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'Shanghai Girls' by Lisa See - Book Club Discussion Questions

'Shanghai Girls' - Reading Group Guide


'Shanghai Girls' by Lisa See

'Shanghai Girls'

Random House
In Shanghai Girls, See once again creates a gripping story with believable characters that lets readers live inside a time and place different from our own. Shanghai Girls takes place in Shanghai and Los Angeles during the early twentieth century and follows Pearl and May, two sisters who flee a privileged life in Shanghai when the Japanese invade the city. Use these book club discussion questions on Shanghai Girls to lead your book club into the novel.

Spoiler Warning: These book club discussion questions reveal important details about Shanghai Girls by Lisa See. Finish the book before reading on.

  1. How did May and Pearl change from the Beautiful Girls they were when Shanghai Girls began?
  2. Were you satisfied with the ending?
  3. Did Pearl take care of May more or did May take care of Pearl?
  4. Pearl often seemed to think her sister was naïve. Do you agree with her?
  5. Were you surprised to learn how the American government treated Chinese immigrants in the early twentieth century?
  6. Do you think recent fears about national security have led to any of the same behaviors toward immigrants or minorities as the government and society had toward the Chinese during the 1950s?
  7. Did you learn anything new about the history of Shanghai, the Japanese invasion and Rape of Nanking, Angel Island or life in Los Angeles’ Chinatown?
  8. Why do you think Sam committed suicide?
  9. Why do you think Joy treated her parents and their ways so cruelly?
  10. What do you think will happen between Pearl and May as a result of them telling the complete truth to each other?
  11. Rate Shanghai Girls on a scale of 1 to 5.
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