Another book review blog?!?

Yes because people ask "Have you read anything good lately?" And I have. From a class ...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Shanghai Girls - Historical

Author: Lisa See
Title: Shanghai Girls
Publication Date: 2009 
Number of Pages: 342 (eBook)
Part of a Series: No
Subject Heading(s):  
  • Abuse- Fiction
  • Immigrants- United States- Fiction
  • China- Fiction
  • Los Angeles- Chinatown-Fiction
  • Chinese- United States- Fiction
  • Rape victims- Fiction
  • Discrimination - Fiction
  • Sisters- Fiction
  • Family Secrets- Fiction
  • War Crimes- Fiction
Geographical Setting/ Time Period: 1937 Shanghai, 1937-57 Los Angeles  

Main Character(s):
  • Pearl- Older sister, considered the smarter and plainer sister, Dragon
  • May- Younger, prettier sister, works in Hollywood, Sheep
Plot Summary: When their Baba gambles away everything and the Japanese invade, May and Pearl’s middle class happiness is shattered as they must escape China only to live in arranged marriages in LA in a controlling and cruel household.  They struggle to find happiness amid turbulent times (WWII and Korean War) in racist America as their loyalty and lives are challenged during the Red Scare.

Appeal: Historical details of Shanghai and LA’s Chinatown; detailed and introspective; incorporation of Chinese sayings and beliefs; family dynamics

Brief quote: “Your sister is a Dragon.  The Dragon and the Tiger will always fight for dominance.  She must hope for a son- and what mother doesn’t wish for this thing?- because then their deeper positions will be clear.  Every mother must obey her son, even if she is a Dragon.  If your sister was a Sheep, I would be concerned.” Pg 117-118 (in eBook)

Prizes or Awards: nominated for the 2010 Asian Pacific American Award for Literature

Similar Works:
  • Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan- details, setting, and family relationships (JC)
  • The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck- details, setting, culture (JC)
  • The Rape of Nanking: by Iris Chang- Nonfictional look at the Japanese invasion that See describes in Shanghai Girls (JC)
Reviewer’s Name: Jessica Conley

Shanghai Girls: A Novel 

Form adapted from Saricks, Joyce G. and Nancy Brown. Readers= Advisory Service in the Public Library 2nd.  Chicago: ALA, 1997.

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