“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.”
There are actual Chinese main characters. A lot of ranty thoughts dealing with the sisters was addressed in the book.
The issues were addressed but the problems were still present in the story for most of the book except the end. I was not feeling this book from the first moment I started listening to the audiobook. You would think that I would stop this fiendishly self-destructive behavior of continuing books that don’t interest me from the get go. My most logical explanation for finishing this book is the I love girls in dresses picture that I found. I still feel that the picture embodies what Lisa See was trying to do even after reading the book. Do you know how hard it is to find covers let alone pictures of Asian women wearing dresses? I found these two girls who made me think immediately that is Shanghai Girls.
Shanghai Girls hit on a lot of my pet peeves. One of them being stories that have the characters in a certain foreign place in this case China then spend the rest of the story in America. The immigrant experience is not interesting to me. So it should not be a surprise that I do not like how this immigrant experience was told. I did not like how the overall book was written honestly. First of all everything is told in a lyrical boring philosophical way. Then things are told over and over again ( things that happened five minutes ago.)
Authors fall into this biography style story telling which infuriates me. It annoyed me in The Shoemaker’s Wife, it annoys me still. The biography story telling just seems like a big heap of telling and no showing. It involves the story being told in a fashion of so and so does this. Time Skip. Then so and so did this, major event happens. A lot of telling me about characters but not much if any showing characters actions. Now that we are on the topic of characters. I did not care for the characters at the beginning of the story. I had that dumpy feeling even before 19% but I did not let it go. Then something happened that fooled me into thinking that I cared about the characters. This one little scene was a glimmer of light that if continued would have made me love this book. The ironic thing for me is even in my feeling something in the scene there was stupidity in it. The honest truth is that I felt like something was missing right away from the story. I told myself that whatever that missing piece was it would be put in later. I realize that it was a lack of character investment. How can I invest in characters who have no development? Characters reach America and just basically do nothing but go through the motions. So of course I spent most of the story ranting at the characters out loud around my house.
When do you realize you are not into a book? When you reach the half way point wanting the story to end. I just could not be paid to care.
I just want to ask. Why? Why is this a series?