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Lisa_See
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Re: Lisa See, June 8-12

Laura,

 

I completely agree with what you wrote about sisters: Even though my sisters and I have different lives and interests now, we still share a common history, and we are still building our common history every time we interact, in person or by phone or e-mail. 

 

Its that common history that dates back to when you were little kids that is so important. It's one of the things that carry us through our broken hearts, getting married and having kids, watching our parents ail and die.

 

 

Lisa

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Lisa_See
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Re: Lisa See, June 8-12

The next book, as I said, is a sequel. But when I was just in China I also did the research for the book after that.  It will also be an historical novel.  People ask me all the time if I'll go back to writing about David and Hulan, the characters in the mysteries.  I hope so!  But those two have been through so much.  I like to think of them on vacation: on a beach somewhere, sitting under a palm tree, and sipping drinks with little umbrellas in them.
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kiakar
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Re: Lisa See, June 8-12

Lisa,

Fozzie (Laura ) brought up some interesting points about sisters or very close friends. We always look toward forever with them but we can't see into our future to know if anything could separate that love for a time or forever. Well, in a way, that is the way marriage goes also, we do not get married and then start thinking of divorce at the same time. We are thinking foreverTo me, though, it would be easier to forgive a life long sister than forgive a spouse. Why, I guess because the commitment is different but with the right demons in place, all promises can be brokenThat is, your sister has always been with you, your vows to her are mostly unspoken where in a marriage, you meet the person later and then commit to the rest of your lifeI have never had to forgive my sisters of anything in the major league but with Pearl and May, it was a completely different scenarioPearl  was brutally verbally abused by her father. He adored May and doted on her profuselyTo say she was spoiled, put it mildly indeed. She expected Pearl to always do her deeds and I believe Pearl thought that was her role to do just that. Pearl never questions her love for May or May's love for her until the last part of the story. But both girls were genuine in their love for each other I believe. I think May wanted Pearl to be happy with making her happy. That is, May was very selfish and her happiness, in her belief, should always come before Pearl'sBut I do not question the love they had for each other. The closeness probably was due to their age. I was closer to my oldest sister due to being close in age I believe even though my younger sister and I always cling to each other in time of need or when holidays are celebrated. She lives a completely different lifestyle than I do, with ten years between us, its difficult to expand that far between each other. But we are always there for each other.   I do feel it would take a lot for close knit friends or sisters not to forgive each other especially after the hurt has faded some. Maybe some of the closeness would be lost for awhile or forever but the love would push its way back in

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Lisa_See
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Re: Lisa See, June 8-12

I'm so glad you've joined in.  I enjoyed reading what you wrote about the relationship you have with your sisters.  I also have a different relationship with each of my sisters.  I mean that on an emotional level, but I also mean it by blood. I have a former step-sister who I've known now for 50 years. I also have two half sisters who are different halves.  There's a seventeen year spread between us.  What I think is so interesting about siblings is that families -- but also the siblings themselves -- believe all these things.  I guess you could call them labels. There's the tall one, the short one, the thin one, the short-waisted one, the smart one, the sweet one, the one who is Mom's favorite, the one who's Dad's favorite.  But are these things really true?
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kiakar
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Re: Lisa See, June 8-12

 Lisa,

 

I believe all the labels that families use for each other are very hurtful to the person that they are referring to. That is, if they aren't feeling any other worth besides being the short one or the fat oneBut if they are also praised for many other things , it probably could be overlooked as just an assessment of the way they look to others, not what they are really like on the inside. Low self esteem has been great especially amongst teenagers and I believe that labeling if they distinigish it as labeling and they do not have a lot of  good self esteem already will be a negative in their corner.    Of course some things are kinder labels than others. The fat and skinny labels are not properly taken usually. Most of the time we take that as highly critical. Plain and pretty cannot be taken well usually

 

 

I do not remember alot of labeling with my sisters and I and their was three of us or with my three girls either. We use the oldest and the youngest alot. With my sisters ,it was also three of us, sometimes we will pretend it insults us but its mostly kidding around with each otherThey ask me , my daughters, to describe them in one word. The oldest, talented, the middle, smart, the youngest, personalityThey seem to be satisfied with these so called labels. Being all so different I never wanted them to feel less important than the other.Other words that I describe them as starting with the oldest, genial, serious,clownish.

