Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Dreams of Joy by Lisa See

Hello All,

Random House very kindly forwarded a copy of Dreams of Joy to me for review. I had heard of Lisa See, but hadn't read anything by her. It was also recommended to me that I read Shanghai Girls by Lisa See first, and I recommend the same to readers of Dreams of Joy. Dreams of Joy picks up immediately where Shanghai Girls leaves off.

Nineteen year old Joy runs away to China after the death of the man she knew as her father, and revelation of a deep family secret from her mother and her aunt. Joy had studied at the University of Chicago, and had heard of the great changes taking place there (1958); she travels to the homeland of her family to join the revolution.

Upon reaching China, Joy searches for and finds her birth father, who is just being transferred to a small village to teach art. Joy leaves with him, and sees how China is really living, though this does not sway her beliefs in the Great Leap Forward.

Joy's mother, Pearl, follows her to China, to find Joy and bring her back to the United States. The search, reunion and the time it takes Joy to become disillusioned with China takes several years, but Pearl stands by her daughter, displaying a mother's strong love for her child.

Both Shanghai Girls and Dreams of Joy are difficult reads, because of so many of the hardships the characters go through; just when you think you can breathe, something else happens. I learned a lot reading these books, but for me, the books were a little more stressful than enjoyable. Yet I kept turning the pages, wanting to know what would happen to these strong women. They are well researched and well written, and the stories told are very interesting. Recommended.

Happy Reading!

Dreams of Joy by Lisa See published May 2011 by Random House: ISBN: 9780679604891

This book was sent to me for review by Random House; no other compensation was offered or accepted for this review.

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