Dreams of Joy (Shanghai Girls #2)
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Dreams of Joy (Shanghai Girls #2)

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4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  31,411 ratings  ·  3,522 reviews
In her most powerful novel yet, acclaimed author Lisa See returns to the story of sisters Pearl and May from Shanghai Girls, and Pearl’s strong-willed nineteen-year-old daughter, Joy. Reeling from newly uncovered family secrets, Joy runs away to Shanghai in early 1957 to find her birth father—the artist Z.G. Li, with whom both May and Pearl were once in love. Dazzled by hi...more
Hardcover, 354 pages
Published May 31st 2011 by Random House (first published January 1st 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Praj
May 18, 2014 Praj rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 女性
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sandra
Beautiful, beautiful book...and a bit horrifying as well. I was unaware when I started this book that it was part of a well-known series involving Pearl and Mae, two of the story's main characters. Joy is the 19 year old daughter of Chinese nationals who relocated to California at the start of China's "Cultural Revolution". The book opens with the death of Joy's father and a startling family skeleton revealed. Deeply shaken, Joy leaves the US to pursue her idea of China. Believing, as only a col...more
Ellie
I'll say at the outset: I love Lisa See. I loved On Gold Mountain: The 100 Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family. The Flower Net, Shanghai Girls, Peony in Love, and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. I love her writing, her carefully researched hstory, her political commitment, and deft creation of characters, her portrayal of relationships, especially family ones.

So I was thrilled to win her soon-to-be-published new work, book:Dreams of Joy: A Novel|9500416] from the goodreads giveaway.

But I...more
Meredith
I'm thrilled that there is a sequel to Shanghai Girls! This looks good; I can't wait to read it. Just can't decide if I should buy the book or read on my Kindle!
If you have not read Shanghai Girls yet.. go get yourself a copy.

This book was so good; I'm a little bummed out that I've finished reading it.

I'm not going to recap the whole plot because so many other people have done so on their reviews. It's really about relationships within a family, and life in communist China during the 'Great Le...more
Cheryl
In Shanghai Girls you read about the Japanese Invasion of China, and follow Pearl and her sister May as they try to escape China after their family unravels. In order to get to America, they must go through some horrific ordeals.

"Dreams of Joy" is the continuation of this book.

In this book, Pearl and her daughter, Joy are the narrators. Here, you read more about the Chinese "Great Leap Forward." While not as plot-driven and laced with conflict as Shanghai Girls was, this book is a fictional lo...more
Ashley
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gwen
This is one of my favorite books of all time! Its the powerful and satisfying conclusion to "Shanghai Girls."
Exquisitely written down to the last vivid detail in this amazing journey across 1950s China and into the heart of what it means to be a family. If you were awestruck by Lisa See's "Shanghai Girls," prepare yourself for an even finer novel with "Dreams of Joy" completing the tapestry with compelling and mesmerizing redemptive power. Great sense of place and evolution of somewhat flawed, b...more
Synesthesia
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kkraemer
Initially, I thought that having Joy and Pearl return to China was such an obvious device that I was disappointed. Joy was naive, judgmental, and superficial; Pearl still critical. Not a great leap forward.

Then, it got more interesting: they arrive in 1950's China and serve as sort of tour guides through the various parts of Chinese society. Vicariously, I spent time in a commune; I spent time at banquets in Shanghai. Most interesting.

Meanwhile, quietly, the characters grow: Joy becomes a fully...more
Lisa Gricius
Lisa See is an amazing literary voice. I have read all her work and she never disappoints. Her lyrical prose transports me. I have never been so vividly transported to China before reading her most recent work, "Dreams of Joy". Dreams of Joy tells the story of Joy, a Chinese-American at the the time of the inception of Mao's Great Leap Forward. A heartbreaking tragedy and a family secret come to light sends Joy on a journey to China to find herself and her biological father. Joy is idealistic a...more
Louise
On August 23, 1957, nineteen-year-old Joy, is a confused and upset Chinese girl. Everything she thought she knew about her birth has been a lie! The woman she thought was her mother was her aunt. Her aunt is actually her mother, and the man she loved as her father turns out not to have been her father at all and now he’s dead. Her “biological” father is an artist from Shanghai whom both her mother and aunt have loved since before Joy was born. His name is Li Zhi-ge or Z.G. Li Zhi-ge used to pain...more
Agatha
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gwen
"Dreams of Joy" is far more powerful, compelling and altogether richer than its predecessor, Shanghai Girls. In that book, we followed sisters May and Pearl from their "beautiful girl" days in Shanghai through a perilous and life-altering escape from China, a (deliberately) long wait on Angel Island and a new life in Chinatown (Los Angeles). Dreams of Joy is a mother-daughter story, a story of idealism meeting reality, and the strength of familial bonds.

Joy flees to China when faced with a revel...more
Lisa
Jul 12, 2011 Lisa rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Lisa by: Callie
Shelves: audio
Very well written and took many twists that I was not expecting. I learned a lot about Communist China that I found interesting and want to learn more.
Jessica Larson-Wang
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Merchickety
Dreams of Joy (Copied from my blog A Satisfying Affair)(Note: This review contains spoilers for Shanghai Girls by Lisa See. It would be difficult to avoid Shanghai Girls spoilers here, as Dreams of Joy is a sequel to that book, but I promise Dreams of Joy will not be spoiled here.)

I have been a fan of Lisa See ever since I first read Snow Flower and the Secret Fan four years ago. I’ve found all of the books by her that I’ve read well-written and engaging, and every time I read something new from...more
Ellenjsmellen
I enjoyed this book more than Shanghai Girls. I'm sure there will be another to come out based on the characters.
Judith
For readers of Shanghai Girls, Dreams of Joy offers closure.

