Tuesday, May 31, 2011

DREAMS OF JOY: REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY

GIVEAWAY ENDED 
DREAMS OF JOY 
BY LISA SEE

ABOUT THE BOOK:
In her beloved New York Times bestsellers Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Peony in Love, and, most recently, Shanghai Girls, Lisa See has brilliantly illuminated the potent bonds of mother love, romantic love, and love of country. Now, in her most powerful novel yet, she returns to these timeless themes, continuing the story of sisters Pearl and May from Shanghai Girls, and Pearl’s strong-willed nineteen-year-old daughter, Joy.

Reeling from newly uncovered family secrets, and anger at her mother and aunt for keeping them from her, Joy runs away to Shanghai in early 1957 to find her birth father—the artist Z.G. Li, with whom both May and Pearl were once in love. Dazzled by him, and blinded by idealism and defiance, Joy throws herself into the New Society of Red China, heedless of the dangers in the communist regime.

Devastated by Joy’s flight and terrified for her safety, Pearl is determined to save her daughter, no matter the personal cost. From the crowded city to remote villages, Pearl confronts old demons and almost insurmountable challenges as she follows Joy, hoping for reconciliation. Yet even as Joy’s and Pearl’s separate journeys converge, one of the most tragic episodes in China’s history threatens their very lives.

Acclaimed for her richly drawn characters and vivid storytelling, Lisa See once again renders a family challenged by tragedy and time, yet ultimately united by the resilience of love.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Lisa See is the New York Times bestselling author of Peony in Love, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Flower Net (an Edgar Award nominee), The Interior, and Dragon Bones, as well as the critically acclaimed memoir On Gold Mountain. The Organization of Chinese American Women named her the 2001 National Woman of the Year. She lives in Los Angeles.

ABOUT THE VIDEO:
"Beauty and the Book" interviews Lisa on YouTube. In this video which runs about eleven minutes, Lisa gets into talking about both SHANGHAI GIRLS and DREAMS OF JOY as well as some of her research that is fascinating and relates to the books as well. Lisa even cooks a typical recipe in it and has a make over! She ends with a book club asking questions and having a discussion about DREAMS OF JOY. I hope you take time to watch.


GUEST REVIEW:
Lisa See’s DREAMS OF JOY is the sequel to SHANGHAI GIRLS but it does very well as a stand alone book.  Before writing this book, Lisa See was invited to visit Huangcun Village in Anhui Province in China. In the Acknowledgments, you can read more about her inspiration for this book. In Anhui, she heard stories about living in the countryside in the communes during the Great Leap Forward.

The location of the story was changed so See could create Green Dragon, but the stone bridge and temple in the story and gorgeous landscape were of Anhui. This is special to me since I had some family friends who lived in Anhui during the Great Leap Forward. Most people are familiar with the Cultural Revolution but not with the Great Leap Forward which preceded it.  This was Mao’s big experiment. He wanted to surpass Great Britain and later the United States in production of agriculture and manufacturing. To do this, he had 700 million people put into communes in the countryside. Some of the people were delegated to smelting iron instead of farming sapping the workforce. Leaders of the commune were trying to impress Mao and beat the other communes in production so they ordered changes to proven farming practices. Those changes would have tragic consequences later.

Lisa See wove the lives of Pearl and May from ‘Shanghai Girls’, and the daughter, Joy, into the stories that she heard in Anhui. The character, Joy grew up in Los Angeles’s Chinatown with her mother and her aunt. She was young, naïve, trusting and believed everything that she heard from a group in college. The FBI considered that group to be Communist.

Joy thought if she was in China she would sing songs in the fields, sharing meals in the commune and everyone would be equal.  She overheard an argument between her mother and her aunt one night. It uncovered a secret about her which was one that she could not understand. Then she felt that she really didn’t belong with her aunt and mother or that she could understand them anymore. She wanted to find her birth father now that she knew that had two fathers.

Pearl to me is the universal symbol for mother, protective, always loving and caring for all children even all human kind. As you read the book, you may want to think about whom Joy ultimately symbolizes.
 

The book is easy to get into and holds your attention all the way through. The characters are well developed and some of the scenes of beauty are so intense that you need to stop and enjoy them. Also some of the scenes are so horrible that they are difficult to imagine that they are true.

What are the conditions like when people become inhuman? What caused Mao’s big experiment to fail so bad that even he admitted his failure? During the Great Leap Forward, it is not known for certain how many millions of people starved to death, were tortured and killed. Why did this experiment go wrong? Why didn’t the commune workers rebel? There are answers in this book. How could the concentration camps in Germany have happened?  Under what conditions do people become inhumane? I highly recommend this book to everyone who loves to learn about Chinese history and wants to understand some deeper questions.

---Review by Carol Wong 

MEET MY GUEST REVIEWER:
For those of you who follow my blog and other blogs, I am sure you have seen Carol's name before. Carol is retired, an avid reader, and lives in the Dallas area with her husband and two cockatiels. She has a son currently working in Chengdu, China. Her comments are delightful, inquisitive, and informational as well. I am so lucky that Carol agreed to help me out every once in a while by doing a Guest Review. It is a huge help to me and allows me to have readers see books from another viewpoint other than just mine all the time. I hope you were able to read Carol's Guest Reviews of FAITH and PLEASE LOOK AFTER MOM. If not, take time to do it...you won't be sorry AND you will be able to read more about Carol there! BIG THANKS to Carol!

GIVEAWAY

MANY THANKS TO ERIKA AND THE GREAT
FOLKS AT RANDOM HOUSE WHO HAVE GIVEN
ME FIVE ADVANCE COPIES OF DREAMS OF JOY
TO SEND OUT TO FIVE LUCKY WINNERS
--U.S. RESIDENTS ONLY
--NO P. O. BOXES
---INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS
IN CASE YOU WIN!
--ALL COMMENTS MUST BE SEPARATE TO
COUNT AS MORE THAN ONE!


HOW TO ENTER:

+1 ENTRY: COMMENT ON SOMETHING YOU FOUND INTERESTING ABOVE THAT MADE YOU WANT TO WIN DREAMS OF JOY

+1 MORE ENTRY: COMMENT ON WHAT YOU THOUGHT OF THE VIDEO IF YOU TOOK TIME TO WATCH IT - BE SURE AND MENTION SOMETHING SPECIFIC YOU LIKED OR DIDN'T LIKE

+1 MORE ENTRY: COMMENT ON HOW YOU FELT ABOUT HAVING A GUEST REVIEWER AND IF YOU WOULD EVER LIKE THE CHANCE TO DO THAT

+1 MORE ENTRY: BLOG OR TWEET ABOUT THIS GIVEAWAY AND LEAVE A LINK THAT I CAN FOLLOW
 
+1 MORE ENTRY: COMMENT ON IF YOU ARE A GOOGLE FRIEND CONNECT FOLLOWER AS I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO GET TO 1200 FOR A LONG TIME. IF YOU AREN'T, PLEASE SIGN UP AS IT ONLY TAKE A SECOND ...THANKS!
 
  GIVEAWAY ENDS AT
6 PM, EST, JUNE 11


64 comments:

debbie said...

I would like to read more about the great leap forward. Mao did alot of horrible things, I would like to see how this affected the family in the book.
twoofakind12@yahoo.com

debbie said...

I like having guest reviews, it is always nice to see someone's opinion of the book. I wouldn't mind being a guest reviewer.
twoofakind12@yahoo.com

debbie said...

I am a gfc follower
debbie
twoofakind12@yahoo.com

Renee said...

what makes it interesting? The fact that I enjoy books by the author so I"m sure I"ll like thsi one

reneesuz82(at)msn.com

bermudaonion said...

I got to meet Lisa See when I was in New York and she was just wonderful. I can't wait to read this book! No need to enter me.

Steve Capell said...

This review really got me to thinking about some of the great catastrophes that mankind had to endure. We have leaders / dictators today that would love too follow in the same footsteps of these historical monsters. This book sounds interesting especially if gives some insight into Chinese history. Carol thanks for a great review.

steven(dot)capell(at)gmail(dot)com

Margie said...

I read Secret Fan and enjoyed it. I always find books depicting other cultures fascinating.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Margie said...

I like to read reviews from other perspectives. Good job on the review, Carol...lots of good insights.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Margie said...

follower via GFC
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Margie said...

+5 Swag
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Margie said...

May Facebook Fan bonus entry
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Tore said...

I would love to read this book. It talks about a family. I think it would be very interesting. Please enter me in contest. I am a follower and email subscriber. Tore923@aol.com

traveler said...

I am greatly interested in this compelling novel. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

traveler said...

I like having a guest reviewer since it is interesting to read their thoughts. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

petite said...

This novel would be memorable and special. rojosho(at)hotmail(dot)com

petite said...

Guest reviews are lovely and a great idea. rojosho(at)hotmail(dot)com

Pamela Keener said...

This books sounds awesome. I like that the author does her own research. The review made me want to learn more.
Love & Hugs,
Pam
pk4290(at)comcast(dot)net

Pamela Keener said...

I loved the makeover of Lisa See. especially the feather in her hair. It was an interesting and informative video.
Love & Hugs,
Pam
pk4290(at)comcast(dot)net

Pamela Keener said...

Carol has done a great job as a guest reviewer.
Love & Hugs,
Pam
pk4290(at)comcast(dot)net

Pamela Keener said...

