Shanghai Girls by Lisa See

Reviewed by Holly (Library Patron)

This book transports the reader back in history to 1937 when China was beginning to change. The book uses some of those changes as a backdrop for a carefully woven story of two sisters with personalities that provide them with quite different perspectives of their shared experiences. In the beginning of the book Pearl and May live a semi-privileged life in Shanghai, China. Their father sold them off to become wives in a family composed of many “paper” sons. The author is very good at incorporating the explanation of key terms and concepts that develop as these two girls travel through the challenges that life presents. This book is a descriptive “serious” read. Telling many twists and turns that are believable and fascinating, it explores family bonds and secrets. As Pearl and May immigrate to the West Coast of the United States the reader becomes aware of what that experience could have been like. The world events of Pearl Harbor/WWII and the communistic governmental rise of Chairman Mao provide context periodically in this book. If the essence of both Pearl/May’s story left many wanting more, there is a sequel ……Dreams of Joy.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC SEE)

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