Which brings me back to that grim truth about how we react to numbers.
That previous novel introduced sisters Pearl and May Chin, young models in Shanghai in Their lives are cushy: Their mother loves them, men adore them, and their pictures are plastered across the city to sell cigarettes and soap. All hell breaks loose, though, when the Japanese invade and their father sells the girls into arranged marriages.
Joy learns that May is her actual mother and the Chinese painter Z. But I I'll say at the outset: But I was also a little nervous. I knew I had to write a review of a writer I more than respect and admire.
But to my great relief, I loved Dreams of Joy. It does not disappoint. In fact, it may well be her best novel so far. It is the continuation of See's novel Shanghai Girls , the story of the relationship and journeys of sisters May and Pearl. Briefly, Pearl and May escape from China after having been traumatized by events during the war between China and Japan. They come to America to begin fresh.
They are children running of the past to create, as so many others have and continue to, a new life in a new country. They grow up and Pearl has a daughter, Joy. Dreams of Joy is her story. I won't write more about the family because their story is the complicated heart of this story. I will say that Joy, reversing the journey of her mother, leaves America and goes to China out of an idealistic wish to be a part of the people's movement there.
She also has other, more personal, motives. The time is Joy is about to learn the difference between idealistic dreams and the sometimes horribly harsh reality that is caused by forcing their embodiment in people's lives. As most of us know, Chairman Mao's "Great Leap" was not the great freedom for the masses that at least some of us, like Lisa, believed was happening at the time. The book appears to be meticulously researched. This is the way I like to learn history: We watch Lisa grow up fast. Lisa is not a perfect person but she is a beautifully realized her.
Through her, her experiences, and her relationships we learn about a dark period in Chinese history and about how a young, somewhat self-centered, girl becomes a woman. Once again, See's writing is beautiful: The characters are engaging and the backstory-the history of a continent-is fascinating. And, again as always, See is interested not only in individuals on their own, but people interacting with others, with depictions of the complications and commitments of family love and life and the interactions between these people and the society they live in.
See may be one of the great writers of people and their times, of the effect history has on individuals and the impact individuals have on each other. I strongly urge everyone to read this book. View all 15 comments. May 27, Sara rated it really liked it Shelves: This was a powerful novel with an in-depth look at life inside Communist China in the early days of Mao.
It is also a serious examination of love: It was interesting to see the growth of these characters over the course of the books, especially Pearl, who has to deal with her role as a mother and a sister in ways that she never expected to, and in doing so is forced to see herself in a clearer light than is comfortable. Taken together, Shanghai Girls and Dreams of Joy are a great reading experience. They reach a level that neither of them could achieve alone. I was vaguely disappointed at the end of Shanghai Girls, but that was completely erased upon reading Dreams of Joy.
View all 8 comments. This is one of my favorite books of all time! Its the powerful and satisfying conclusion to "Shanghai Girls. If you were awestruck by Lisa See's "Shanghai Girls," prepare yourself for an even finer novel with "Dreams of Joy" completing the tapestry with compelling and mesmerizing redemptive power. Great sense of place and evolution of somewhat flawed, b This is one of my favorite books of all time!
Great sense of place and evolution of somewhat flawed, but totally believable characters. The audio rendition was fabulous. I agree with the reader who said she would give it 10 stars if it were possible. Jan 12, Spider the Doof Warrior rated it really liked it. So there's this book to answer the question. Spoiler for Shanghai Girls, but Joy runs away to China which is the stupidest thing she could do since it's when Mao took over.
Pearl goes out of her way to find her and bring her home. The only problem with this book is perhaps things resolve a bit too neatly. It's why I'd give it more of a 3. The best thing about this book is learning what China was like under Mao for peasants and city folk alike. It was no dinner party, that's for sure. The Great Leap Forward claimed millions of lives, all from starvation. See shows how some even resorted to cannibalism they were so desperate for food.
All I can say is be glad you weren't around back then and try not to complain about your lack of freedom in this day and age and country when you can at least leave your town whenever you want to. The book in terms of things like that is well researched. It's horrible for innocent and naive Joy to go through all of this and have her idealism smacked out of her. This book is good, but the only problem with it is things wrap up a bit too neatly, but considering how much misery Joy, May and Pearl endured maybe they deserved a nice happy ending?
It's not realistic in the sense that they'd probably have problems getting all of these people into America including an artist who did propaganda posters, a small boy and a random Chinese dude, not to mention the baby. And Joy got RID of her passport too. These people have gone through enough. May deserves to get with ZG after years of being separated from him and having to marry a teenage boy.
