annpepper20, March 25, 2010 (view all comments by annpepper20)
I don't understand the infatuation with this book. I found it boring. Yes, it was good to learn a bit about Chinese History, and Chinese American history in Los Angeles, but See's decision to tell the story in first person, present tense seemed to just suck the emotional strength from the book. Scenes which should have felt harrowing - the Japanese bombing of Shanghai for example, felt distant and out of touch. More than that, the characters and their choices did not feel either believable or even interesting. Though I know See believes she has gone deep into the relationship between sisters, I thought the relationships were superficial, failing to get to the root of their conflict until the end, and then that end was swept away into one of those Ferry God Mother kind of wrappings that you hope authors wont do, but unfortunately tend to do anyway. Blahhhhhh......
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Deborah Fochler, March 7, 2010 (view all comments by Deborah Fochler)
One of my book clubs decided to read this book for February. I am so glad we did. I couldnt resist and read the entire book in one night.
The characters are so well written that you are pulled into their lives and not let go until the book is done and even then - images remain.
How can 2 young girls survive in America without the family they have spent their entire lives with - protected or even overprotected from the outside world. America must seem like a fairy tale or nightmare depending on the day. In their search for love they find a few frogs along the way. The bond between these sisters are the foundation of this story and first and foremost Lisa See is a very talented story teller. The book is very well researched and historically correct even down to the streets and landmarks. I promise you wont be disappointed and if you have read any of Ms. See's other books that should be a must read for you.
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Random House Trade Paperbacks -
An epic journey from Shanghai to Los Angeles frames this amazing tale from Lisa See. Sisters May and Pearl Chin survive and triumph over stark injustice and unspeakable horror. Complete with family secrets, tragedy, forbidden love, and a long history of female oppression, Shanghai Girls is a journey no one should take, but everyone should read. Stunning.
"Review A Day"
by Julie Phillips, Ms. Magazine,
"See's tale of the two sisters' love and rivalry, their romantic adventures and long struggles to regain their balance in a new land is entertaining, if melodramatic." (read the entire Ms. Magazine review)
by Miami Herald,
“As in Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and Peony in Love, she has in her latest novel created ordinary women who, through willfulness and resiliency, accomplish extraordinary things…See, whose writing is as graceful as these 'beautiful girls,' pulls off another exceptional novel.”
by Denver Post,
“A rich work…as compulsively readable as it is an enlightening journey.”
by USA Today,
"[I]n Shanghai Girls [See] again explores the bonds of sisterhood while powerfully evoking the often nightmarish American immigrant experience."
"A buoyant and lustrous paean to the bonds of sisterhood."
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