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Dreams of Joy (Shanghai Girls #2)

4.06  ·  Rating Details ·  46,815 Ratings  ·  4,255 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
Paperback, 377 pages
Published February 7th 2012 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published 2011)
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Paula Nelson I think you could enjoy and understand this one without having read the first one but I'd still recommend reading the first one first. I'm sure the…moreI think you could enjoy and understand this one without having read the first one but I'd still recommend reading the first one first. I'm sure the second one gets better reviews because the first one really leaves you hanging. (less)
Marcie From the acknowledgments, it says she went to Huangcun village in Anwei province and stayed in a 17th century villa called Zhong Xian Di. It also says…moreFrom the acknowledgments, it says she went to Huangcun village in Anwei province and stayed in a 17th century villa called Zhong Xian Di. It also says "I've changed much of Huangcun's geography to create Green Dragon Village, but visitors will readily recognize the ancestral temple, the stone bridges, the villa, and the beauty of the landscape."(less)
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Community Reviews

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May 05, 2011 Praj rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 女性
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 28, 2011 Sandra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Dreams of Joy is Lisa See’s sequel to Shanghai Girls, but that isn’t really what it is really the completion of what was, for me, an incomplete story. It would be like having Gone With the Wind end when Scarlett gets back to Tara after the burning of would feel cheated, because you would know there were a lot of important pieces of this story that you didn’t yet know. It just couldn’t have ended there. Everything truly important happens in GWTW after that point, your unders ...more
Gwen Haaland
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
Spider the Doof Warrior
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ashley *Hufflepuff Kitten*
This was a phenomenal follow-up to Shanghai Girls. The themes leaped out at me -- mother-daughter, sister-sister, and overall family relationships tie this whole story together in the deepest of ways, and more than once I teared up while listening; I recently made a pretty big mistake that hurt my parents and my sister, and this turned into such a perfect read when I was searching for a way to mend things, as I listened to Joy and Pearl come back together.

While Shanghai Girls saw Pearl and May g
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
Apr 21, 2011 Meredith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jessica Larson-Wang
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Jun 18, 2011 Kkraemer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 29, 2011 Agatha rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 24, 2011 Louise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 05, 2012 Ashley rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 04, 2012 Gwen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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
Dec 07, 2016 Irene rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a second in a series and I would not recommend reading it prior to reading Shanghai Girls. In the first book, two young women, sisters, leave China fleeing wartime atrocities perpetrated by the invading Japanese and family tragedy to make a home in 1930’s California. Twenty years later, one of their daughters, runs away from a family tragedy of her own back to China where she is convinced the Communist Revolution is building a more just world for all humanity. It is 1957, the start of th ...more
Oct 28, 2011 Ellenjsmellen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book more than Shanghai Girls. I'm sure there will be another to come out based on the characters.
Jun 14, 2011 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 04, 2011 Merchickety rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 fro
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
Lisa Gricius
Jun 06, 2011 Lisa Gricius rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-fiction
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
Aug 20, 2011 Michael rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Amy Meyer
Jul 24, 2011 Amy Meyer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Nek0 Neha (BiblioNyan)
Feb 07, 2017 Nek0 Neha (BiblioNyan) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: chinese-lit
“I remember the story Tao told me about the water buffalo and why it wore blinders. He said the animal’s suffering in this life was punishment for things it had done in a past life. Now I think of a different reason. To make an ox or water buffalo work so hard, it needs to be blinded and uninformed. That’s what the government is doing to the masses now. Why? Because peasants are China’s true beasts of burden. Still, no one blames Chairman Mao.”
Dreams of Joy by Lisa See is a powerful book,
Gloria Bernal
Jun 24, 2011 Gloria Bernal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Amy S
Jun 03, 2012 Amy S rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
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
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Historical fiction? 6 141 Mar 10, 2012 07:03PM  
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  • Spring Moon: A Novel of China
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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...

Other Books in the Series

Shanghai Girls (2 books)
  • Shanghai Girls (Shanghai Girls #1)

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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.” 43 likes
“Seeing something once is better than hearing about it a hundred times. Doing something once is better than seeing it a hundred times.” 26 likes
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