Shanghai Girls - Book Review

2420 words 10 pages

A. Review
Lisa See is an American writer and novelist born in 1955 in Paris, and grew up in the Chinatown section of Los Angeles. Her great-grandfather left his village in China to immigrate in Los Angeles at the beginning of the last century. Although she is only 1/8 Chinese, she spent he childhood in the Chinatown of Los Angeles, and her familial background has given her roots in Chinese culture and has had a great impact on her life and work.
See is the author of the critically acclaimed international bestseller, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan; Peony in Love; Flower Net (an Edgar Award nominee); The Interior; and Dragon Bones, as well as the critically acclaimed memoir On
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I found the work interesting. The characters are fascinating because complex.
Another thing I liked was the culture shock. When one knows a bit of the history of China, he can predict and understand easily, but Lisa See goes a little beyond that and confronts the Chinese culture to the American one through various means, the most striking being the education of Joy, May’s biological daughter who is actually raised by Pearl, and her teenager way of thinking. Joy’s Chinese origins mingling with her American education make her a rebellious teenager. And in addition to the cultures, several generations clash, which gives rise to situations though expected but ceaselessly renewed.
I found the plot well done. There is no length, no improbabilities nor clichés. One could argue about the sisterly love story, but I think it is not too incongruous. The complex feelings of two sisters to one another and to their family are nicely exposed. I believe the multi-layered themes will keep readers fascinated, while the fast-moving plot will keep them entertained.

C. Overview
As mentioned above, Lisa See’s basic premises for writing this book is her own familial background. Her great-grandfather, as Pearl and May, had to leave his hometown to immigrate in the US. Just like the two sisters, he had to go through sacrifice, as well as


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