Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
This is the eagerly anticipated sequel to See's Shanghai Girls, and what a sequel it is! Continuing the story of Pearl and May Chin, who escaped the Japanese invasion of China during the 1930s, the novel centers on Joy, the daughter that both women have raised, one as aunt, one as mother. When 19-year-old Joy discovers the identity of her "real" mother, she returns to China in 1957. Readers will be drawn in as they experience Joy's life in Mao's Communist China: her life on a commune, starvation, love, oppression, and her fight to stay alive. It's this struggle for life that May and Pearl understand all too well, and it's what sends Pearl back to China. Pearl has the fierce mother love that allows her to disregard her own life to save her daughter. And that's the essential question: What makes a true mother? VERDICT Readers of historical fiction will appreciate the authentic details that See weaves into her novel. You don't have to read Shanghai Girls to love this book, but if you have, this sequel will make you want to reread its predecessor. [See Prepub Alert, 11/22/10; 14-city tour; library marketing; see the Q&A with See on p. 76.]-Marika Zemke, Commerce Twp. Community Lib., MI (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
See revisits Shanghai Girls sisters Pearl and May in this surefire story of life in Communist China. Joy, the daughter Pearl has raised as her own in L.A., learns the truth about her parentage and flees to China to seek out her father and throw herself into the Communist cause, giving See ample opportunity to explore the People's Republic from an unlikely perspective as Joy reconnects with her artist father, Z.G. Li, and the two leave sophisticated Shanghai to go to the countryside, where Z.G., whose ironic view of politics is lost on naive Joy, has been sent to teach art to the peasants. Joy, full of political vigor, is slow to pick up on the harsh realities of communal life in late 1950s China, but the truth sinks in as Mao's drive to turn China into a major agriculture and manufacturing power backfires. Pearl, meanwhile, leaves L.A. on a perhaps perilous quest to find Joy. As always, See creates an immersive atmosphere-her rural China is far from postcard pretty-but Joy's education is a stellar example of finding new life in a familiar setup, and See's many readers will be pleased to see the continued development of Pearl and May's relationship. Looks like another hit. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
See continues the irresistible saga of May, Pearl, and Pearl's daughter, Joy, in a novel set in the immediate aftermath of the emotional events that brought her immensely popular Shanghai Girls (2009) to a fevered conclusion. Reeling with the revelation of her mother's true identity and burdened with the belief that she alone caused her father's suicide, Joy hastily flees Hollywood via a one-way ticket to the People's Republic of China. There she plans to search for her biological father an. beautiful gir. artist Li Zhi-ge, and immerse herself in the communist lifestyle, the rhetoric of which she embraced as a college student. Once she discovers what Joy has done, Pearl travels back to Shanghai at great personal risk to try and locate her daughter and convince her to return home. Both women find a nation in the throes of Chairman Mao'. Great Leap Forwar. campaign, and immediately are catapulted into lives of unspeakable deprivation and gut-wrenching horror. Through the sobering experiences of a naive young girl and the sacrificial actions of her mother, See paints a vivid, haunting, and often graphic portrait of a country, and family, in crisis. .HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The eagerly awaited sequel to the reading-group favorite Shanghai Girls is supported by intensive marketing efforts.--Haggas, Caro. Copyright 2010 Booklist
Kirkus Book Review
In this sequel to See's bestselling Shanghai Girls (2009, etc.), a daughter's flight leads to further family upheavals against the backdrop of Mao Tse-Tung's Great Leap Forward.Twenty years have passed since Pearl and May Chin left war-torn Shanghai for California, to fulfill the marriage contracts their bankrupt gambler father had arranged.Now, Pearl's daughter Joy has impulsively immigrated to China to seek her birth father Z.G., who once painted the youthful Pearl and May for "Beautiful Girl" advertisements. Z.G. is not hard to locatehe is now the New Society's highest-ranking propaganda artist.But he has fallen into disfavor and is being sent to a peasant commune, Green Dragon Village, to reform his bourgeois aesthetic.Joy accompanies him to Green Dragon, excited at the prospect of living the communist ideals that so enthralled her as a University of Chicago student.For a while, the system works: Women are liberated from household drudgery, childcare and cooking (meals are provided by a canteen), crops are plentiful and people are being encouraged to have large families to augment the workforce. Z.G. returns to Shanghai, but Joy, who has married local peasant Tao, remains behind (she'll regret her marriage immediately after a wedding night spent in a crowded, two-room shack). However, soon the Great Leap Forward, thanks to several wrongheaded strategies (among them, plowing broken glass into the fields, overplanting wheat and a war on sparrows which wreaks environmental havoc), leads to nationwide famine.The once tranquil commune is now riven by strife.Under the rule of a corrupt party official who keeps all the food for himself, starving villagers resort to mob violence and cannibalism. Meanwhile, Pearl has arrived in Shanghai and is living in uneasy community with her father's former tenants and working as a street sweeper while she plots to rescue Joy and her new granddaughter.Although the ending betrays See's roots in genre fiction, this is a riveting, meticulously researched depiction of one of the world's worst human-engineered catastrophes.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.