Friday, August 27, 2010

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See

Sisters Pearl and May Chin are beautiful girls in 1937 Shanghai, living it up and having the time of their lives, until their father loses all their wealth and can't pay his gambling debts.  He sells the girls to brothers who have come to China from Los Angeles in search of wives.  When Japan invades China and war breaks out, the girls set out on a journey to America.  It is a pretty good story, but I was disappointed in the way it was written.  The entire novel was written in first person present tense (Pearl is the narrator), and it seemed to be just a listing of events (almost "this happened, and then this happened, etc.").  And the author spent more time telling us what happened than showing us.  I didn't used to understand the difference until I read this blog post by Vivian Swift.  I rate this book 3 out of 5.


Kathy A. Johnson said...

I generally don't care for books written in the first person--one of my reading quirks. I usually find it quite annoying and have sometimes put aside books written this way.

I've been enjoying your reports on the books you've been reading. Thank you for sharing!

Are you familiar with Dani Torres' blog, A Work in Progress? (It's one of the blogs on my blogroll.) I've gotten some terrific reads from her recommendations, books I'd never heard of and probably wouldn't have picked up on my own. Of course, she writes about what she reads so eloquently that I want to read nearly everything she talks about, and my TBR list is growing wa-a-a-y too long! Be warned!

Anne Gaal said...

Hi, Cheryl! Sorry you didn't enjoy this one. I really liked it. I read Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See first, and then this one.