Kyrsta's Reviews > Shanghai Girls

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
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's review
Sep 30, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: asia, historical-fiction, read-in-2011

This is the story of two beautiful girls from Shanghai whose lives are turned upside down when their father forces them into arraigned marriages with two American brothers. Gone is their carefree life of beautiful girls—posing for paintings to sell cigarettes to soap, wearing beautiful clothing, and hanging out with friends until the early morning. Shanghai is under attack from the Japanese and the girls’ home life is also falling to pieces as their father has lost everything. In order to fix his financial problems he sells his daughters into marriage with two American brothers who are looking for Chinese wives. The girls are then forced to leave their beloved Shanghai, the Paris of Asia, for Los Angeles. The journey is full of difficulties and setbacks but the girls stick together and learn how to survive in this dangerous world on their own. Once they arrive in America, it doesn’t get any better as the girls are detained at Angel Island for months waiting to be allowed into the country. Finally once they are presented with their identity cards the girls move into their in-laws house and are forced to work for the father-in-laws many business for long hours with no pay. Throughout the story the girls and their new family struggle for acceptance and freedom in their new country—neither of which comes easy for them.

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