Saturday, January 7, 2012

Shanghai Girls - Book Review

One week into January, and I've read not one, but three books!  The first one I already reviewed on my most recent post.

50 Book Challenge.

#2) Shanghai Girls, by Lisa See.  I chose this book for our monthly bookclub based on the website  I was trying to figure out what to read next and typed in "What Should I Read Next" into google, not expecting anything like this site to come up!  You type in the name of a book that you liked, (I typed in "Secret Daughter"), and the site comes up with a list of books!  I had read, and enjoyed, most of the list it provided, but this was one that none of us in our bookclub had read.

This book follows the lives of two sisters who are sold into marriage by their debt ridden father from China into a life in the USA.  It talks about many political issues between the USA, Japan, and China as part of the historical context of the book, including the Nanjing Massacre, the rise of Mao in China, Angel Island in the US, and the Chinese-American issues and the way the USA treated Chinese citizens.

I have to admit, that up until a couple of years ago, I was fairly ignorant of these issues, and until this book had never heard of Angel Island.  However, two years ago, we hosted a student from Nanjing in our home for 4 months.  She would become very offended if people thought she was Japanese (we had hosted Japanese students previously, so some of our friends assumed she was from Japan as well).  I must have asked at one point why she did not like Japanese people, and she was surprised that I did not know about the Nanjing Massacres where thousands of Chinese were raped or killed by the Japanese when they overtook Nanjing. 

If you would like to read more, here is a link to an article about it on Wikipedia. 

The 60th anniversary of Mao being instated in China occurred while she was with us, and she streamed part of the celebration online to show us, including the military parade.  The politics of China are fascinating to learn about, no matter which side you of the equation you belong to.  This book will allow the reader to read a little about characters who are both for and against Mao. 

3) A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider, collection of short stories.  This book was given to me for Christmas, and is a collection of short stories, both fiction and non-fiction, written by Christian Canadian authors.  One of the authors is a friend of the person who gave me this book, and she signed her story in the book.  My favorite stories were the ones that made me cry.  Lost: One Green Scarf, a non-fiction story by Vilma Blenman, about how losing a scarf brings back the memories of losing two children to stillbirth, as well as Live Life to the Full, a non-fiction story by Evangline Inman about her son dying were my two favorites.  They hit close to home having had two children of my own die neo-natally. 

1 comment:

  1. Cindy,
    I listened to Shanghai Girls, and the sequel - Dreams of Joy on CD's I checked out from the library - they weren't exactly uplifting as so much of what they went through was horrible - but I'm still glad I "read" them.



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