Shanghai Girls: A Novel
by Lisa See
Paperback- $12.55

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “A gifted writer . . . explores the bonds of sisterhood while powerfully evoking the often nightmarish ...

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  "Another wonderful novel by Lisa See" by calli42 (see profile) 05/30/09

Loved this book! Couldn't put it down. Lisa See provides a beautifully-written account of sisters escaping Shanghai and coming through Angel Island to LA and their lives in Chinatown. Twists and turns keep you engaged and surprised. Insightful and entertaining. Great story.

 
  "Shanghai Girls" by ksmsmo (see profile) 09/17/09

I found the story of the narrator and her sister interesting from a historical point of view, although graphic and generally unpleasant. In the telling of their story, one is definitely left with a vivid picture of what life was like for Chinese immigrants to the US in the 1940-50s. I did feel as though the author were trying to include every anecdote she came across in her research for the book. I also hated the ending which leaves much unresolved. Is Ms. See planning a sequel for this story?

 
  "Love Lisa See" by wcrispe (see profile) 09/28/09

I have read Snowflower and Peony (which was my favorite) and now Shanghai Girls. This is a beautiful story of sisters, respect, obligation, honor, misunderstanding and duty. Lisa See transports you into this time with vivid imagery and grace. We passed this book around as our in between book and everyone is praying for a sequal. This will not disappoint if you are a Lisa See fan.

 
  "The Shanghai Girls by Lisa See" by skarohlid (see profile) 10/02/09

Our book club thought this was a wonderful book to read and discuss. It is a story of mothers, daughters, and sisters and how they complete the circle for each other. Set is pre-WWII China and the USA, the historical content was stunning. Many of use did not know what was going on politically in China at that time. Wonderfully written and thoughtfully told by Lisa See.

 
  "Chinese Sisters become Americans" by lollygil (see profile) 10/11/09

 
  "Shanghai Girl" by brenee1973 (see profile) 03/17/10

Fascinating. I learned a lot about the era.

 
  "Shanghai Girls" by swooten99 (see profile) 04/01/10

I really enjoyed reading this book. Some parts are hard to take, but life can be worth the struggles.

 
  "Shanghai Girls" by Wednesday Night Book Club (see profile) 04/02/10

Half of the group liked it--interesting and liked the cultural aspects. The other part of the group thought it was slow and gloomy.

 
  "Review of Shanghai Girls by Lisa See" by rrrbcprez (see profile) 04/02/10

Shanghai Girls is a delightfully intriguing and gripping novel about a relationship between two sisters whose lives are so intertwined that the only time they part is when the story ends. See paints a very vivid picture of China and China City in LA; she captures the essence of your anticipated emotions as the characters experience fear, tragedy, joy, anger, and even bits of peace and contentment.

I am surprised , at first, by the lack of respect and honor that Pearl and May have for their parents and their culture until I realize that it is my own perception and stereotypes that have allowed me to believe that they should be behaving in any other manner than the young, carefree girls that they are. For me, this book really brought to light a lot of my misconceptions, prejudices, and ignorance and ultimately made me feel ashamed and embarrassed. I judged Pearl and May for not being more aware of their surroundings and for being so self-absorbed during the war, but here we are today, at war, and I am truly no more aware than they were. I, too, am comforted by the false security and the belief that “it can’t happen to me.” I started to question the validity of the history being marked in the book, because I knew that it was marked at a time when African Americans were going through hell in America, then, feeling ashamed and embarrassed by my ignorance in believing that African Americans were the only ones to every go through any major prejudices, segregations, and discriminations here in America. I even felt ashamed for feeling satisfied when there was mention of the African American struggle because in all of my teachings and readings, light had never been shed upon the Chinese American culture or struggles.

This story is interesting enough that it easily wisps you away; it captivates you and moves you from chapter to chapter wanting more and more. Just as you start to get a little bored with the story near the end, BOOM, you’re hit with another surprise and then you are let down by the ending. There are some predictable moments in the novel that you can guess early on, but you find yourself wanting to read on to see how it will unfold. I have rated this book a four because a story with such a strong beginning and an author with a talented writing style could have given us a much better ending, but also, because the story engaged me in a culture that I have always found mysterious, structured, and meek only to find that they, too, are ordinary.


