Customer Reviews for

Dreams of Joy

Average Rating 4
( 454 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

20 out of 21 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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Page 1 of 23
  • Posted May 23, 2011

    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 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!

    20 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 29, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Delightful read

    I loved reading this wonderful book! Excellent for a hot summer day!

    13 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 5, 2011

    Bound to be mesmerizing!

    The last book, "Shanghai Girls", has lived in my mind for nearly a year now. It was one of those rare books that I didn't want to see end and couldn't put down. The characters were both supremely tragic and yet somehow triumphant; the era and situations very thought provoking. Now, I'll be able to see how the saga continues - yea!! Definately recommend reading the earlier book first simply for context.

    12 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 2, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    ANOTHER HIT FOR SEE!

    DREAMS OF JOY begins where SHANGHAI GIRLS left off, right after Joy, (19 years old), finds out that May gave birth to her. After the fight, Joy, a student at the University of Chicago, decides to leave her university education behind and move to China. Soon after arriving in Shanghai, Joy finds her biological father, a well-known artist, who after the shock that he'd fathered a child with May.

    The author does a wonderful job placing this intriguing family saga in the middle of Mao's "New China" with a balance of bringing the atrocities to light without over powering the family storyline. There is a great lesson in human nature that love, loyalty and perseverance can triumph and survive world unrest. Stunning realism and completely believable characters make this book a hit!

    10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Highly recommended

    This is my first time reading a book from this author and it is a must read..I always read the reviews before i read the editorial reviews and i knew i would like but i LOVED it....Lisa See detailed descriptions of people,places and chacteristics transports you to the same places as her characters. I absolutely could not put this book down. The book is about two sisters that are different in many ways but the same. Lisa tells the story of how Pearl and May go from loving their sheltered,rich and fulfilled life in Shanghai and living as "beautiful girls" (models for advertisements) to poor plain average chinese girls that had to escape their home in Shanghai to go to America to live..Pearl and May was everything a traditional chinese daughter was not..they had dreams,aspirations,goals and they didn't believe in old chinese traditions..but their fate changed for worse not by their own doing but by their father to settle his debts. Their lives took a turn for the worst in the worst way..I can go on and on about this book but i want you to get the entire jest of it..the author is great about educating you on the chinese culture,beliefs and traditions and also language..you can even learn a few words in shanghainese..overall it's a great book,i couldn't put it down and i can't wait until dreams of joy is out so i can dive into that one as well..Well happy reading until next time.

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 26, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    In "Dreams of Joy", See beautifully rounds the circle she began in "Shanghai Girls." In fact, one can argue that you can't really understand "Shanghai Girls" completely on a first reading because the sequel brings a two dimensional perspective to its predecessor.

    See organizes her new novel in four sections -- The Tiger Leaps, The Rabbit Dodges, The Dog Grins, and The Dragon Rises. As in her previous work, it's fascinating to see how her main characters act against the background of their astrological signs.

    Joy's guilt-ridden journey to China to find her father and Pearl's loving pursuit are placed in the context of the tumult and suffering of Mao's China -- especially with regard to the horrific famine by Mao's misguided Great Leap Forward. Yet despite the extreme suffering around them, Pearl, Joy, Z.G., and May are able to find joy and to heal many of the pains of the past.

    I heartily recommend this novel. In bringing joy to her main characters, See brings abundant joy to her readers as well.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 19, 2011

    Highly Recommended Author !!!

    I have not read this book yet but I KNOW it will be fantastic ! Lisa See is a captivating author. If you have not read Snow Flower and The Secret Fan and Peony in Love, please go and get them !!! They are the kind of books you cannot put down. You want to hurry and see what happens yet you do not want to get to the end. Ms. See is a terrific author who brings you into her stories. A+++++++ !!!!!

