Shanghai Girls

Shanghai Girls - Lisa See Best-selling author Lisa See's "Shanghai Girls" covers a 20-year period in the lives of two sisters, Pearl and May, during their lives in both China and the United States. Our initial introduction to the two girls shows a well-to-do family with traditional parents and daughters yearning to be modern -- they work as artists' models for a painter who creates "beautiful girl" advertising images.The girls are sold into marriage to satisfy the father's debts, on the eve of the Japanese invasion of China. Their parents are murdered, and yet they escape the country and come to San Francisco's Angel Island immigration station. There, they are detained for several months. The younger daughter, May, has a baby during that time and asks Pearl to pass the infant off as her own because she has never had intercourse with the man whom she married -- the man whose United States citizenship will eventually get them out of the immigration station and into Los Angeles' small Chinatown.When the girls arrive in Los Angeles, nothing is as they were promised. The family that they were told was quite wealthy lives in squalor, for example. Three generations live in a small apartment and work in the father-in-law's various businesses. The challenges of adjusting to a new culture and family life are detailed throughout the rest of the book.See writes intelligently about the challenges of immigrants to the US during the time of the Chinese Exclusion Act, anti-miscegenation laws and legalized racial discrimination. She also details the situation of first-generation immigrants trying to cling to the old customs and traditions as their children try to reject them entirely.This novel was gripping from page one until the very end, which left me wanting more, Well worth reading.(Review based on Advance Readers Copy.)