Customer Reviews for

Dreams of Joy: A Novel

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

18 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

My Favorite of Lisa See's Books

Goodreads, you are spoiling me for anything other than reading! I had no intentions of whiling away the day by reading a book, but I received my recent win, "Dreams of Joy" on Thursday, started reading Saturday morning and couldn't stop. I have read Lisa See's other boo...
Goodreads, you are spoiling me for anything other than reading! I had no intentions of whiling away the day by reading a book, but I received my recent win, "Dreams of Joy" on Thursday, started reading Saturday morning and couldn't stop. I have read Lisa See's other books ("Snowflower and the Secret Fan", "Peony in Love", "Shanghi Girls") so was very pleased to score this win. "Dreams of Joy" is a continuation of the "Shanghi Girls" story--in some ways I wish I had re-read "Shanghi Girls" before I started "Dreams of Joy", just so that I could refresh the characters in my head.

"Dreams" is the story of Joy, Pearl's daughter. (This is hard, I don't want to spoil the story by sharing too much.) Basically, Joy finds out some family secrets and leaves her home (America) and goes to China, where she buys into the communist philosophy. Along the way she loses her naivety, falls in love, meets her father, learns that she is a strong person, as well as to appreciate her family. Basically she grows up.

Meanwhile her mom (Pearl) follows her to China and learns some things about her ownself, her relationship with her sister, as well as her daughter.

Really liked this book. As in See's other books, you will learn about Chinese culture and history. In this book, there are several characters with bound feet. With the onset of communism, women were discouraged from this practice. In fact, those who had bound feet were encouraged to unbind them, which turns out to be a painstaking process with less than ideal results. Although the feet will unfurl, they cannot be "normal" since the bones were broken in the binding process when they were young. In the afterward the author mentions the photos of Joseph Rupp and his bound feet project. It was interesting to read the stories of these women, who just accepted this rite of passage as necessary to getting a husband, as well as to see their photos. I'd post the website for you to check out, but this site doesn't allow - so, do a search for Rupp Bound Feet Project if you'd like to learn more.

Highly recommend this book!

posted by BabsBonMots on May 23, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

48 out of 128 people found this review helpful.

BOYCOTT THIS PRICE!!!

Everyone, please start boycotting the prices greedy bookstores and greedier publishers are charging for nookbooks. B&N told me when I bought my nook last year that e-book prices would be much cheaper. This store needs to stand by what it advertised a year ago.

posted by Bandito on May 3, 2011

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Sort by: Showing 21 – 40 of 452 Customer Reviews
Page 2 of 23
  • Posted March 2, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    When Joy finds out that the people she has called Mother and Fat

    When Joy finds out that the people she has called Mother and Father all her life are really her Aunt and Uncle and her Aunt is really her biological mother and her father is still in China, Joy is obviously upset. She runs away to China to find her birth father and to help rebuild the new China. Only, when she gets there things aren't really what she thought they would be.

    I liked Shanghai Girls and was really interested when this book came out. You have to read Shanghai Girls in order to pick up on a lot of what has happened. Otherwise you won't understand the reasoning behind why Pearl acts the way she does towards China, Z.G (Joy's father) or May. There are some references to the last book and even though I read it, it was so long ago that some parts took me a minute to catch up on.

    This story is split between Joy and Pearl. After all, Pearl takes off after Joy to China and tries to bring her home. She goes back to her old family house which is now run down and grimy and waits until she can find Joy. Meanwhile Joy is out traveling the country with her father who is an artist, painting, having an adventure and is totally oblivious to the dangers around her.

    This a captivating story about a mother's love for her child and the depths that you will go to to protect them. I enjoyed this story quite a bit and even though Joy annoyed me through the majority of the book by how naive she was being, the second things clicked for her, you started to see the woman that she will become.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2012

    Beauty, love and triumph over horrific trails

    Lisa See’s Dreams of Joy is a follow up to her prior novel, Shanghai Girls. Ms. See is an accomplished novelist and her writing skills incontestably appear in Dreams of Joy. It’s a spellbinding story about youthful Joy returning to communist China and her stepmother, Pearl, purses her in an attempt to rescue her. Joy and Pearl are molded into heroines by overcoming awesome trails and difficulties. The novel has many impressive features. One outstanding quality is the accuracy of the historical setting that reinforces the authenticity of the interactions amongst the characters. Undoubtedly Ms. See did extensive research before writing the novel. The story accurately reveals how people struggled during a tragic period in modern China.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2012

    Hooked!!!

    After reading Shanghai Girls, I couldn't imagine lisa see writting such an amazing sequel. She totaoly proved me wrong! This novel helpednme come to terms with what i experinced in Beijing for 4 months in 2010. Thank you Lisa See for deepining my love for China.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 10, 2011

    Excellently researched and written

    I read "Dreams of Joy" before "Shanghai Girls" as I didn't realize it was the sequel. I do recommend reading SG first. There is so much depth to the lives of Joy, Pearl and May and uncovering the layers is a large part of what makes these novels so real. I had too much information when I read SG and feel I missed out on some of the natural progression of their relationships.

    That said, reading "Dreams of Joy" first allowed me to see that it is an excellent book in it's own right. It does not need "Shanghai Girls" to fall back on, though "Shanghai Girls" does give an enormous amount of background. As I read it, Joy was a strong and determined young woman, misguided by pain, confusion and innocence.

    I reread the beginning of "Dreams of Joy" just after finishing "Shanghai Girls" and realized I had a very different idea of who Joy is - I found her more of a willful, naive girl overall who, when wounded, struck out by making impulsive decisions with no thought or knowledge of how life changing they would be for her and those around her.

    Once again, I am impressed by See's commitment to research and her ability to make history come alive through her fictional characters.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 24, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Couldn't Put This Book Down!

