Shanghai Girls by Lisa See

Shanghai Girls

“Most families eat at a round dining table, so they will always be whole and connected, with no sharp edges.  We have a square teakwood table, and we always sit in the exact same places: my father next to May on one side of the table, with my mother directly across from her so that my parents can share my sister equally.  Every meal – day after day, year after year – is a reminder that I’m not the favorite and never will be.”

Shanghai Girls is the story of two sisters – Pearl and May – who come of age in Shanghai in late 1930’s.  They are adventurous and determined to break away from the old Chinese traditions to become modern women.  Then, two things happen:  their father announces that he has arranged marriages for them and the Japanese attack their city.

Lisa See is well known for her exciting and heart-wrenching tales of Chinese women.  Shanghai Girls is every bit as wonderful as her other books.  I especially enjoyed learning more about the plight of Chinese immigrants to the United States before and after World War II.  As much as I love Lisa See, I even surprised myself that I took so long to read this book.  I’m glad I waited, however.  The end has a cliffhanger that obviously carries forth into See’s latest novel Dreams of Joy.  I have it in hand and anxiously look forward to delving into the world of Pearl and May once again!

4 stars (out of 5)
322 pages
Published in 2009


About Suzanne

I'm a stay-at-home mom with three kids who loves to read.
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