantly illuminated the potent bonds of mother love, romantic love, and love of country. Now, in her most powerful novel yet, she returns to these timeless themes, continuing the story of sisters Pearl and May from Shanghai Girls, and Pearl’s strong-willed nineteen-year-old daughter Joy.

Reeling from newly uncovered family secrets, and anger at her mother and aunt for keeping them from her, Joy runs away to Shanghai in early 1957 to find her birth father—the artist Z.G. Li, with whom both May and Pearl were once in love. Dazzled by him, and blinded by idealism and defiance, Joy throws herself into the New Society of “Red” China, heedless of the dangers in the communist regime.

Devastated by Joy’s flight, and terrified for her safety, Pearl is determined to save her daughter, no matter the personal cost. From the crowded city to remote villages, Pearl confronts old demons and almost insurmountable challenges as she follows Joy, hoping for reconciliation. Yet even as Joy and Pearl's separate journeys converge, one of the most tragic episodes in China’s history threatens their very lives.

Acclaimed for her richly drawn characters and vivid storytelling, Lisa See once again renders a family challenged by tragedy and time, yet ultimately united by the resilience of love.
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A continuation of "Shanghai Girls" finds a devastated Joy fleeing to China to search for her real father while her mother, Pearl, desperately pursues her, a dual quest marked by their encounters with the nation's intolerant Communist culture.

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