Author: See, Lisa
Title: Shanghai Girls
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: 2009
Number of Pages: 314 p.
Geographical Setting: Shanghai, China and Los Angeles, United States
Time Period: 1937-1957
Series: Not Applicable
Plot Summary: Two sisters, Pearl and May Chin, are beautiful girls who live life to the fullest in 1937 Shanghai. Unfortunately for the girls, their father has arranged marriages for them to reconcile his debts. Additionally, the Japanese open fire on China. Under great difficulty, Pearl and May immigrate to the United States to meet up with their husbands, but suffer countless delays and tragedies. Many historical characters and events fill the book. The engaging narrative, with powerful descriptions, well-developed characters, and heart wrenching events, creates a richly detailed account.
Subject Headings: Sisters, Fiction ; Chinese, United States, Fiction; Immigrants, United States, Fiction; Family secrets, Fiction; Chinese, California, Los Angeles, Fiction; Arranged marriage, Fiction; Historical fiction.
Appeal: Engrossing, measured, deliberate; atmospheric, candid, dangerous, evocative, introspective, melancholy, moving, thoughtful, unsettling; detailed character development, detailed secondary character(s) development, realistic, sympathetic; family-centered, linear, resolved ending, thought-provoking; intimate; classic, unpretentious.
3 Terms that Best Describe this Book: Character-centered, bittersweet, detailed setting.
Similar Fiction Authors and Works:
Jamie Ford, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, examines a Chinese coming-of-age story during World War II. Similar theme, complete with family relationships, but with a multi-layered plot.
Jeannette Walls, Half Broke Horses, is a true-life novel set in the American West at the turn of the 20th century. Comparable with respect to character development and frame detail.
Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors
Rhoda Janzen, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress : A Memoir of Going Home, follows the introspective journey of a Mennonite who returns to her childhood roots.
Christopher Buckley, Losing Mum and Pup : A Memoir, examines Christopher’s self-discovery after losing his parents in his fifties.
Annotation by Carlen