Customer Reviews for

Shanghai Girls

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

18 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

Another Wonderful Book by Lisa See

Once again Lisa See puts us a land we are unfamiliar with and introduces us to wonderful characters who are experiencing life in an unfamiliar land as well. Our schools don't teach much of Chinese history and Lisa's book educates us in the Chinese experience during the...
Once again Lisa See puts us a land we are unfamiliar with and introduces us to wonderful characters who are experiencing life in an unfamiliar land as well. Our schools don't teach much of Chinese history and Lisa's book educates us in the Chinese experience during the 20th century in Shanghai and also Los Angeles. My mother grew up in LA and I remember her stories of the LA she remembered and Lisa captures the multi-national flavor of the era very well. Her story is a compelling tale following two sisters and their love and friendship that only sisters can have. In Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Lisa explores the relationships of the "sworn sisters". In Shanghai Girls, the sisters are modern and breaking away from the customs of old China, experiencing the bonds and rivalries of sisters, and coming to live and learn a new country and it's ideas. Sadly the story ends all too soon and we are left wanting more. I had the opportunity to ask Lisa about that and she also would like to see the story continue. We are reading Shanghai Girls for our June book club and I am sure that everyone will love this book as much as we have Lisa See's other books. (Her first three mysteries are wonderful, too. Modern day China and it's changes and challenges are the themes.)

posted by 1312409 on May 4, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

7 out of 48 people found this review helpful.

Don't Waste Your Time/Money

A protracted story of 20+ years of un-adulterated misery, where-in the chief intention/payoff is obviously to set up a sequel. You would have to be a real sick puppy to enjoy this book on any level.

posted by 1933373 on October 4, 2009

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  • Posted March 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Very Emotional- Some parts are difficult to read

    I definalty devoured this book, the way Lee painted the picture made it feel like you could reach out and touch the scenary. I will say that certain parts I had to skim over due to some graphic distrubing things the girls had to endure.

    Once they got to America the book did however seem to slow to a crawl, and well the ending was terrible. It's almost like Lee was tired of writing and just left it at that.

    All in all I did love this book, but I wish Lee would have done a better job of closing the story.

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  • Posted February 9, 2011

    Well done, but tiring.

    I enjoyed this book and found the characters to be well developed but I definitely found their struggles to be tiresome. I found myself waiting for their situation to improve at some point but it never does. Their circumstances go from bad to worse and back again. Even in hard times my sister and I have been able to share a chuckle over some story from our childhood or youth or over something funny done or said by our children but there was none of that between these sisters and if there was it gets overshadowed by whatever they are enduring at the time. I would have enjoyed a break from the tradgedy and the drudgery at some point. This story spans a lifetime so surely they would have shared a gay moment or two at some point after reaching the U.S. The ending was rushed and left the reader with no closure and perhaps this is because there is to be a sequel but nontheless it bothered me. To become so invested with these characters and have it end the way it did was not pleasing and I felt somewhat deflated when it was over.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2011

    awesome read

    i like lisa see's books. i thought this book was a great read it took you into a period of time that was such a part of history and was a tragic,heartwarming book that gives new meaning to the loyalty of sisters!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2011

    Easy Read. Good book.

    Could have used a little more debt to each period that the girls went thru.

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  • Posted November 17, 2010

    It got monotonous in some parts.........

    was an ok book to read... bit boring in spots

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Good writing but bad ending

    I enjoyed Lisa See's writing style and even more the vivid descriptions she gives of Old China Town. The charaters were very interesting and I totally got caught up in their drama. What I didn't like is how Lisa ends the book. She brings in a major conflict at the end and leaves without following thru. Some may like to draw their own conclusions on what may or may not have happened. I like for there to be more direct closure. Unless there is a follow up book I was left disappointed.

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  • Posted May 8, 2010

    Shanghai Girls a book by Lisa See

    a book about China and more specifically Shanghai during the late 1930's early 1940's...a well put together storyline where Lisa See thru recounting the story of two sisters offers the reader a historical glimpse into China and also into how "our" world perceived the Chinese immigrants back in those days...all in all a very sad book yet strong for the truths that it discloses...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2010

    somehow, it was not satisfying

    The premise of the novel seemed so promising - two beautiful young sisters living in Shanghai who fall on hard times. Yet as the book goes on, and the protagonists encounter one sad event after another, the story-line gets so one-dimensional that one can almost predict what the end would be. Yes, some books are sad and not every book has a happy ending, but this one seemed a little contrived and humorless. I think my biggest beef is that there seemed to be very little character development.

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  • Posted April 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    it had so much potential...

    This book started out so well! The first few chapters were exciting and dramatic, the Japanese invading Shanghai and how it affected Pearl and May and their family. They were already having problems when their father gambled away all of their money, but then add bombs to the mix and you've got gold! Pearl and May were so out of touch with reality that it took them by surprise. Their father was a coward who disappeared and their mother was courageous and got them out of the city. This is a great set-up to a story that's sure to be breath-taking.

    Not so fast. Toward the middle of the book, the plot really started to drag. It lost so much momentum as years and years went by and nothing happened. People were born, people died (don't worry, I won't say who), but it was a natural cycle of life. The story became jilted and jumped all over the place. As a reader, I couldn't connect emotionally to Pearl because she was very distant and cold.

    The story finally became exciting again toward the end of the book, but then it was over. 5 pages before the end was when things really started to happen and Pearl and May were going to learn the consequences of their lies! Oh, just kidding. The end. A much better way of telling the story would have been to skip all of the boring parts in the middle and focus more on the events at the end of the book and continue from there. I feel cheated and disappointed.

    Another way the book could have been more interesting (and I'm stealing this idea from my sister) was if it was told from both points of view of Pearl and May. It was only told in Pearl's stoic voice. May is a much more appealing character, and it would have emphasized the dichotomy between the two sisters.

    "Snowflower and the Secret Fan" is an excellent book written by the same author. I was hoping this one would be just as good, and it got my hopes up as I read more and more. Unfortunately, though, it didn't continue throughout the whole book, and by the end, I was glad to turn the last page. Though I would like to find out what happens next.....so maybe if she writes a sequel I'll read it.....

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2010

    Wish it was more

    Well, I expected something different from the synopsis and the cover. Never judge a book, etc etc, and it wasn't a bad book, just not what I anticipated. Without giving anything away, a much more traumatic and sad plot, and with a few notable exceptions the characters were a bit of a letdown. Not to say that they did not reflect "real life" in many ways, but I just wish they had developed a little more as people. I was hoping this would be a pass-along book, and it is in that I have no reason to keep it. I also do not have many people I would recommend it to. Sad fluff, in the end.

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  • Posted September 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Lisa See is a Great Writer

    I love Lisa See's books. I love this book too, until the end. It really pissed me off that the story wasn't finished and stops in the middle of everything. I feel cheated. Why didn't you make a longer novel and finish the story, Lisa?

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    Posted December 20, 2011

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