 

My mother had five sisters but I never heard any labels what so ever voiced by their parents. The way we distinguished three of the sisters were the aunt who sews and is not married, the aunt who cooks and is not married and the aunt who lives out of town and is married. And of course the more I think about it, the other two was the aunt who had our favorite cousins and the other one who died young

 

So I guess you would say some labels are impressive by some and not so much by others. I think it all will balance out if the child likes the given praise  for their unigueness

 

I just showed someone my name in your book and that person can't wait to read itI praise it always. Love itNot just my name being there, but the story. :smileyhappy:I have got to get some of your mysteries. I know they are good

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vivico1
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Re: Lisa See, June 8-12

Lisa,

I want to take a couple of things you wrote and put here as I share my thoughts with you, so please forgive me for not taking the entire quotes. It is about these two thoughts:

 

"But sisters can have a special bond that is much deeper than what happs between friends. As sisters, we share the same memories of our childhoods. This becomes very important later in life when the older generation -- mother and father, aunts and uncles -- start to age and die. Pretty soon there aren't many people left who can remember the past -- for good and bad -- with you. Your sister is the person who knew you when and who knew what you came from."

 

"Its that common history that dates back to when you were little kids that is so important. It's one of the things that carry us through our broken hearts, getting married and having kids, watching our parents ail and die."

 

See this is why I think bonding is so important. We may be blood sisters and live in the same house the same time with the same parents, but we may not have the same memories of our childhood. Take May and Pearl. They remember the details but they do not have the same memories of what those meant! Now granted, being blood sisters and at least having the details to go back on, if you are close, or willing to try, you can at least talk about them and come to some kind of understanding about them, as these sisters did. But, I kid you not, in some families, like mine, people don't even seem to have the memories of the same events, that they even happened! If you can't remember the events together, you sure can't share feelings about them or build on them. It is like people sharing the same house and coming and going but never sharing a home, hearth or heritage. We were like ghosts walking through a house of other ghosts, sometimes seeing each other, other times almost walking through each other, like a mist of something there but of no importance. It is very hard to be a little girl and be merely a mist that can not grab hold of those walking by and to touch them is as if you were merely a nuisance of a mist to get through too.

A lot of children in foster care too are there because they were not nurtured and had no one holding them as babies and we know the importance of that. I fostered a 13 year old for awhile who had an attachment disorder. She could not relate to people in a way that would allow her to feel "attached" to anyone. The idea was foreign to her and scary actually.

 

I do envy families who share not only blood but memories and time together, and also see each other, even when they are not in the same city! Without bonding as sisters, do we ever really share the same past or can we? Or is it because we are bonded in a special way that makes us able to share with the past and with the future members of our family?

 

Maybe this is why I am so into geneology too. I have family and often times those from the past seem more real to me, more tied to me, than those of today and sometimes, on a few occassions, I feel like they are there sharing a part of who they were, who I am, with me.

Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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Lisa_See
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Re: Lisa See, June 8-12

Laura,

 

I think you've hit on it.  Do you think sisters are for life because we are related by blood?  Is it true that blood is thicker than water?  I think so, but maybe others have a diferent opinion.  I think we will stick by a sister longer - and through more aggravations, as Pearl does with May -- than we would with a husband or a friend.  And even if sisters aren't all that close, there is, as you wrote, the sense that you will always be there for each other.

 

The other night at a book signing, a woman said to me that she and her sister hadn't spoken in two years. She was waiting for her sister to "get over it," but she had no doubts that she would eventually get over it. 