While Pearl is a complex woman, Joy is vapid, and where See's past novels depict a China of grace alongside scenes of brutality, Communist China is rendered with all the dreariness it deserves. As a result, while Dreams of Joy may be historically accurate, it is relentlessly bleak. In addition, the plot is far-fetched. For reasons that are not convincing, Joy, a University of Chicago student, impulsively visits China to meet her biolog...more
Dynasti
“My mother used to tell me that Heaven never seals off all exits.”


I loved this book as much as I loved the first Shanghai Girls and other Lisa See books such as Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.
I should start off by saying, oddly, I've never been interested in Chinese culture or Chinese anything. Its so big and always booming and so constricting (or at least that's how I've felt) that I never sought interest in it, which yes, is rude and awkward. But Lisa See and her books alone have made me mor...more
Amy Meyer
Dreams of Joy by Lisa See

Publisher: Random House
Published Date: May 31, 2011
ISBN: 978-1400067121
Pages: 368
Genre: Historical Fiction; Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Book Summary: In her beloved New York Times bestsellers Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Peony in Love, and, most recently, Shanghai Girls, Lisa See has brilliantly illuminated the potent bonds of mother love, romantic love, and love of country. Now, in her most powerful novel yet, she returns to these timeless themes, continu...more
Michael
If you want to read/understand about China without it being 'helped' (all pun intended towards "The Help") along by strange, stilted "orientalist" notions of how it used to be in the old times, this would NOT be the book/series to read.

As an articulate asian (from Singapore), it pains me to read such trash passing off as historic fiction/filtered through what are very much western eyes (doesn't matter if the writer knows Amy Tan or has See as a surname) and targeted to what are clearly western n...more
Mary (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 he...more
♥Xeni♥
I didn't like this book very much at all. Mainly this was due to two issues: this was picked by my book club before I had read the book preceeding this one (Shanghai Girls Shanghai Girls by Lisa See) and I really did not identify with the main main character, Joy, at all. (Her mother, the secondary main character, was much more sympathetic to me).

Let me explain:

So this book starts out right after a huge family altercation where Joy (19 years old, of Chinese heritage, but born and raised in the U.S.) finds out that her...more
Larry
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" 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...more
Gerund
American author Lisa See’s Dreams Of Joy is a disappointing sequel to her previous offering, Shanghai Girls.

That 2009 novel chronicled the lives of sisters Pearl and May Chin as they fled Shanghai upon its fall to the Japanese and end up in Los Angeles’ Chinatown. In this novel, the journey is taken in reverse: Joy, born of May but raised by Pearl, runs away from home and heads to China, partly due to family drama, partly because she has become involved in a communist club at college and now wan...more
Eileen Souza
Finally - a proper ending to a story that started several years ago with Shanghai Girls. I have read them back to back, and I believe they must be read that way. They are two pieces of one book, not two separate novels.

Dreams of Joy does stand on it's own two feet - there are no extended "memory sequences" (thank god), and the story is entirely new - though still tinged with the deep feelings of the first novel. In this story we follow Joy and Pearl to China and the separate journeys that they e...more
Melissa Prange
Dreams of Joy was a decent story with vibrant settings and lackluster characters. I had never read the first book in the series, and after reading this one, I don't think I will bother to try it. Lisa See obviously has a talent for creating atmosphere and setting. Unfortunately, she doesn't appear to give the same exacting concern to her characters. After completing the novel, I realized that there were no characters in this book that I cared about. I either disliked them or was completely apath...more
Gloria Bernal
My,oh my! I have to admit that I've often found history boring, and I never really thought I'd like to read about the plight of the Chinese during the reign of Mao-Tse-Tung, and all that went on during the Great Leap Forward, in the PRC (Peoples Republic of China). However, with Ms. See at the helm, the journey you make with Pearl back into Red China is unforgettable, literally.

Very strongly recommend the reading of Shanghai Girls first, to get the most out of this work. It was also wonderful. T...more
Rosanne
In Dreams of Joy, Lisa See continues the stories of sisters Pearl and May who we meet in Shanghai Girls. As the last book closes, Joy discovers truths about herself that she never knew before. The woman she has called Mother, Pearl; really isn't her mother. Pearl's sister May is. Joy flees the United States to Red China to search for her real father and to seek exhile from the memory of her American father's suicide which she feels responsible for.

Joy does not make this journey alone. Her mother...more
Amy S
Just finished this book yesterday. I have to say, I was not a big fan of the first in the series, "Shanghai Girls." In fact, I went back to see what I rated it and was surprised to see I gave it a four! I was sure I must have left a three. I was not planning on reading the sequel at all, but a friend of mine had purchased the book and passed it on to me, where it has since sat on my shelf for six months until this week, where I couldn't put it down.

Wow. The character development, the writing, a...more
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Lisa See is a Chinese-American author. Her books include Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (2005), Dragon Bones, and On Gold Mountain. She was named the 2001 National Woman of the Year, by the Organization of Chinese American Women. She lives in Los Angeles.

More about Lisa See...
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan Shanghai Girls (Shanghai Girls #1) Peony in Love On Gold Mountain: The One-Hundred-Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family China Dolls

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“As she spoke, I wanted to cry, because sometimes it's just so damn hard to be a mother. We have to wait and wait and wait for our children to open their hearts to us. And if that doesn't work, we have to bide our time and look for the moment of weakness when we can sneak back into their lives and they will see us and remember us for the people who love them unconditionally.” 39 likes
“Seeing something once is better than hearing about it a hundred times. Doing something once is better than seeing it a hundred times.” 19 likes
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