It doesn't matter that he was developmentally disabled, he really was a nice person. Pearl deserves to be with a nice man like Dun and have an adopted son and her daughter and granddaughter back alive. And Joy deserves to paint beautiful pictures and appreciate both of her mothers and their sacrifices for her. She learned a lot about life and I just want them all to be happy so do NOT write a sequel, Lisa See and make them all miserable again because, they really have suffered enough!
I want to give these people cookies and genuine Chinese food. Also, there's a HUGE continuity error that needs to be fixed. Pearl had a hysterectomy in the last book and shouldn't be able to have periods anymore. Other than that, it's still very good and really lets you know how terrible Mao was and how much his policies made people suffer, starve and die. Not to mention eat children. View all 5 comments. This was a phenomenal follow-up to Shanghai Girls. The themes leaped out at me -- mother-daughter, sister-sister, and overall family relationships tie this whole story together in the deepest of ways, and more than once I teared up while listening; I recently made a pretty big mistake that hurt my parents and my sister, and this turned into such a perfect read when I was searching for a way to mend things, as I listened to Joy and Pearl come back together.
While Shanghai Girls saw Pearl and May growing up and living their lives through the late 30s and into the 50s, Dreams of Joy follows Joy back into what is now Mao's Red China in the late 50s. The research is again impeccable, the descriptions are intimate, and each of the characters are their own person. We come in contact with several old friends and some new ones too. Joy makes mistakes, learns, and grows, as does Pearl. May takes a little bit of a backseat but remains close to the action via her letters to her sister. The ending was everything I wanted it to be.
I actually tweeted the author several times while reading because the book had me so on edge and I was terrified of it not ending positively; so many stories during the Great Leap Forward didn't. Again looking forward to my next Lisa See book! Apr 24, Cheryl rated it liked it Shelves: In Shanghai Girls you read about the Japanese Invasion of China, and follow Pearl and her sister May as they try to escape China after their family unravels.
In order to get to America, they must go through some horrific ordeals. In this book, Pearl and her daughter, Joy are the narrators. Here, you read more about the Chinese "Great Leap Forward. Lisa See highlights once again, the turmoil that women and children face in post-conflict, misogynistic societies. It is raw as it is fluid, and though you can tell that the words and scenes are cushioned a bit in this book, the description of the scenery still remains vivid and authentic--as it should be if one is to reveal real world events to the masses.
So many historical facts abound here, at the core, the story of a mother and daughter trying to reconcile their relationship. Joy though, had the makings of an unreliable narrator and her relationship to Pearl, seemed like a continuation of Pearl's relationship to May. Unlike the authenticity I felt from Pearl and her mom's story, this seemed a bit contrived as Joy seemed to do things that didn't seem to go with a smart, nineteen-year-old American college student who had studied Communism and was raised by immigrant parents who always talked about it.
Even as she saw some things with her own eyes, she remained unconvinced. I saw that frustrating at times. There were moments during the plot, where the setup to the tension revealed everything before it happened. Some things were so plain to see that you wondered why Joy wasn't seeing them. At times, I yearned for more depth to some internal plots, but what I really took away was the wealth of information.
This was one heavily researched book. Could you read this without reading the first book? Sure, you wouldn't be confused. I wouldn't recommend you do that though because the first book in this series adds more depth to the story. Aug 29, Jessica Larson-Wang rated it liked it. My main complaint here was that the suspension of disbelief required for this book was a bit much. I enjoyed the story -- once I just decided to suck it up and suspend -- and the description of the famine that resulted from the Great Leap Forward was heartbreaking, but overall I just couldn't get past how ridiculously improbably the entire scenario was.
Starting from pretty much the first page you have situations that just defy reason. The only real conclusion we're left to draw as readers is th My main complaint here was that the suspension of disbelief required for this book was a bit much.
The only real conclusion we're left to draw as readers is that Joy is just plain stupid, except clearly we're not supposed to think that. We're supposed to think she's just young and idealistic and so in love with Tao from the village and as a result has abandoned all logic.
She makes a series of startlingly bad decisions and she has help making these decisions. Lisa See ultimately spends so much time writing around this overseas returnee premise, piling unlikely scenario upon unlikely scenario, that it almost ruined the book for me. The other major flaw with this book is that if you haven't read Shanghai Girls it won't make any sense. I feel like Lisa See must have just been really attached to her characters and not ready to let them go, but this book would have been so much better if she's just written a new book about the Great Leap Forward with new characters and without the whole return to the motherland premise.
