Monday, March 22, 2010

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See *****

"When our hair is white, we'll still have our sister love." Shanghai Girls by Lisa See chronicles two sisters from the Rape of Nanking through World War II and the McCarthy era, juxtaposing traditional Chinese values with Hollywood. These two sisters take very different approaches, but are join by their common fate as Chinese and women during a period when both were discriminated against.

This is an historical novel covering a period when China was under attack, first by the Japanese, and after World War II, by the United States. Lisa See's diligent research and vivid characters unfold an emotional story of perseverance and love. I could barely put the book down as the women escape one crisis only to be trapped by the next. This book is a page turner.

This is the second recent review (A Book for Today: Something Incredibly Wonderful Happens by K C Cole) of a book dealing with the McCarthy era. I notice that many baby boomers and certainly the younger cohorts know little about McCarthy, while the rest of us (old folks) see parallels in the 21st century. While McCarthy is just a small part of this wonderful book, it does provide an added plus by reiterating this sad part of recent American history. These two books remind us that hate and suspicion target people indiscriminately and once unleashed, no one is safe.

Real people, real history, real drama. A book for the heart and the mind.

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