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Shanghai Girls (2009)

Shanghai Girls (2009)

Book Info

3.85 of 5 Votes: 3
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1400067111 (ISBN13: 9781400067114)
Random House

About book Shanghai Girls (2009)

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See is a complex novel dealing with the relationship between sisters Pearl Chin (21 years old) and her younger sister May in 1937 Shanghai. The sisters are quite different. May is more calm and reserved while Pearl is often obstinate and strong-willed. Both young ladies are living contented lives until their father informs them that he is selling them in order to pay his gambling debts. Through all their experiences, Pearl and May maintain their familial relationship, with the ups and downs accompanying all sibling relationships. They confide in and support one another, but they also hurt one another from time to time. They are very human, believable characters. The book is very engrossing and readable. I would recommend it to fans of historical fiction.Due to the depth of this work, it might make for an interesting read for book groups as well. This book has been on my radar for a while, and as there was a copy of it on the shelf at our vacation rental I decided to give it a whirl. There's a lot here, more than I expected and probably more than I wanted in a book read on vacation, but it was solidly written and very interesting along the way. I knew very little about the Chinese immigrants to the US west coast, let alone what happened to them when Mao took over China, so this was an education for me.The main characters are Pearl and May, two young ladies who grew up in Shanghai prior to WWII and who are young adults at the start of the book. They made their money as "beautiful girls" posing for artists in fashionable clothing to make advertisements, and were on the whole raised gently with no idea of what was to come when the Japanese invaded China. The story follows them as they escape Shanghai, travel to Hong Kong and then to San Francisco, including their arranged marriages and struggles along the way.The story is told from Pearl's point of view, but even allowing for that I found her sister May to be borderline villainous, especially with the revelations she puts forward at the close of the novel. I understand that family is deeper in China than I can ever understand as a Westerner, but the betrayals that May performed to her sister should be more than enough to have cast her off forever. Pearl did have a tendency to be quiet and martyrish, but she never deserved the things that May did to her out of jealousy and spite. The book ends rather suddenly, and I see there is now a sequel, but it felt very chopped at the end without wrapping up the results of the revelations and what would happen as Pearl and May continued on their path.The writing was solid, with just the right amount of description and with more than enough research behind the words to bring the location and events to life. It's overall a melancholic book, which perhaps I should have expected given the subject matter, but I wish the happy events had been given a little more emphasis when they did happen as opposed to those sadder times. It's worth a read if you're interested in the era, or if you've read other books by the author and enjoyed them.

Do You like book Shanghai Girls (2009)?

Eines der besten Bücher, die ich jemals gelesen habe! ich bin sprachlos! :0

An immigrant's life is hard. I read the sequel, Dreams of Joy, earlier.

I very much enjoyed this book, as well as it's sequel.

Great beginning but lost it's punch halfway through.

Really enjoyed another of Lisa See's novels.

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