The most interesting characters in the book are the villagers, they're the ones with a real story to tell, not the spoiled 19 year old who thinks it'll be fun to play at revolution for a few years and has the inevitable rude awakening. I'm thrilled that there is a sequel to Shanghai Girls! This looks good; I can't wait to read it. Just can't decide if I should buy the book or read on my Kindle! If you have not read Shanghai Girls yet.. This book was so good; I'm a little bummed out that I've finished reading it.
I'm not going to recap the whole plot because so many other people have done so on their reviews. It's really about relationships within a family, and life in communist China during the 'Great Le I'm thrilled that there is a sequel to Shanghai Girls! It's really about relationships within a family, and life in communist China during the 'Great Leap Forward'. Lisa See has obviously done a lot of detailed research and really brings to life what it was to live under those brutal conditions.
I was crying at the end! But I won't give away the story. Pick yourself up a copy; it's worth it. I'd give it 10 stars if I could! Jun 24, Louise rated it it was amazing Shelves: On August 23, , nineteen-year-old Joy, is a confused and upset Chinese girl. Everything she thought she knew about her birth has been a lie! The woman she thought was her mother was her aunt. His name is Li Zhi-ge or Z. Li Zhi-ge used to pain On August 23, , nineteen-year-old Joy, is a confused and upset Chinese girl. She packs a bag, writes her mother a note and quietly slips out the door. She walks to the nearest pay phone and calls her boyfriend Joe and tells him to get up, get dressed and get on a plane to San Francisco to meet her — they were going to China!
Joe was having no part of that and hung up on her. A beautiful story of a family challenged by tragedy and time, but ultimately united by the resilience of love. Jun 18, Kkraemer rated it it was amazing. Initially, I thought that having Joy and Pearl return to China was such an obvious device that I was disappointed.
Joy was naive, judgmental, and superficial; Pearl still critical.
Not a great leap forward. Then, it got more interesting: Vicariously, I spent time in a commune; I spent time at banquets in Shanghai. Meanwhile, quietly, the characters grow: Joy becomes a fully Initially, I thought that having Joy and Pearl return to China was such an obvious device that I was disappointed. Joy becomes a fully fascinating and very real character, and Pearl changes from a martyr to a woman much more complex, much more real.
By the end of the book an almost Indiana Jones sort of feel NOT a spoiler , I was riveted by their very different stories, and HAD to know what happened to these characters who, initially, seemed so flat and lifeless. How did she do that? See is an amazing writer, and this may well be her best book. Nov 29, Agatha rated it it was ok. I am glad I read this one, to learn the continuing story of sisters May and Pearl, and daughter Joy, but I do not think this book was as good as the previous ones.
We meet up with Joy again as she has run away from home to go back to China to help build the new revolution. It is the s, Mao has come to power in , and Joy is burning with excitement over communes, socialism, etc.
She soon learns that it is not all as romantic as she had thought, however, as she reunites with her birth-fathe I am glad I read this one, to learn the continuing story of sisters May and Pearl, and daughter Joy, but I do not think this book was as good as the previous ones. She soon learns that it is not all as romantic as she had thought, however, as she reunites with her birth-father ZG and travels with him to a commune to try to teach peasants how to paint. Joy marries a peasant in what turns out to be an unhappy marriage but does bear him a child a daughter, a disappointment to the father and his family.
But she convinces her mother that she is happy so that Pearl may feel free to leave for Shanghai with ZG; will they finally get a chance to be together and find love? No, Pearl eventually realizes ZG really was meant for May after all, and she accepts this, and soon falls in love with a boarder in her old family home, Dunn. Eventually, they all escape communist China and meet up with May in Hong Kong.
How did she do that? May 03, Ellie rated it really liked it Shelves: Also in Shanghai Girls. Mainly this was due to two issues: Refresh and try again. I had a hard time relating to Joy at the beginning, and found myself thinking of her as an idiot for the first few chapters, and then beginning to worry about her for the next few chapters, and finally cheering her on for the last half of the book.
The characters also felt a little flat to me. View all 7 comments. Writing a review about this excellent book is difficult. I just do not want to give too much away. Joy is the daughter of May, but has been brought up by Pearl. When she finds out that the two sisters have been lying to her about who is her mother and who is her father, she leaves LA to become a Chinese socialist in Mao Zedong's Peoples Republic of China PRC and find her birth father. Li and visits the countryside. There she falls in love with a local farmer Writing a review about this excellent book is difficult.
