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Shanghai Girls: A Novel by Lisa See
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Shanghai Girls: A Novel (edition 2010)

by Lisa See (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,9782892,002 (3.82)279
In the mid 1930's two well-educated sisters from Shanghai go to Los Angeles to become brides of the "Gold Mountain men" when their family is on the verge of bankruptcy. When the get their they are detained, interrogated, and humiliated for months. When one of the sisters becomes pregnant they vow that no one will ever know.… (more)
Member:KateVz
Title:Shanghai Girls: A Novel
Authors:Lisa See (Author)
Info:Random House (2010), Edition: Reprint, 322 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:kv, historical fiction, tbr, world war ii, immigrant experience, immigration, china, shanghai, sisters

Work details

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See

  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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» See also 279 mentions

English (290)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  All languages (292)
Showing 1-5 of 290 (next | show all)
A quick and easy read. ( )
  rlsova | Oct 29, 2019 |
Pearl and May are sisters who grew up in Shanghai. They are 21 and 18 in 1937 at the start of the novel, and are “beautiful girls” - they model for an artist who paints them for calendars. Unfortunately, their world is turned upside-down when their father reveals that he gambled away all their money and must sell them to husbands who live in the U.S.

The book covers about 20 years and follows Pearl and May to the States; it is told from Pearl's (the older sister's) point of view. It covers the Sino-Japanese War, their lives as immigrants and the stereotypes and stigmas that go with that, the “Confession Program”, and Red China.

I really liked it, although I was a bit disappointed in the sudden (slight cliffhanger) ending. The ending wasn't enough to drop my rating, overall, though I briefly thought about it. Of course, I will be reading the sequel. Apparently, the book was based on various stories told to Lisa See by various people, and a few characters were real people. I did learn a lot about Chinese immigrants to the U.S. at the time and how they were treated. I'm probably in a minority on this, but I liked this better than Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. ( )
  LibraryCin | Jul 5, 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 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 290 (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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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