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Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
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3,8372872,005 (3.82)278
  1. 20
    Girl in Translation: A Novel 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 288 (next | show all)
I didn't mind the continuous exposition - the subject is very interesting and needs some. Two sisters in Shanghai in 1937 escape during the Japanese invasion and end up in LA as Chinatown wives, purchased from their father. However, the piling on of terrible events bring it dangerously close to the Perils of Pearl territory. ( )
  cindywho | May 27, 2019 |
I didn't mind the continuous exposition - the subject is very interesting and needs some. Two sisters in Shanghai in 1937 escape during the Japanese invasion and end up in LA as Chinatown wives, purchased from their father. However, the piling on of terrible events bring it dangerously close to the Perils of Pearl territory. ( )
  cindywho | May 27, 2019 |
Twenty years in the lives of two sisters - Pearl and May, from their start in Shanghai China as beautiful girls, to their father's loss of their home with gambling, then the invasion of the Japanese. They flee the city, making their way to their arranged marriage husbands in Los Angeles. Mae is married to the "boy husband" - an invalid, and Pearl is married to Sam, who turns out to be a paper son. On Angel Island, Mae gives birth to an illegitimate girl that Pearl claims as Sam and her child, and names her Joy. At the end, Joy is in college and associating with a Chinese association, causing the INS to interrogate Pearl and Sam - causing Sam to commit suicide. Joy then runs away to find her biological father in closed communist China. ( )
  nancynova | Apr 26, 2019 |
May and Pearl are young, wealthy women who consider themselves to be modern. Their jobs as models afford them some degree of independence, but a mistake made by their father forever alters their lives. As their story spans years and continents, one thing remains constant -- the two sisters are always there for each other throughout life's ups and downs.

This book appears to be well-researched by author See and the audiobook is well narrated by Janet Song. There were times the text seemed a bit redundant; in addition, some years are completely brushed over while others are described in day-to-day minutiae. The characters could be a little more well-rounded, but they are mostly believable.

This book has a sequel that I would not have necessarily picked up based on the merits of this title alone. However, this book ends in such a way that I feel like I need to read the next title in order to complete the story.

Trigger warning: This book contains intense rape scenes. ( )
  sweetiegherkin | May 15, 2018 |
A great story about family strength, commtents, love, secrets and individual strength. can't wait to read the sequel, Joy. a historical fiction with dedicaton to language and perspective of the time period. ( )
  jnetnoe | May 8, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 288 (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...
 
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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)

Two sisters leave Shanghai to find new lives in 1930s Los Angeles in this fresh, fascinating adventure.

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