There she falls in love with a local farmer and the lifestyle. But things get very ugly. Those who know Chinese history are aware that a horrible famine overtakes China. Joy, her husband, and her baby Samantha almost die.
In the meantime, Mother Pearl has returned to Shanghai to attempt to convince her idealist daughter to return to the United States. This was a serious story, using the failures of the PRC as a backdrop to a beautiful story of a mother's love. View all 4 comments. Dec 05, Ashley rated it it was ok. Since Dreams of Joy is the sequel to Shanghai Girls, there will be some necessary spoilers here. Unable to make se Since Dreams of Joy is the sequel to Shanghai Girls, there will be some necessary spoilers here.
Unable to make sense of the situation, she rashly chooses to run away to China - a country she has only ever known through photographs and the politics discussed in a University of Chicago communist group for Chinese students. When her boyfriend brushes her off as being dramatic, Joy realizes she must make the trip alone. She takes her college fund, buys a one-way ticket to Hong Kong, and makes her way into China. I was expecting the search for Z. The novel is split in equal parts between Joy and Pearl, sharply contrasting life in the village and life in Shanghai as Pearl makes the best she can of her old home and Joy tries to maneuver around her new life as safely as possible.
Like Shanghai Girls, Dreams of Joy constructs a world of political turmoil and tightropes to walk, unpretty goodbyes, and extreme personal struggles, but it did seem to take fewer risks. Throughout Shanghai Girls, May and Pearl learned what true loss was and were subjected to terrors and experiences that changed and shaped them. Throughout the book, Pearl thinks back to the devastating moments in her life - they are never washed away.
What Dreams of Joy does, however, is wraps things in a bow as well as they can be. Some moments are not realistic, seemingly for the purpose of leading in happier directions, and fewer liberties are taken with main characters as with those on the side. The aftermath of gruelling moments is the sequel is not as seriously considered as it was in the first book.
In the midst of extreme China, things are bleak and disturbing, but once the city comes back into sight, the bleakness almost disappears, and Joy and Pearl are back to talking just as they would have in California. The prose also is not quite as beautiful as in its predecessor, though there are a few gems hidden in the chapters. With a good suspension of disbelief, however, Dreams of Joy can be moving and comes with plenty of moments of surprise - a good completion to the story of the two beautiful girls who fled the city they loved and did what they could to survive.
Jun 04, Gwen rated it really liked it. In that book, we followed sisters May and Pearl from their "beautiful girl" days in Shanghai through a perilous and life-altering escape from China, a deliberately long wait on Angel Island and a new life in Chinatown Los Angeles. Dreams of Joy is a mother-daughter story, a story of idealism meeting reality, and the strength of familial bonds. Joy flees to China when faced with a revel "Dreams of Joy" is far more powerful, compelling and altogether richer than its predecessor, Shanghai Girls. Joy flees to China when faced with a revelatory truth.
Vinky Dream of joy - 12 months old. Ups Dream of joy - young class - Excellent 3!! Ups Dream of joy - young class - Very Good!! Oh Yes Dream of joy - open class - Very Good!! Tyra Dream of joy - Stud female!! Welcome our new litter "B2" of border collies!! Unica Dream of joy - young class - Excellent 3!! T-Rex Dream of joy - intermediate class - Excellent 2 Res. Night Rider Dream of joy - open class - Excellent 4!!
Start by marking “Dreams of Joy (Shanghai Girls #2)” as Want to Read: In her most powerful novel yet, acclaimed author Lisa See returns to the story of sisters Pearl and May from Shanghai Girls, and Pearl’s strong-willed nineteen-year-old daughter, Joy. See all 7 questions. Dreams of Joy is a novel by Lisa See. It debuted as #1 in the New York Times list of best selling fiction. In this book See completes the circle she began in.
Zoe Dream of joy - baby class - Very promissing 1!! Underworld Dream of joy - young class - Excellent 5!! Talisman Dream of joy - has first test - BH!! Thank you very much all owners for nice care "our" dogs!! Uno Milagro Dream of joy - Excellent 3!! Ulla Tari Dream of joy - first time in young class - Excellent 4!!
Thank you very much for their presentation!! We are expecting new litter of border collie "B2"!! Our papillon puppies - two tricolor girls! Relax day with friends! Unica Dream of joy - Excellent 2!! Vinky Dream of joy - has first exam F1 on Excellent!!