 
  "Shanghai Girls, good read" by Amanda0518 (see profile) 04/10/10

This was a book where I found it difficult to like the characters overall. But, they were very well written and interesting. Overall the story was compelling, however I am someone who prefers a bit more closure in my endings.

 
  "Shanghai Girls" by gourmet (see profile) 04/28/10

This is a story of two sisters who grew up to become beautiful models in a wealthy Shanghai family. Their father loses everything and sells them into marriage to two brothers. What happens after their marriages and how they survive is fantastic, informative and inspiring.

 
  "Shanghai Sisters" by kenkar75 (see profile) 04/30/10

Our group loved the book. Brought out much discussion about birth order and appreciation for life here in the US now for us, but understands the struggles that all cultures have gone through.

 
  "Shanghai Girls" by amkessler (see profile) 04/30/10

I truly enjoyed this book. It had amazing and intricate plots and underplots. Once you start, you will not be able to put it down.

 
  "The Girls" by FriendshipSisters (see profile) 05/05/10

You will love learning the culture of the Chinese people while embracing these two women. They overcome so much to run from the heartache in China only to find heartache in America. They endure so much but are always strong and have an endearing spirit. I truly loved this story and know that you will as well.

 
  "Shanghai Girls: A Novel" by Karen Luca (see profile) 06/04/10

 
  "Shanghi Girls" by wilharleybook (see profile) 06/16/10

 
  "Shanghai Girls" by Mary60 (see profile) 06/25/10

I enjoyed the book and found the history of the relationship withe the Chinese immigrants extremely interesting. The story between Pearl and May and their extended families was very interesting and kept my attention throughout the novel. It led to much discussion in our book club and I would recommend it to other book clubs.

 
  "Shanghai Girls" by ChrisA (see profile) 07/08/10

Set during a slice of history I was unfamiliar with; Japanese invasion of Shanghai in 1937 and subsequent Chinese immigration to the US. A story unfolds about the relationship between two sisters as they face a fall from an affluent lifestyle due to their father's debts, are sold into marriages, escape the Japanese and start lives as poor immigrants in LA. Although never living apart, each of them faces this new life and the choices before them in an entirely different manner. This story makes one face the ugliness of how we treat each new wave of immigrants in this country; and it also begs us to think about what makes up a family.

 
  "Shanghai Girls: A Novel" by sorsopkel (see profile) 07/10/10

 
  "Shanghai Girls" by KathieM (see profile) 07/28/10

I felt as if I experienced Chinese life from good to bad. I learned quite a bit from their culture and struggles.

 
  "An eye-opening immigrant experience" by dchase21 (see profile) 07/28/10

This historical-fiction novel by See is a realistic portrayal of the Asian immigrant experience. Such a different story than the European immigrant has to tell. A sad commentary on the prejudice of the US towards the Chinese and their difficult plight and determination to assimilate in American society as well as maintain their culture. The bonds and betrayal of family are at the forefront of this very moving, enlightening novel. Tremendous discussion book.

 
  "Shanghai Girls" by flickingerkaren (see profile) 07/29/10

 
  "Shanghai Girls" by kramerjanie (see profile) 08/18/10

It was a really interest book. I learned somethings regarding the Chinese American experience.

 
  "Shanghai Girls" by lyndah (see profile) 08/18/10

i enjoyoed this book. Informative about China's history and how the U.S. treated Chinese people. You can only feel sorry for Pearl as she tries to make her way in the old and new world. May, you sometimes want to hit her upside the head, but you have to admire her for what she does to help her sister. The sister bond is so clear in the book.

 
  "Shanghi Girls" by LanaK (see profile) 08/18/10

Very interesting and eye-opening regarding the life of Chinese women 1937 - 1957. Great read and discussion for book clubs.

 
  "Shanghai Girls" by jank858 (see profile) 09/09/10

 
  "Shanghai Girls" by lonwheels (see profile) 09/28/10

Not as good as Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. I like the book because of the history lesson, but was not in the right frame of mind to read a tragic story.

