I don't need to be uplifted when I read or listen to an audiobook, but this book was just too jam packed with unrelenting misfortune - misfortune for the sake of misfortune. At a certain point I gave up expecting anything that was not devastating to happen to either Pearl or May. After a while, the drama loses its power.
I'm in the minority, but I did not care for the narration. It was breathy and overdone - I felt like I was listening to a soap opera actress. In fact, everything about this book reeked of soap opera: double-crossing sisters, rape scenes, parental favoritism, beautiful girls, scoundrels preying on beautiful girls.
I did, however, appreciate that the book was impeccably researched, and I liked learning about L.A.'s post-war Chinatown. I wouldn't say that it wasn't worth the credit and I had no trouble finishing it. I was just glad to be finished. Phew.
Wonderful narration, but the story was difficult and depressing. I wanted to stop listening, but was compelled to continue under the assumption that the characters would experience a happy moment at some time. Their happiness was too brief for me.
Listened for book club and found myself wanting to skip forward several times. The main character is pretty whiny and grates on the nerves (despite the narrator's strangely monotone diction). A good story all around but I just found myself really trying to push through it sometimes.
I had just returned from Shanghai so I wanted to read more about it. I felt I got a good picture of high society before the revolution. The immigrant experience, and its relentless racism is depicted well. The story was predictable, the ending abrupt, and the characters did not stick with me.
This book was fantastic and well narrated. The story keeps you going and the narrator keeps your attention. $ well spent
Positive: The plot and the setting are interesting. I learned a lot about the history of the Chinese-American experience. The narrator was excellent.
Negative: This books is very poorly written -- so much so that it distracts from the plot and keeps the reader outside the story. It is hard to feel for the characters when the writing is so distractingly bad. The dialog was stilted. The descriptions were cliched. The characters were underdeveloped, and unbeleiveable. One sister -- the dragon in the Chinese Zodiac -- is the capable type (who learns her judgment is sometimes flawed). Another sister (the sheep) needs to be cared for (and leans she has some inner strength). The abrupt ending made it feel as if the writer just ran out of ideas or paper, or both. I was traveling and this was my only audio book or I would have put it down. If you are interested in dynamics in Chinese American families, read anything by Amy Tan instead.
This book was interesting from a historical perspective. I actually didn't know much about Chinese history during the early 1900's and what life as a Chinese American was like in Los Angeles.
What I didn't like is that the protagonists were always being beaten down by various forces and there is really nothing that they can do about it. It's really one loss after another through the whole thing.
Reading has been my favorite hobby since I was a little girl! Love Audible. I keep a book going in the car while I drive, and read at home
I loved this book. I not only learned about the culture of the characters but a lot about what went on in California's Asian community during this time frame. I liked it enough to want to read more by this author. I didn't want it to end.