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helenliz

helenliz

Dreams of Joy: A Novel

Dreams of Joy - Lisa See Written in the first person by a mother and daughter, this tells of family strife and what you would do for those you love.Joy is the daughter of Chinese immigrants to the US, although at the opening of the book she's discovered that she is, in fact, the biological daughter of her aunt. She's also 19 and incredibly naive and idealistic. In a fit of teenage tantrum, she runs away to China to find her real father and live the socialist dream. It doesn't quite work out like that. Joy's (upbringing) mother Pearl left China years ago, but steels herself to go back and find her daughter and bring her back to the US again. Along the way she discovers that life isn't always what you expect.I struggled with this. It is the second book of a series, and there were times when I felt I'd missed something, but those were relatively few. I just didn't understand Joy at all. I can't remember ever being that idealistic and found her hard to fathom. At times it felt she was cutting of her nose just to spite her mother. Joy seemed far more rational. But the story didn't ever move me, and it had a rather over blown quality about it, as if the hardships had to be so extreme that you could never imagine anything worse - and in that way the book lost a certain credibility. It discusses propaganda a lot, how what the people were told differed from what they experienced. This had that same air of unreality to me. I'm not trying to say that the experiences of people at that time weren't this hard, just that the depiction of them in this book didn't ring true in the telling. I found the chapters written by the two women difficult to distinguish, as I felt neither had an individual voice. If I hadn't looks at who was speaking I'm not sure I'd have known from the text. And when the two women have very different upbringings ages & experiences, surely they would speak in a very different manner. Strikes me as a book some people would love - but not me.