"Dreams of Joy", by Lisa See is the sequel to "Shanghai Girls" (reviewed here). It picks up right where the first novel ended, with Joy learning who her real mother is and fleeing to communist China. This novel made me ponder how individuals tend to think about the proverbial "Grass being greener on the other side". Joy left her life as a college student in the United States to not only search for her birth father, but also to attempt to make a big difference in the world. She had been fed the propaganda that China was feeding the world during this period of time and in her youth thought that a socialistic society was a wonderful thing. Initially upon arriving into the foreign country, Joy had a few misgivings, especially when her passport was taken from her by the country's officials. She eventually found the father she was looking for and traveled to a remote village where she thought the conditions were ideal. Everyone shared everything and everyone was equal; she thought life could not be better. That is until, after living there for a while, she began to see exactly what was happening around her. While the world (and parts of China, itself) was painted the picture of a "perfect" society, the blinders began to fall from her eyes as she saw a country crumbling and people literally starving to death all around her.
If you have not read these two books, I would definitely recommend them. They both have a very well written story line that also includes a good bit of accurate history which was really interesting to me and certainly made the books come alive.
To see these and more books written by Lisa See, click here. I know I will be downloading some others soon on my new Kindle Paper White.