Wed 20 May 2015
China Dolls, by author Lisa See, is a novel well worth reading. Set in California around the time of World War 11, the book tells the tale of three young Chinese women and their experiences as professional entertainers in the Oriental nightclubs that were popular at the time.
The three women, Grace, Ruby and Helen, meet by chance at an audition to dance in The Forbidden City Club. They become fast friends, but over the years, their friendship is sorely tried by various life events. All three women are carrying a secret that they keep hidden from the others.
The occurrence of World War 2 creates social and political challenges that ultimately lead to a huge betrayal — a betrayal that threatens to rip asunder the very seams of their friendship.
Like all of Lisa See’s book, this story is a good read, featuring strong female protagonists who ultimately emerge stronger at the end. Also like all of See’s books, this novel serves to educate us about a particular time in history, and how the Chinese people fared during this historical period.
I would have to say that China Dolls is not my favorite of Lisa See’s novels, but having said that, there is no such thing as a “bad novel” if Lisa See is the author. Its a good read, and it gives us a good perspective on the issues faced by the Asian community during the mid part of the 20th century.