 
  "Shanghai Girls" by dborda (see profile) 10/27/10

Without giving too much away, the ending is very abrupt. However, the beginning of the book with the details of Shanghai was interesting. We wished there had been more bright spots in an otherwise dark depiction of the lives of these two sisters.

 
  "Good story" by mpaniaguatej (see profile) 10/30/10

that portrays the Chinese-American experience since the beginning of 20th century until the 60s. A story of racism sometimes forgotten because its protagonists have not have a voice, not even now.

 
  "Shangai Girls" by birmanmom (see profile) 12/15/10

As a 2nd generation American whose family came through Ellis Island it was exceptionally interesting but upsetting to learn about the Chinese trials and tribulations coming through Angel Island. The story also shows no matter what the difference in cultures families are so often the same across the world. This was one of my favorite books of the last year or two and I'm hoping for a follow-up book. The end really left me caring about these people and what happens next.

 
  "The Shanghai Girls" by 65onthego (see profile) 12/16/10

 
  "Shanghai Girls" by acelis (see profile) 01/17/11

I really enjoyed the book up until the ending. I did not care for the ending. It was so flat compared to the build up. Otherwise a beautiful and tender book about the bonds of family.

 
  "Shanghai Girls" by mistyviolet (see profile) 01/22/11

We had one of our most interesting discussions with this book. Everyone found the book fascinating and informative and were eager to talk about what they had read. We found ourselves referring to today's news on discrimination and immigration and referring to sections in the book. Many of us knew little about Angel Island or the discrimination facing Chinese immigrants. Those who had read See's earlier books found this one more interesting and believable. We especially liked the references to real people and events.

 
  "Wonderful!" by rdfstrong (see profile) 01/24/11

 
  "Don't miss" by gigipuppet (see profile) 02/08/11

 
  "Shanghai Girls" by 1morechapter (see profile) 02/14/11

Snowflower and the Secret Fan tied (along with The Book Thief by Markus Zusak) for my top book of 2007, so I was very anxious to read the latest book by Lisa See. It did not disappoint. In fact, I am now fairly certain I will want to read most, if not all, of Lisa See’s works. Though I didn’t feel it was as good as Snowflower, I still thought it was excellent and will definitely be reading the sequel.

The novel takes place mostly in the 1940’s and 50’s, and I just love the sense of history in See’s novels. It was so fascinating to learn about the Chinese immigration process and the discrimination they endured, the dynamic of Chinatown, and the workings of the new Hollywood. Not to mention the intense relationship between Pearl and May, two sisters who are thrust into a completely new life with only each other as a reminder of the old. I also appreciate the female perspective on all their difficult situations.

Though I thought the ending of Shanghai Girls was a bit abrupt until I realized a sequel was in the works, I thoroughly enjoyed this story of sisters and the almost unbreakable bond they share.

 
  "Shanghai Girls" by jencygan (see profile) 03/27/11

 
  "Shanghai Girls" by hbrugger (see profile) 04/01/11

 
  "shanghai girls" by msharry (see profile) 04/10/11

Our club had one of our best discussions with this book-how life can change for you in an instant, war, racism, sense of duty and lack of it, sacrificing for ones family or living for one's own good, mother/daughter and sister/sister bonds.

 
  "Shanghai Girls" by nursetonnie (see profile) 04/22/11

This book follows two sisters from mainland China to the United States. It gives great discussion about relationships between sisters, parents and children and husbands and wives. There is so much to talk about. Beautifully written.

 
  "Interesting" by hopewellmomschool (see profile) 05/03/11

Coming from the midwest and knowing almost nothing of Chinese history this was fascinating. The good stay-at-home sister and the career sister and all that life brings them. Good women's club choice.

 
  "couldn't put it down" by ShanaM (see profile) 05/11/11

enjoyed this book!

 
  "Very informative!" by DaniCaraveo (see profile) 05/11/11

What happened to the Chinese prior to and during WWII --- this book gives you the insight into this difficult time. I think many of us forget that the Chinese also battled Japan and through the family dynamics and "illegal immigration" many survived but were tarnished. Historically accurate and gracefully written.

