September 05, 2012
People of a certain age remember when Communism was considered one of the biggest threats to our country. But, for many of us, the way Communism really works remains a mystery.
This book, Dreams of Joy by Lisa See, is a sequel to her earlier work, Shanghai Girls. The story takes place in Shanghai and the countryside of China during the 1950s. Although the story is primarily about the family dynamics of May, Pearl, and Joy, I found the descriptions of China’s intolerant Communist culture to be even more interesting. It was difficult to read about the corruption at the highest levels under this form of government.
Similar to Shanghai Girls, there are vivid descriptions that may be upsetting. The people in the countryside are allowed to starve so that the people in the cities, especially the party officials, can continue to entertain other countries' representatives with large banquets. Nothing must mar the image of the "Great Leap Forward," as put forth by Chairman Mao.
I found this book very difficult to put down once I started reading it. There is a great deal of suspense, especially in the final chapters.