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Lisa_See
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Re: Lisa See, June 8-12

I'm mixing up the names...AGAIN!!!  My only excuse is that I'm on book tour and tired.
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Lisa_See
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Re: Lisa See, June 8-12

But wouldn't you say that all the things you just listed are labels? They just aren't hurtful ones.  I'd like to be the "genial" sister.  I love the way your aunts were labeled too.  They each had a special talent and a marital status. That's very sweet.  You must have a very kind-hearted family.

 

What I left out earlier is that labels aren't necessarily given by parents but by ourselves.  Those perceptions that we have as kids can be very wrong.  In my family, my son Chris always sits next to me in restaurants. Alexander always sits next to his dad.  There's a perception by them that this is because my husband and I always want to sit next to our most favorite child.  In fact, Chris and I sit next to each other because he's the youngest.  When he was a baby, he sat in a high chair.  As the mom, I sat next to him to feed him and keep him out of trouble.  That has nothing to do with favorites. It grew out of something practical but then settled into a routine that we follow, more or less, to this day.  And Chris is now 24!

Author
Lisa_See
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Re: Lisa See, June 8-12

Vivian,

 

There's no right answer or wrong answer. (Is that what I mean? Something like that.)  Some families have absolutely nothing in common. There's no loyalty, love, interest, or even friendship.  For those of us who have had that experience, it's wonderful to be able to create "families" from friends.

 

Certainly May and Pearl remember and experience things differently.

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Pamela69
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Re: Lisa See, June 8-12

Hi Lisa,

 

Participating in an online book club is a first for me, but I couldn't resist when I was on B&N today and saw the banner promoting your new book and this message board.

 

About a year ago a friend suggested Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.  Loved it...the culture and tradition explained in exquisite detail, the historical impact on the life of a strong central female character.  So I went to the local B&N and purchased all your remaining books except the memoirs.  I adored Peony In Love for the same reasons I enjoyed the first book...Chinese culture and traditions and strong central female character.  I just finished Flower Net and have begun The Interior.  I must say, that I'm not a fast reader but I hope to get a lot done over the summer.  I'm an elementary school teacher so I get little free time for enjoyable reading and when I do, I'm zonked!  So I better get a move on if I'm going to finish The Interior, Dragon Bones, AND your new book, Shanghai Girls.  I'm so excited that you've written another historical fiction.  I wasn't sure what I was going to do when I exhausted your books.

 

I'm a military brat, lived in 15 states and 2 other countries.  I've visited 25 other countries.  I have an insatiable appetite for exploration and travel.  I carry a special fondness for Asian culture and traditions.  As a matter of fact, I was on B&N looking at Rosetta stone Japanese because I'm making a third trip to Japan later this summer.

 

Oh, by the way, am I reading your thrillers in the correct order?  And thank you for all the hard work you do to capture the essence of Chinese culture and tradition in all your books. I can visualize the settings and experience the voice of the characters.  I feel like I'm right there in a remote Chinese villages with Snow Flower and deep in the hutong of Beijing.

 

Pamela

 

 

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Fozzie
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Re: Lisa See, June 8-12 - SPOILER FOR SHANGHAI GIRLS


vivico1 wrote:

Laura, do you see being a victim in general, such as the first ways I mention here, as a flaw? Or do you mean that maybe she allowed herself to be a victim in many ways, because of her own views of the world or how she perceived her treatment by certain people?


I am using the idea as May did on page 297:

 

Everyone wants to come to America for the opportunities.  They came your way, but you didn't take them.  You preferred to be a victim, a fu yen.

 

So, I mean that she allowed herself to be a victim because of how she perceived her treatment by people.

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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Fozzie
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Re: Lisa See, June 8-12 - SPOILER FOR SHANGHAI GIRLS


Lisa_See wrote:

One thing that's interesting about using a first person narrative is that you only have that one person -- in this case, Pearl -- to tell us what she's seeing, feeling, and experiencing.  She's what's called an unreliable narrator.  I hope that readers have already come to some of the conclusions that May has before she speaks them at the end.


