Friday, April 24, 2015
China Dolls by Lisa See
Publisher: Random House
The lives of three young Chinese-American women—Grace, Helen, and Ruby—intersect in valuable and often violent ways in pre-WWII San Francisco as they shed their drab former lives to become glamorous entertainers at the city’s rising hot spot, the Forbidden City nightclub. Despite their divergent backgrounds, a mutual desire to shatter the cultural stereotypes that doom them to lives of familial subservience feeds their ambition to prosper in a world in which the definition of success changes minute by minute. Though they’ve taken a “one for all” vow of eternal loyalty, each harbors secrets that cause a pervasive atmosphere of distrust to simmer just below the surface. When Ruby is revealed to actually be of Japanese heritage and deported to an internment camp, their friendships and fortunes suffer a mortal blow, one that only deepens as the war rages on. In her impeccably researched and distinctive historical saga of desire and ambition, betrayal and revenge set amid the glitz and debauchery of burlesque entertainment on the “chop suey circuit,” (Booklist)
I enjoyed this story. The story follows the lives of the three Oriental women as they try to make their way in the world and be successful. This is a time when Oriental women are not expected to make anything of their selves and most are tied very closely to their Oriental traditions. Each woman with their very different backgrounds and desires do become successful in spite of road blocks thrown in their way because of tradition, World War II, and abusive relationships. Grace, Helen, and Ruby, an unlikely trio, share the desire to be successful and respected as women and this is a wonderful story of their achievements.