    The characters in this book are well-developed and interesting. I cared about what happened to them! They felt like friends, and I didn't want the book to end!

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2011

    Great Read

    I really enjoyed this even though some might describe it as a "chick" book - and I am not a chick. I couldn't put it down, captivated by the characters and the storyline. It helped that I had recently taken a class on Chinese history so the descriptions of events and the author's technique of weaving the story around major historical events was excellent. I will be looking at the author's other offerings as a result of reading Shanghai Girls and Dreams of Joy. One warning: it truly is a sequel so everyone should read Shanghai Girls first.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 15, 2011

    One of Lisa See's best

    This is a heckuva story. Even if you know something about Mao's China and the Great Leap Forward, this will make it real for you. A fantastic follow-on to her "Shanghai Girls". Lisa See shows her skill as a storyteller and researcher. I can't believe she's not actually Chinese, for she writes like one! She gives Amy Tan and Anchee Min a run for their money.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 28, 2011

    Not her best work!

    Sadly, I wish I never picked up this book. It nearly ruined Shanghai Girls for me. Thumbs down.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 23, 2011

    Superb!

    This book was even better than the last! I really enjoyed the wonderful descriptions of emotions in the characters. I felt like I was truly transported to the time and place. Definitely felt all the suffering, happiness, and love the characters were feeling. I was moved and feel like I learned a bit about history and chinese culture. A superb read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 6, 2011

    bookhounds

    The story of May and Pearl continues through their daughter, Joy. After just escaping the Japanese invasion of China, they must now save Joy from the communist revolution in China. Joy is living the American Dream and while away in college becomes part of a communist revolutionary movement that is taking place on her campus. She is encourage to return to her mother's homeland and help with the revolution, so she leaves her family in a fit of anger and begins a search for her roots. This leads her to discover that her mother and aunt haven't been completely honest with her or themselves.

    This one took me a while to get through and reflect upon. I never imagined the true horror of exactly what happened during China's Great Leap Forward or the toll it took on the people living during this time and from what I read about is still occurring somewhat today. I think anyone who grew up during the 50's-60's heard someone say "Eat your dinner, there are people starving in China" and this story illustrates just how true that was. This one was a bit hard to digest since the story is not a typical one of self discovery but one of just how difficult immigration and escaping the horrors of a homeland that is in turmoil

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 13, 2011

    Very highly recommended

    Lisa See interweaves historical facts with strong characters that keeps you turning the pages into the wee hours of the morning. This will be a book that will long remember and also feel enlighted by the Mao dynasty that was so devastating in China. You'll wake up singing Lee Greenwood's I'm Glad to be an American.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 5, 2011

    Loved it

    I was engrossed in the story from the beginning. There were just enough reminders from Shanghai Girls to be helpful and not redundant.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 25, 2011

    Highly recommended

    For readers of Shanghai Girls and Lisa's other books, this is another winning rendition of Chinese culture during Mao's reign. Her charachters are well developed and the transition from the other books is fluid. I loved every minute and hope to continue reading her books for a long time.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 19, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    A Worthy, Highly-Readable Sequel to Shanghai Girls

    Readers of Shanghai Girls were left longing to know more about the fate of its central characters, especially because their choices and actions were not always clear to contemporary eyes. Dreams of Joy satisfies many, if not all, of those longings. It, too, operates on two distinct but interdependent levels: The actions of the central characters in the foreground and the events in China just before and during the Cultural Revolution. The book returns Pearl, May, and their daughter Joy to Shanghai when Joy flees her American home for her romantic dream of life in Maoist China. Through their eyes we see the true struggles that took place in China, once again juxtaposed to the characters' conflicted views about America. The characters, including two new ones, are well-drawn and captivate the reader's attention. I enjoyed this as much, if not more, than Shanghai Girls and highly recommend it. Once again, See's meticulous research produces a very accurate setting for her story, and her writing brings it to life. Once again, her ending will dissatisfy many -- this time because it is a bit too contrived. Nonetheless, the novel will both educate and entertain. (It will probably stand alone on its own merits, but I recommend reading Shanghai Girls first if you can.)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    lisa see's usual brilliance: joyful, tragic, and ultimately beautiful

    if you enjoyed see's other novels, you will love this one too. she captures the tragedy of the great leap forward (i had nightmares every day while reading, including last night), but the reader's attention is focused on love and longing in such a way that you are driven to hope. you have to keep reading. i live in china, so i feel so close to her subject. i hear the peddlers' chants out my window as i type, and i've driven on the roads see describes...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 2, 2011

    AMAZING!

    Once again, Lisa See brings to life Chinese tradition and history in this amazing sequel to Shanghai Girls! She is a truly gifted writer and I couldn't have been more pleased with this novel.. This book answers all questions you had after reading Shanghai Girls in a truly inspiring book. I feel she "completed" Shanghai Girls in a perfect novel. Absolutely loved it! I look forward to reading her next book ((whenever that my be!!))

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great Author!

    I really enjoyed this book. Lisa's writing style is mesmerizing and easy to read. Recommended.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2014

    Great book!

    I love this book, i thought about it long after i put it down nd has reawakened an interest in Chinese culture for me!

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  • Posted February 21, 2014

    Read Shanghai Girls First to Enjoy Dreams of Joy

    You want to slap the main character, but stick with this book. It gives graphic details of The Great Leap Forward's consequences in the countryside of China.

    If you enjoy historical fiction, this is a great book to read. You might find yourself researching the history (such as The Great Leap Forward), which I did.

    We're reading this book for my book club. Lisa See's books are so well written!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2013

    Dreams of Joy is perfect

    I loved this book! Couldn't put it down!!!

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