 
  "A story of tragedy and triumph!" by grid306 (see profile) 05/18/11

 
  "Part One" by Neyly (see profile) 05/22/11

I liked the book BUT it leaves the story unfinished - definitely a Part One/to-be-continued ending. Book clubs should be aware of this and maybe even make plans to read the sequel next (out May 2011). Still, plenty of discussion topics. Most in the book club liked the book, but a few members found it too dark. Most of us lacked foreknowledge of that particular slice of history, so learned a little about the Japanese invasion of China and a lot about Chinese immigration and assimilation into America.

 
  "Shanghai Girls" by blawrence (see profile) 06/03/11

 
  "Interesting read" by bets174 (see profile) 06/03/11

 
  "Lots of Talking Points" by becGrey (see profile) 06/03/11

This book was very interesting and good. It really makes you think. It makes you want to read the next one to find out what happens to the family.

 
  "Shanghai Girls" by teach817 (see profile) 07/12/11

 
  "Interesting characters and well written, but depressing." by Edithmv (see profile) 08/01/11

 
  "Shanghai Girls: A Novel" by mkrupiak (see profile) 11/27/11

This book was a real piece of history intertwined with a sad, and yet inspriring story. I liked the two sisters from the start and was amazed after all they had been through they never lost sight of what was importatnt; staying together, their bond. It was a really good read and I would recommend this book to everyone, especially if you have any interest in the Chinese culture in America.

 
  "I Loved It" by kayis2cute (see profile) 01/20/12

I loved this book. I thought it was a great story. Very well written, dramatic, interesting, and heartbreaking. I recommended it to my club and we are reading it this year.

 
  "Shanghai Girls: A Novel" by Hanknlori (see profile) 02/10/12

 
  "Shanghai Girls" by jenwhitesc (see profile) 03/16/12

Way too depressing and predictable. What else could possibly go wrong. One of our members read the sequel, and it seemed worse than this book! The tragedies continued!! Boo Hiss!

 
  "mixed opinions" by ThePageTurners (see profile) 03/16/12

Overall our group decided to give this selection 3 stars. However, this book did evoke lots of mixed emotion, reaction and opinion. As we pointed out in our discussion you may find yourself feeling as boxed in as Pearl, the storyteller. At times Lisa See leaves you felling exhausted, irritated and helpless, much in the same way as her main characters.
Please Note: One of our members was compelled to read the sequel and found it to be equally horrific BUT, she kept on reading and we were all anxious to hear the outcome.

 
  "Shanghai girls" by Maurice (see profile) 06/08/13

 
  "Historical Lessons" by rfescobedo (see profile) 11/09/14

I so appreciate the honesty Lisa See had when addressing the uncomfortable topic of the treatment of Chinese immigrants. It was moving and incredibly intimate. I was surprised by some of the events and would have liked more closure for the main character.

 
  "" by kstalbaum (see profile) 11/13/14

 
  "" by Dianalynk (see profile) 11/13/14

 
  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 02/21/17

I was disappointed with the ending.

 
  "" by klilly57 (see profile) 02/23/17

 
  "Shanghai Girls" by nmsanders34488 (see profile) 02/23/17

Great selection for book club. 41/2 stars!!!

 
  "Shanghai Qirls" by sandhill (see profile) 02/24/17

Very informative about a different place, time and culture, and the relationship between two sisters forced by their father into unwanted marriages and a completely new culture.

 
  "Shanghai Girls:A Novel" by AnnFant (see profile) 02/25/17

Enjoyed the adventures of the girls - sad at times.

 
  "" by mcduff1065 (see profile) 04/26/17

 
  "Slow start, but picks up quickly after - very addicting" by cespana23 (see profile) 08/18/17

Great book about the strength and changing nature of our relationships with people, places and time. The author is great at describing places and eras in a way that transports you there. Overall, great book and the cliffhanger convinced me to read the sequel (also very good!).

 
  "" by haz36 (see profile) 08/20/17

 
  "" by kayaking2 (see profile) 05/25/18

 
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  "" by aderoz (see profile) 01/09/19

 
  "" by LitChick (see profile) 02/21/19

 
  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 05/10/19

 
  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 06/19/19

 
  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 08/29/19

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