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Dreams of Joy

by Lisa See

Other authors: Janet Song (Narrator)

Series: Shanghai Girls (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,5821298,619 (4.05)115
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.… (more)
  1. 20
    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 115 mentions

English (128)  Dutch (1)  All languages (129)
Showing 1-5 of 128 (next | show all)
"As she spoke, I wanted to cry, because sometimes it's just so damn hard to be a mother. We have to wait and wait and wait for our children to open their hearts to us. And if that doesn't work, we have to bide our time and look for the moment of weakness when we can sneak back into their lives and they will see us and remember us for the people who love them unconditionally."

( )
  auldhouse | Sep 30, 2021 |
I’ve liked the other books of hers that I’ve read, but I couldn’t finish this one. Everything falls too neatly into place to make it believable, and Joy is so annoying, I don’t want to spend any more time in her presence. Also, I need a break from the first person present tense, which is my least favorite narrative form. ( )
  emrsalgado | Jul 23, 2021 |
This is the best book that I have read in years. I don't have words to describe how beautiful and tragic and wonderful it is. The character development is phenomenal. The description of real life history in a fictionalized format was incredible. I really want to read more about this era in China's history after reading this book. Excellent.

I received this book from a Goodreads giveaway as an Advance Readers Copy. ( )
  Tosta | Jul 5, 2021 |
Glad I read Shanghai Girls first. There were lots of references to it and it helped understand their personality and behaviors better. Pearl finally learns the type of sister May really was - more caring. This story gives a very realistic picture of the hardships the Chinese had to deal with when changes occurred under Chairman Mao. This book gave the views from both the US side with citizens trying to help their relatives and life in China. It showed the rich life ZG had but still had to be so careful. It showed common city life that Pearl had to endure getting worse, also how the country communes deteriorated by famine. The treatment of women was horrible especially in the country. ( )
  kshydog | Dec 13, 2020 |
I enjoyed this continuation of Lisa See's series about two older sisters and their life journey between China and America. This book picks up on the American-born daughter's decision to flee America and join the Great Leap Forward unfolding in China in the 1950s, with one of the two sisters then following her back to try and facilitate a rescue. I agree with some reviews I've read that the Joy (daughter) character seems quite naive in her quest to flee her family and help build Communism in her parents' native country. But it's still a good read and a detailed dip into life in the countryside where peasant communes were built during this era. Lisa See has done her research and it's woven together with a captivating storyline. ( )
  jjpseattle | Aug 2, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 128 (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.
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lisa Seeprimary authorall editionscalculated
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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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.

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