Dreams of Joy

Dreams of Joy

by Lisa See

Judy Stanton (10/14/11): I'm not always crazy about sequels and often don't like it when writers hook you into a second book. But Lisa See did hook me into Dreams of Joy pretty quickly and, near the end, I couldn't put it down. A follow up to Shanghai Girls, the story takes place in the people's republic of china. The historical description of the great leap forward, the travels, customs and propaganda..slogans...was very interesting; but it was surpassed by the graphic description of the famine which was so disturbing and real on a personal level, with characters you come to know and care about. Lisa See is an excellent storyteller, pitting generations, relationships, and strong emotions against each other for a compelling read. Well done!
Rating: *****

Gwendolyn Waring: I really enjoyed this sequel to the Shanghai Girls. Although not as compelling as "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan." Lisa See weaves a compelling and gripping story of mother love and Chinese communist culture in the fifties. The story is told in two narratives, that of the mother and the daughter. An interesting and skewed rendering of the Chinese Communist government. Clearly there existed corruption and repression in a fanatic political system that paralleled McCarthyism in this country during the same period of time. However, the book depicts no sympathetic Chinese loyalists which seems extremely harsh to me, given the brief references of reforms that benefited women in China during this period. But, I may just be naive.
Rating: ****

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