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Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
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3,5122791,510 (3.81)263
  1. 20
    Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok (terran)
    terran: Chinese Americans, Mother and daughters, Family, Poverty, Immigrants
  2. 03
    Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford (tahcastle)
    tahcastle: Both novels illustrated the discrimination in the United States, of Japanese during the war and of the Chinese after the war.
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Showing 1-5 of 279 (next | show all)
This is the story of two sisters who grow up in an affluent Shanghai family in the thirties. However, their father gambles away the family fortune and the two girls are forced into arranged marriages that take them to California. The writing is vivid, the characters are engaging, and the history was new to me. I knew Chinese immigrants to the U.S. suffered discrimination, but the legal aspects of govt. policy and how it affected families and individuals is compelling. ( )
  kaitanya64 | Jan 3, 2017 |
This one is tough for me to rate. I'm ambivalent with regard to whether or not I liked the story...

Beautiful writing, but tragic story. While reading a Literary Fiction I don't expect happy-go-lucky-chick-lit writing, but I did expect more happiness than sadness, and definitely much less tragedy.

If 3.5 were possible that is likely what I would rate it. ( )
  sentryrose | Dec 4, 2016 |
This book I thought was a good read. It is about two Chinese girls who are sisters. They immigrate to the United States while their country is at war to be forced into arranged marriages when they get there. I think the author did a good job of making the characters so realistic to the time period. I thought that it was interesting that they had to go to the United States with the hope of escaping war when they are thrown right into arranged marriages. Not only that, but the author had them face their own "wars" in America when they faced discrimination of being a Chinese immigrant. Those two events were definitely the highlight of the plot. I do like how the author made readers question what it would have been like to be discriminated against based on the color of their skin. It makes readers become more enlightened about discrimination and how it affects a group of people. I think the bigger picture is that you should always stay close to your family, because at the end of the day it is them you will need most. ( )
  Becca-Friedel | Nov 29, 2016 |
Sisters Pearl and May are young, beautiful and modern Shanghai women. When their father gambles away his fortune, he arranges for marriages for both girls and for them to leave China for Los Angeles. Although Pearl and May go through with their weddings, they purposefully miss the boat to take them to LA. When the Japanese invade, they have no choice but to make their way to their new husbands, for safety and survival.

I really enjoyed this novel. The sisters were fascinating characters and I loved the reading about their life in Shanghai and then LA. The book was perfectly paced and well written. Lisa See is a wonderful author, and I can’t wait to read more from her. ( )
  JanaRose1 | Nov 22, 2016 |
very plot-driven and filled with heartache, this novel does a good job with settings and the era portrayed, but i just didn't connect with this book as well as i did with see's earlier works, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and Peony in Love. ( )
  Booktrovert | Oct 31, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 279 (next | show all)
Lisa See’s “Shanghai Girls” is much loftier than its cover art’s stunning portrait of beautifully adorned Asian women. The author of “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan” has written a broadly sweeping tale...
 
Things are getting catty again in the Shanghai literary scene!
 
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For my cousin Leslee Leong, my cohort in memory keeping.
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'Our daughter looks like a South China peasant with those red cheeks,' my father complains, pointedly ignoring the soup before him. 'Can't you do something about them?'
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0812980530, Paperback)

Book Description
For readers of the phenomenal bestsellers Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and Peony in Love--a stunning new novel from Lisa See about two sisters who leave Shanghai to find new lives in 1930s Los Angeles.

May and Pearl, two sisters living in Shanghai in the mid-1930s, are beautiful, sophisticated, and well-educated, but their family is on the verge of bankruptcy. Hoping to improve their social standing, May and Pearl’s parents arrange for their daughters to marry “Gold Mountain men” who have come from Los Angeles to find brides.

But when the sisters leave China and arrive at Angel’s Island (the Ellis Island of the West)--where they are detained, interrogated, and humiliated for months--they feel the harsh reality of leaving home. And when May discovers she’s pregnant the situation becomes even more desperate. The sisters make a pact that no one can ever know.

A novel about two sisters, two cultures, and the struggle to find a new life in America while bound to the old, Shanghai Girls is a fresh, fascinating adventure from beloved and bestselling author Lisa See.

Amazon Exclusive: Lisa See on Shanghai Girls

I’m writing this on a plane to Shanghai. For the last couple of weeks I’ve been thinking about all the things I want to see and do on this research trip: look deeper into the Art Deco movement in Shanghai, visit a 17th-century house in a village of 300 people to observe the Sweeping the Graves Festival, and check out some old theaters in Beijing. But as I sit on the plane, I’m not thinking of the adventures that are ahead but of the people and places I’ve left behind. I’ve been gone from home only a few hours and already I’m homesick!

This puts me in mind of Pearl and May, the characters in Shanghai Girls. This feeling--longing for home and missing the people left behind--is at the heart of the novel. We live in a nation of immigrants. We all have someone in our families who was brave enough, scared enough, or crazy enough to leave the home country to come to America. I’m a real mutt in terms of ancestry, but I know that the Chinese side of my family left China because they were fleeing war, famine, and poverty. They were lured to America in hopes of a better life, but leaving China also meant saying goodbye to the homes they’d been born in, to their parents, brothers, and sisters, and to everything and everyone they knew. This experience is the blood and tears of American experience.

Pearl and May are lucky, because they come to America together. They’re sisters and they have each other. I’ve always wanted to write about sisters and I finally got my chance with Shanghai Girls. You could say that either I’m an only child or that I’m one of four sisters, because I have a former step-sister I’ve known for over 50 years and two half-sisters from different halves who I’ve known since they were born. Is Shanghai Girls autobiographical? Not really, but my sister Katharine and I once had a fight that was like the flour fight that May and Pearl got into when they were girls. And there was an ice cream incident that I used in the novel that sent my sister Clara right down memory lane when she read the manuscript. I’m also the eldest, and we all know what that means. I’m the one who’s supposed to be the bossy know-it-all. (But if that’s true, then why are they the ones who are always right?) What I know is that we’re very different from each other and our life experiences couldn’t be more varied, and yet we have a deep emotional connection that goes way beyond friendship. My sisters knew me when I was a shy little kid, helped me survive my first broken heart, share the memories of bad family car trips, and were at my side for the happiest moments in my life. More recently, we’ve begun to share things like the loss of our childhood homes, the changing of the neighborhoods we grew up in, and the frailties and illnesses of our myriad parents.

My emotions and experiences are deeply entwined with the stories I write. So as I fly over the Pacific, of course I’m thinking about May and Pearl, the people and places they left behind, the hopes and dreams that kept them moving forward, and the strength and solace they found in each other, but I’m thinking about myself too. As soon as I get to the hotel, I’m going to call my husband and sons to tell them I arrived safely, and then I’m going to send some e-mails to my sisters.--Lisa See

(Photo © Patricia Williams)

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:16 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Forced to leave Shanghai when their father sells them to California suitors, sisters May and Pearl struggle to adapt to life in 1930s Los Angeles while still bound to old customs, as they face discrimination and confront a life-altering secret.

» see all 11 descriptions

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