Shanghai Girls

Shanghai Girls

A Novel

Book - 2009
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In 1937, Shanghai is the Paris of Asia, a city of great wealth and glamour, the home of millionaires and beggars, gangsters and gamblers, patriots and revolutionaries, artists and warlords. Thanks to the financial security and material comforts provided by their father's prosperous rickshaw business, twenty-one-year-old Pearl Chin and her younger sister, May, are having the time of their lives. Though both sisters wave off authority and tradition, they couldn't be more different: Pearl is a Dragon sign, strong and stubborn, while May is a true Sheep, adorable and placid. Both are beautiful, modern, and carefree . . . until the day their father tells them that he has gambled away their wealth and that in order to repay his debts he must sell the girls as wives to suitors who have traveled from California to find Chinese brides.

As Japanese bombs fall on their beloved city, Pearl and May set out on the journey of a lifetime, one that will take them through the Chinese countryside, in and out of the clutch of brutal soldiers, and across the Pacific to the shores of America. In Los Angeles they begin a fresh chapter, trying to find love with the strangers they have married, brushing against the seduction of Hollywood, and striving to embrace American life even as they fight against discrimination, brave Communist witch hunts, and find themselves hemmed in by Chinatown's old ways and rules.

At its 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, make 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.
Publisher: New York : Random House, c2009.
ISBN: 9781400067114
Characteristics: 314 p. ;,25 cm.


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Aug 05, 2017

This could have been a good book, as it covers an important segment of history. Alas, it does so in such a superficial manner that I could not identify with or empathize with any of the characters. The plot was predictable. It did not engage me. I cannot imagine See will manage to develop plots that are more complicated or characters who are more thoughtful, so I will not be reading any more of her books.

Jan 11, 2017

Overall great book. Incredible depth and complexity to the characters and their relationships, an intriguing plot full of historical accuracies (and inaccuracies, but hey, this is fiction), and a spell-binding tale of Chinese-American culture. However, it is also a very difficult book to slog your way through. Though the writing itself is clear, it is a swamp of emotion that requires you to drag your way through. I'm just trying to get across that it is a book that you will not breeze through. The plot and the characters will make your chest ache, your gut clench, and even the occasional smile cross your face. It is an emotionally difficult book, but a book that should be read and suffered through and enjoyed all the same.

Jul 05, 2016

I did not know there was a sequel to this book so when I finished it I was so disappointed with the ending. Little did I know there was a continuation. Loved the story and enjoyed the interesting characters. Could not put the book down.

Last_Nights_Readings Mar 16, 2016

I love this book, it was like a dumpling for my reading soul. It was hot enough to keep me wanting to read it all the time, and delicious in content to keep my mind in it. I thoroughly enjoy the book and was surprise with it being the writer's debut novel. The book inspire me to have a bit of courage myself against family politics and I feel better because of it. That's how strong I related to the book and the writing style is. Give it a taste, you won't regret your time with this Shanghai girl.

PoMoLibrary Jul 30, 2015

From our 2015 #80DayRead Summer Reading Club traveler Mallee: The story of two sisters trying to survive during turbulent times in China.

Apr 16, 2015

An enjoyable read that looks at what life is like in pre- and post-WWII America for Chinese sisters Pearl and May. It's hard to imagine how horribly immigrants were treated in this country, but this story captures that experience, as well as the strength needed to overcome such difficulties.

The first few chapters are deceptively frivolous, like the sisters themselves, stepping over bodies to go dancing and pose a beautiful people. The horror of real war and the sacrifice of their apparently shallow mother lures the reader into a fascinating tale of suffering and siblings who love each other but don't know each other. The final 'reveal' is heartrending and I hope there is a sequel to this heroic story of immigration from China to America.

Feb 03, 2015

A study in contrast of the Shanghai life and American life of two sisters who manage to carve very different lives for themselves. The story gives s different twist on the idea that blood is thicker than water.

Oct 14, 2014

Great "study" of China, Chinese culture and two girls in difficult times.

Sep 30, 2014

The beginning of the novel has some depth, I thought, but after the move to the US, the book becomes superficial and the characters are shallow.

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Jul 24, 2012

FrostyViolette thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

Jun 24, 2012

tracylim2002 thinks this title is suitable for 8 years and over


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Jul 18, 2012

"Because somehow, some way, I'm going to find Joy, and I'm going to bring my daughter, our daughter, home to my sister and me."


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