Monday, August 6, 2012

2012 Book review #5: Shanghai Girls

Author: Lisa See
Pages: 309
Personal Rating: 5/5

From the jacket flap: At it's heart, Shanghai Girls is a story of sisters: Pearl and May are inseparable best friends who share hopes dreams and a deep connection but like sisters everywhere, they also harbor petty jealousies and rivalries. They love each other, but each knows exactly where to drive the knife to hurt the other the most. Along the way they face terrible sacrifices, making impossible choices, and confront a devastating, life-changing secret, but through it all the two heroines of this astounding new novel hold fast to who they are-Shanghai girls.

Personal thought and reflection: This was my first by this author! While I have had "Snow flower and the secret Fan on my shelf now since November (it was a birthday gift from the hubs) I had not yet had a chance to crack it open, but when I was in the library and saw the Lisa See section, I started grabbing enthusiastically! I got Shanghai Girls, and it's sequel Dreams of Joyas well as "Dragon Bones". However, I found out that Dragon Bones is the third in a series, so I will not be reading it...yet....

This book was amazing! I know relatively little about the history of China and the Chinese people. However, this book enlightened me to the sufferings of those who had to flee the country,during the 1930's and the trials that were put on those who made it to America, especially from a woman's point of view. It wasn't easy and it wasn't pretty. And once they made it in, the hardships that awaited them, as they were made to live in poverty sharing a tiny apartment with many "family members" in the segregated Chinatowns in San Francisco and
Los Angeles. The hardships of women as they are sold to men as brides to pay off a family debt and made to live with strangers and call them family.

This book moved fast as I was continually wondering what hardship Pearl and her younger sister, May would have to endure next, and if they would ever get out of it, and be free. Heartbreaking and an excellent history lesson all in one!