    4 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2011

    Loved it

    Just finshed it and I loved it, it was great from start to end. Must read for this summer.
    On another note......Everyone who has issues with the cost of the nook book or book, if you have a problem with the price go to the public library like a normal person. It't not fair, to great writers to get crap reviews beacuse you don't like the price.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2012

    Another great Lisa See title

    A bit wary because of some of the reviews, I hesitated in purchasing this book, however after reading it I'm glad I bought it. To be able to be reintroduced to Pearl, May and Joy and to see how life progressed for them was great. Filled with vivid descriptions of China with language that is neither simplistic or overstated, Dreams of Joy is yet another wonderful novel by this great author.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 10, 2011

    Wonderful

    I really enjoyed this book. I recommend reading Shangia Girls first. This book had great character development. I learned a lot. Parts were diffult to read but it was worth it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2011

    Great read.....but read the other three first.

    I highly recommend the whole series by this author. As a former history teacher, I love the way she reveals the history of China, through the eyes of the women in this family. You should read Snow Flower and the Secret Fan first. That introduces you to the culture and the reality of the little value placed on females. From there you go to Peony in Love, which continues with the lives of the women in Snow Flower. You learn about foot binding and ancestor ceremonies and more. The family line is followed in Shanghi Girls and that covers the cultural revolution in China. Now you are prepared to read Dreams of Joy. .....it's a good enough story to stand alone, but I strongly recommend you read the whole series in chronological order.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 20, 2011

    A lot of ups and downs

    This book was interesting because it does not hold back on the harsh reality of the brutality that was endured by the Chinese people under Mao. Some of the scenarios were unrealistic but the over-all effect was positive. A good, fast read beach book that leaves you with some understanding of another time and culture. I will continue to read Lisa See's books.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 22, 2013

    A great sequel to Shanghai Girls

    I first read another of Lisa See's books, "On Gold Mountain". I found this book about See's family fascinating and decided to read more. I ended up reading all of See's books. Dreams of Joy completes the story of the two girls in "Shanghai Girls". The story keeps you wondering what is going to happen and how things are going to turn out. It was well researched and written.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2013

    read Shanghai Girls first

    this book won't make much sense unless you've read Shanghai Girls first. All the characters originate there and this is a good sequel.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 18, 2013

    Very good!

    Beyond the plot and the various interesting characters, I was fascinated by what, in the end, is a barely disguised description—and criticism—of Mao’s disastrous Great leap Forward, and of chinese culture in general.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 17, 2013

    hard to get into but once i did, i couldn put it down... i was t

    hard to get into but once i did, i couldn put it down...
    i was totally ignorant regarding China during this era....wow are we lucky to live in the usa

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2012

    WOW

    I have never read a more powerful book. The history amazed and horrified me. The charactors felt so real. I wish there was anouther book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2012

    One's personal strength to survive

    Just as the first book in this series, a fast reader because of it woven historical events within this families's lives. The strength within comes out when you most need it to survive.

    Have already looked up other Lisa See books and have added them to my must read list!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 18, 2012

    Communist China Brought Alive

    Dreams of Joy
    Lisa See © 2011 (author of Shanghai Girls)
    Random House Trade Paperbacks
    ISBN 978-0-8129-8054-7
    349 pp. plus photos and discussion questions


    After the death of her husband, Sam, Pearl and her sister May (characters in Shanghai Girls) quarrel and reveal family secrets to their daughter, Joy. (Yes, she’s both women’s daughter.) Joy has been influenced in college by tales of how wonderful Communism is in China, so she runs away to Shanghai to find her birth father and help build the ‘new China’.


    Pearl realizes the dangers for Joy so follows her to China, sneaking in through Hong Kong. She learns that Joy found her birth father, ZG, but doesn’t see them for months.

    Joy doesn’t realize their sojourn in a small Chinese village is government punishment for ZG, a famous artist. Joy also falls in love with a peasant boy, Tao, not really understanding the culture and disastrous life in China during Mao’s rule.


    The story brings alive Chinese life during early communism, with a host of characters we can relate to. Naturally, as with any well-written tale, complications set in for everyone. The resolution is surprising, but satisfying and suggests a sequel for May and ZG, plus Pearl and another man, Dun.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2012

    Great read! I couldn't put it down because I wanted to find out

    Great read! I couldn't put it down because I wanted to find out what happens next. The writing flows easily and being Chinese American, it makes sense the way Lisa writes from a Chinese perspective. The way she composes the sentences and uses Chinese words, they are familiar and really adds to the storyline. I hope there's a next book and I can't wait!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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