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Dreams of Joy

(Shanghai Girls #2)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  59,155 ratings  ·  4,947 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
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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 ·  59,155 ratings  ·  4,947 reviews

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May 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 女性
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 stars for a story of tragedy, loss and family. This book starts with strong willed Joy rebelling against her mom and running away to China. It is 1957, the year before "The Great Leap Forward", which becomes a catastrophic famine. Recent research suggests about 45 million people died during this man made famine.
Joy has found out that her real parents are not those she believed to be her parents. She is determined to find her birth father in China. She meets and marries a farmer in a small Chin
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)
*** I wanted to share this review because Ms. See has a new book coming out in March, I'm hoping it will be a great one :) ***

This is the follow up to Ms. See's Shanghi Girls. At the start of the story Joy learns the secret that her aunt is her true biological mother. She is angry and defiant and ha also been keeping company with idealists who believe that the "New China" sounds like a great idea.

Joy actually goes to China to find her father and in doing so gives up her US citizenship. She throw
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
May 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 14, 2011 rated it it was ok
I know there was a bigger point here, but I kept thinking "What a dumbass girl..." ...more
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
Oct 12, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Anna by: krys, bn
“Maybe stories and memories are destined to be incomplete...”
― Lisa See, Dreams of Joy

I'm glad I decided to read the 2 stories together since the ending of "Shanghai Girls" is the beginning of "Dreams of Joy".
It's a family saga that spans about 25 years between the two stories; it begins in Shanghai moves to LA then returns to China.
The first part in mostly the story of two sisters, Pearl and May, told by Pearl.

“So often, we're told that women's stories are unimportant. After all, what
Spider the Doof Warrior
Jan 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 29, 2011 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jessica Larson-Wang
Aug 29, 2012 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ashley Marie
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
Aug 20, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Jun 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 21, 2011 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
Jun 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 07, 2016 rated it liked it
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
Book Concierge
Digital audiobook performed by Janet Song.

This is the sequel to Shanghai Girls and any synopsis, no matter how brief, will include a spoiler for anyone who hasn’t read the first book. So, I’m going to dispense with that, other than to say that this book really focuses on China and the results of the cultural revolution.

The novel gives the reader an horrific look at the Great Leap Forward and the devastating results of grandiose ideas imposed with little practical thought. The scenes of privation
Writing a review about this excellent book is difficult. I just do not want to give too much away.

Joy is the daughter of May, but has been brought up by Pearl. When she finds out that the two sisters have been lying to her about who is her mother and who is her father, she leaves LA to become a Chinese socialist in Mao Zedong's Peoples Republic of China (PRC) and find her birth father.

She DOES find her birth father, Z.G. Li and visits the countryside. There she falls in love with a local farmer
Dec 05, 2012 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
"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
Mar 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
After her 19 year old daughter, Joy's, abrupt departure to China in 1957 to find her birth father, Z.G., Pearl heads there as well desperate to find her. Will she succeed? And, with both of their passports seized upon entry by the Communist government, will they even be able to leave China and return to Los Angeles where Pearl's sister, May, waits for them?

After listening to Shanghai Girls and having it end on a cliffhanger, I couldn't wait to listen to this audiobook... and it definitely didn't
Oct 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book more than Shanghai Girls. I'm sure there will be another to come out based on the characters. ...more
Adrea Pierce
Jul 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I began reading this book for two reasons. 1.) Because it fit the requirements of a challenge I’m in. 2.) Because it was there and I had enjoyed Shanghai Girls well enough. That said, I knew that this book revolved about Pearl and Joy and I just didn’t love either of them in the first book and because of this, I wasn’t in any rush to start this one.

Now that I have finished it, I would give this book 10 stars if I could.

It starts where Shanghai Girls ends. Joy has run away to Shanghai to find h
Eileen Souza
Apr 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
Feb 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Wow, I am so glad I carried on to read this second book, with Shanghai Girls being the first one. Most of this book takes place in the 1940’s and 1950’s beginning in the USA. As the story moves to China, It was so engrossing, embracing and teaching us so much about the Chinese Culture and country living in communes under a tough political regiment of Communism, where over the years have given the people good life conditions and really horrible conditions. As Joy starts her adult life following h ...more
Jun 04, 2011 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
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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.

Other books in the series

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

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