Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Dreams of Joy

by: Lisa See

I read the first book Shanghai Girls a few months ago. I was shocked when I finished the book because it ends so abruptly, I wanted to know what happened. I looked up Lisa See's webpage to find out that the 2nd book had just come out so I waiting to get it from the library. I am still actually on hold 225 of 264, to be exact! Having gotten into e-books, I found out that you can request e-books from the library. They only have a few books available but Dreams of Joy was one of them. I was only 3 of 3 on the waiting list and finally was able to download it to my itouch to read! The crazy thing is that the book is 1,575 pages! A big book, even bigger on such a small screen!

Dreams of Joy picks up from where Shanghai Girls left of. Joy found out that her father, who had just died was not her birth father. She also discovers that her aunt is really her birth mother who gave her to her aunt, Pearl to be raised as her daughter. (In protection during their arranged marriages). Joy realizes nothing she knew is true and she wants to find out who she is, so she goes to China, after being born and raised in California, to find her birth father, who does not even now she exists!k

When her mother, Pearl, finds Joy gone the next morning she follows her back to her home country, China, to find her. She fears the worse, that her daughter was killed for being a communist trying to enter the country from America. (At this time the boards are closely watched for who goes in and out).

The story follows both of their journeys into China. How Joy is hit with a reality she didn't expect. Her father takes her from Shangai to the country. They are there to teach the country people of art. They have no running water and very different beliefs than she was raised with.

It also follows Pearl returning to the home she thought she would never see again to find a daughter she doesn't know will accept her anymore. When Pearl finds her daughter she struggles to regain her daughters trust.

Joy falls in love and wants to live in the country rather than stay in Shangai. Her mother, Pearl and her new found father try to deter her but she will not listen. But once married and her parents leave she is left to realize things were not like she thought they were.

This story is heart wrenching. From the Chinese culture and the things that those people endured under their leadership as a nation is just amazing. It's also sad to know that the stories she tells are from different people she has spoken to, to put in this story.

You have to read the series to find out what becomes of them all; Joy, her aunt Mae, her mother Pearl and her father, Z.G. It's a story that keeps you reading to find out what happens.

I have really enjoyed reading Lisa See's books. But I'm also interested in China. May not be for others but she is a good writer. Would recommend to give them a try.

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