curvy*mommy's corner

Book Review: Shanghai Girls by Lisa See

Posted on: May 20, 2009

Buy it Now at Amazon.com!

Buy it Now at Amazon.com!

Many of my friends have recommended (more like insisted!) that I read Lisa See’s Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, but I have just not had a chance to get to it yet. But when I read the description for her new novel, I knew I didn’t want to wait to read it. It was everything I was expecting – a wonderful story that drew me in from the very beginning!

The story of Pearl and her younger sister May starts in 1930s Shanghai. The descriptions of the city and the sisters’ lifestyle are vivid and enthralling. I really felt like I was there. After the girls’ father gambles away his livelihood, the two sisters are forced to marry to help settle their father’s debt. But it’s not that simple. When the Japanese attack China, everything changes and the girls struggle to leave the country. Their journey out of China is heartwrenching and I found it hard to put the book down.

Arriving in San Francisco, the girls find that not everything is what they thought it was, and they spend months in detainment before they are allowed into the country. They finally arrive in Los Angeles Chinatown, and realize that their lives will never be the same again.

The main focus of the story is the relationship between the two sisters, and the constant pull between their old life in China and their new life in Los Angeles. I found the descriptions of how the Chinese were treated before, during, and after WWII to be both supremely interesting and sad. Having lived in the Los Angeles area my entire life, I now have an even greater appreciation for the Chinese who worked so hard and overcame so much to make their new lives in America.

The ending definitely left me wanting more! I can only hope that there is a sequel in the works, because I want to know what happens next!

I devoured this book in only a few days (I work full-time and have 3 little boys, so that is no small feat!), because I couldn’t stop reading it. I highly recommend it! And you can be sure I won’t wait much longer to read this author’s other novels.

Started: 14-May-09 / Finished: 19-May-09
Advanced Reader’s Edition courtesy of Random House
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