Sunday 7 August 2011

Honeymoon Reading So Far - Dear John / Shanghai Girls

I've been driving all day (from Houston towards New Orleans) and we've decided to stop and spend the night in a hotel in Lafeyette, Louisiana to recharge the batteries so I've actually got time to update my blog with the books I have read so far on my trip :)

But first I must say that driving in America is weird.  And it's not just the wrong side of the road thing, because I was expecting that, it's all the little things like you have to push your key in to take it out (you don't at home), the gas pumps sometimes have levers, and there's no clutch pedal to control speed when slowing down so I've been coming to some sharp stops!  But I've not crashed so far!

On to the books!

I wanted something light as a plane read, so I chose Dear John by Nicholas Sparks.  It's about a long-distance relationship between John, who is in the army, and Savannah.  After 9/11, John re-enlists and this puts pressure on his relationship.  I've not read anything by Nicholas Sparks before, or even seen the film of The Notebook, and I wasn't overly impressed.  It was nice to read a romance novel from the point of view of the man, but I didn't really care about either character and as such wasn't affected during the tear-jerker parts.  I don't think I'll rush to read Nicholas Sparks again.
Source: Owned
Score: 2.5 out of 5

My next choice was Shanghai Girls by Lisa See.  I recently read and enjoyed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, so couldn't wait to read this one, and liked it even more than Snow Flower.  May and Pearl are sisters living comfortably in decadent 1930's Shanghai and working as models.  When the Japanese attack, they are forced to migrate to America, where they encounter prejudice and hardships.

This novel is one of my stand-out favourite reads of 2011 so far.  I wasn't expecting it to be as gritty or in-depth as it was and I loved how the relationship between the two sisters was portrayed, especially as I'm very close to my own sister.  The immigrant experience was captured well, as was the fear of all Chinese in America after Mao came to power, and the involvement of the FBI.
Verdict: Not a happy story, but a powerful one.
Source: Kindle
Score: 5 out of 5


  1. I've never had an urge to read Sparks-- so I'll won't have trouble avoiding Dear John,

    Shangai Girls sounds like a winner-- I'll keep an eye out for it at the library.

    I know exactly where you are-- you must eat at Prejean's in Layfayette-- so good! My fave is always the crawfish platter-- it has crawfish 4 or 5 ways-- and really can there ever be too many crawfish?

    Have fun on your honeymoon!

  2. Absolutely loved both of those Lisa See books too. She can really just put you into a story, can't she? Have a great time and be careful on the roads!

  3. Lesa - Hope you enjoy Shanghai Girld. And I saw your message after we had already left Lafayette, unfortunately. We're in New Orleans sampling the Cajun food now :)

    Annette - Have you read Dreams of Joy? Can't wait to read that one!

  4. I really want to read Shanghai Girls! My library has a downloadable audio version of it available, but I'm thinking it might be one I'd really enjoy in print...

  5. Shanghai Girls - I won a copy and it never got here!! Sparks - read one and it did not impress me much.

  6. I loved Shanghai Girls,too. I haven't read Snow
    Flower yet but I think there is a movie coming out.

  7. i enjoy The Notebook movie...but, don't really enjoy Nick Sparks either!

  8. Nicholas Sparks is way overrated.
    And The Notebook wasn't awesome though it had Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams!