Shanghai Girls

shanghai-girls Some friends and I started an awesome book club last month.  I had the honor of choosing the book for October and hosting our gathering last night (we established a rule that whoever hosts the next meeting chooses the book).

Hosting book club is intense.  First, you want your book pick to appeal to everyone and, if you're like me, you don't want the members who don't know you very well to find out that you actually enjoy dumb lighthearted books.  Second, getting your house ready can be exhausting, especially if you were raised by a cleaning Nazi like my mother who convinced you that people will definitely notice if you don't wipe down the baseboards, vacuum the lamp shades and clean out the inside of the trash can.  Third, you want to have enough food and drink options so your guests feel comfortable and enough fresh flowers in every room so people think your house always looks like that.  October's book was set in 1930s China, so I made baked ziti.

The day after, I think my first shot at hosting was a success.  The book I chose was Shanghai Girls (MAJOR faux pas on my part: I didn't realize the book was still in hardback and then tried to make up for it by e-mailing Borders coupons to the group.  I hope I'm not forever known as the chick who forced everyone to buy a book in hardback).

A quick synopsis of the book from GoodReads:

May and Pearl, two sisters living in Shanghai in the mid-1930s, are beautiful, sophisticated, and well-educated, but their family is on the verge of bankruptcy. Hoping to improve their social standing, May and Pearl’s parents arrange for their daughters to marry “Gold Mountain men” who have come from Los Angeles to find brides.

A novel about two sisters, two cultures, and the struggle to find a new life in America while bound to the old, Shanghai Girls is a fresh, fascinating adventure from beloved and bestselling author Lisa See.

I really enjoyed the book a lot.  The story takes surprising twists and turns which made for great discussion at our meeting (even if that discussion strayed into how crack cocaine is so cheap which explains "why poor people do it" - HAF).  If any HCG readers are looking for a book club selection, I think it's safe to say this was a solid pick - as a group, we gave it 3.5 out of 5 stars.