Very busy this week with celebrating our 48th Anniversary and continuing to edit my book plus reviewing for Amazon. So here is a picture from 48 years ago followed by my review of another great and fascinating book:
“Dreams of Joy” is the story of young Joy Louie who leaves her comfortable home in Los Angeles Chinatown for the People’s Republic of China to find both her birth father and what she thinks will be a better way of life. Her association with a communist group at the University of Chicago has led her to believe that socialism isn’t the evil the United States government portrays it to be.
Since her birth father is a well-known artist in Shanghai, in spite of government restrictions, it is fairly easy for her to find him; and after his initial shock of discovering he has a daughter, he seems happy to know her. She travels with him to the village of Green Dragon where she joins the commune and falls in love with a young peasant farmer.
In 1958, Mao announced the” Great Leap Forward,” an attempt to increase agricultural and industrial production. However, three years of floods and bad harvests as well as poor farming methods, severely damaged levels of production. The famine that occurred reportedly resulted in 4.5 million fatalities. The author masterfully transports us to that village and shows us in startling detail the horrors that result from this famine. Her attention to detail is wonderful and, while the book isn’t a page-turner in the sense of a thriller, I was spellbound by the history of a period in China that has always fascinated me.
Although “Dreams of Joy” is actually the sequel to “Shanghai Girls,” which I have never read, I found it stands alone quite well. Now, having discovered Lisa See’s writing, I will certainly go back and read the prequel as well as some of her earlier books. Ms. See is a skilful author who has the ability to transfer the reader to the exotic places she writes about.