I follow your blog via GFC
Love & Hugs,
Pam
pk4290(at)comcast(dot)net

Colleen Turner said...

While I am a huge reader, I do not know much about Asian culture and history. I would love to learn more about the Great Leap Forward as well as the family dynamic of this part of the world.
candc320@gmail.com

Colleen Turner said...

I think Carol did a WONDERFUL job (hi Carol :)), and I always love reading reviews from multipe different reviewers. I currently review for Vera at Luxury Reading and have had a great time doing it. I would be happy to do the same for Bookin if you need someone to review sometimes!
candc320@gmail.com

Colleen Turner said...

I am a GFC follower (Colleen Turner).
candc320@gmail.com

Colleen Turner said...

+ 5 swagbucks #1.
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Colleen Turner said...

+ 5 swagbucks #2.
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Colleen Turner said...

+ 5 swagbucks #3.
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Colleen Turner said...

+ 5 swagbucks #4.
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Colleen Turner said...

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petite said...

I am a follower. rojosho(at)hotmail(dot)com

petite said...

The video explained everything about the book and the sisters so well. rojosho(at)hotmail(dot)com

traveler said...

I found the video fascinating and wanted to learn more about Shanghai and how it changed. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Renee said...

I enjoy guest reviewers; it gives a different perspective.

REneeSuz82(at)msn.com

Renee said...

I follow on GFC and by email

ReneeSuz82(at)msn.com

Karen B said...

I have not read anything by this author but all the great reviews - thanks Carol! - have made me put her works on my wish lists.

kpbarnett1941[at]aol.com

Karen B said...

I think guest reviews are excellent and I do so enjoy them however, I do not want to participate - just read!

kpbarnett1941[at]aol.com

Karen B said...

GFC follower as Karen B.

kpbarnett1941[at]aol.com

Karen B said...

+5 JUNE FACEBOOK - #1.

kpbarnett1941[at]aol.com

Karen B said...

+5 JUNE FACEBOOK - #2.

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Karen B said...

+5 JUNE FACEBOOK - #3.

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Karen B said...

+5 JUNE FACEBOOK - #4.

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Karen B said...

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Pamela Keener said...

Duffer Awards
Love & Hugs,
Pam
pk4290(at)comcast(dot)net

Connie said...

Hi! I would love to read this book for a couple of reasons. 1. It involves the two sisters and the one sister's daughter.
2. It covers a topic that I don't know much about "the great leap forward"
3. I love the author's previous books. :)

aliasgirl1976@yahoo.com

Connie said...

I am a loyal GFC follower. :)

aliasgirl1976@yahoo.com

Connie said...

Guest reviews are always great to read. I would love to be a guest reviewer on here if the chance becomes available. :)
Thank you for doing this great giveaway!

aliasgirl1976@yahoo.com

lag123 said...

I don't know much about The Great Leap Forward but would love to learn more. I have heard many positive reviews on this book.

lag110 at mchsi dot com

lag123 said...

I watched the video and like the discussion of the girls characters (arranged marriages, models for advertising) and the year 1937. That era of time has always fascinated me.

lag110 at mchsi dot com

lag123 said...

I like the guest reviews. I don't think I am verbose enough to do it myself though.

lag110 at mchsi dot com

lag123 said...

Tweeted: http://twitter.com/lag32583/status/76768169963962368

lag110 at mchsi dot com

lag123 said...

I have followed via GFC for quite a while now.

lag110 at mchsi dot com

Carol said...

I am drawn to books about the struggles of Asian women. What I've read in the reviews tells me I'd love to read another of See's books.

chipotlecraving(at)gmail(dot)com

Carol said...

Carol did a great job. It's always good to read various reviewers' opinions.

chipotlecraving(at)gmail(dot)com

Carol said...

GFC follower

chipotlecraving(at)gmail(dot)com

rubynreba said...

I enjoyed the authors other books and this looks very good.
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

rubynreba said...

I enjoy guest reviews and would rather read other people's reviews than do my own!!
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

rubynreba said...

GFC Follower
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

rubynreba said...

I enjoyed the Cooking with Lisa in the video and how they were making something her family had made for 3 generations.
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

Bethie said...

I think the relationship aspect of the story sounds interesting.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Bethie said...

I follow on GFC

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Bethie said...

I think a guest post can be interesting. Not from me though! LOL

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

heavenisabookstore said...

I am currently reading Shanghi Girls just so that I can read her next one. I just love these books about the culture and the women in these stories. Thanks for the giveaway!
heavenisabookstore@gmail.com

holdenj said...

Since I've read Shanghai Girls, I am anxious to continue the read about what happens to this family.
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

holdenj said...

I am a GFC follower.
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

holdenj said...

I think Carol did a great job! Don't know if I'd want to do it myself, but it's always nice to get another view. Or have a guy's point of view, maybe even of the same book.

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