I didn't want to use the term unreliable narrator to refer to Pearl, even after realizing just how unreliable she may have been.  I though of the story as Pearl's story, and, as such, was reading it with the belief that it was her truth.  However, as I was reminded in the end, Pearl's truth is not necessarily the truth.

 

One thing that did bother me about Pearl's version of the story of she and May's lives bothered me from Joy's birth onward.  I can't recall even once Pearl considering how hard it must have been for May to act like Joy was not her daughter.  May didn't just have to give up her daughter, but she had to remain present in her life, which, to me, would only add salt to the wound. 

 

I think  one of the reasons May threw herself into her work, and found work that got her out of the house, was to escape Pearl and Joy and their mother/daughter interactions.  By being away at work, May was escaping her own pain, but Pearl thought that May was creating pain for Pearl.

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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Fozzie
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Re: Lisa See, June 8-12

Lisa and Linda, regarding labels and favorites, I can honestly say that I don't think any of us girls (my sisters and I) was labeled or treated as a favorite.
Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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Fozzie
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Re: Lisa See, June 8-12


vivico1 wrote:

But, I kid you not, in some families, like mine, people don't even seem to have the memories of the same events, that they even happened!


My family members don't always completely agree on a memory, and sometimes one person doesn't remember it at all.  Luckily, for us, most of such instances are unimportant and we laugh, most times come to a concensus about what happened, but sometimes just agree to disagree. 

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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Fozzie
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Re: Lisa See, June 8-12 - SPOILER FOR SHANGHAI GIRLS


Lisa_See wrote:
The next book, as I said, is a sequel. But when I was just in China I also did the research for the book after that.  It will also be an historical novel. 

SPOILER FOR SHANGHAI GIRLS 

 

Well, as I said, I already have figured out in my mind what will ultimately happen when Pearl goes to China to find Joy, but that doesn't mean I won't relish your version, Lisa!  :smileyvery-happy::smileywink:

 

And then another historical novel --- yeah!  :smileyhappy:

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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vivico1
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Re: Lisa See, June 8-12 - SPOILER FOR SHANGHAI GIRLS

Gotcha!

I didn't really think you thought all victims are flawed, and that it was something like that (her perception of how people treated her), but had to ask! Darn, there goes a good debate hehe. :smileywink:

 


Fozzie wrote:

vivico1 wrote:

Laura, do you see being a victim in general, such as the first ways I mention here, as a flaw? Or do you mean that maybe she allowed herself to be a victim in many ways, because of her own views of the world or how she perceived her treatment by certain people?


I am using the idea as May did on page 297:

 

Everyone wants to come to America for the opportunities. They came your way, but you didn't take them. You preferred to be a victim, a fu yen.

 

So, I mean that she allowed herself to be a victim because of how she perceived her treatment by people.


 

 

 

 

Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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vivico1
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Re: Lisa See, June 8-12

No, I didn't mean it to sound like there was a right or wrong answer if I did, sorry, it didn't come out right. I believe both worlds exist, the one that it sounds like most of you are lucky enough to experience, the one I envy to the point of it almost being a sin I think! lol And there are those families like mine, and some others, who really are just people sharing a house. It is a shame too really because everyone's life should enrich those they touch don't you think?

 


Lisa_See wrote:

Vivian,

 

There's no right answer or wrong answer. (Is that what I mean? Something like that.) Some families have absolutely nothing in common. There's no loyalty, love, interest, or even friendship. For those of us who have had that experience, it's wonderful to be able to create "families" from friends.

 

Certainly May and Pearl remember and experience things differently.


 

 

Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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vivico1
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Re: Lisa See, June 8-12

hehehe. That's ok Gilligan. lol :smileywink:

 


Lisa_See wrote:
I'm mixing up the names...AGAIN!!! My only excuse is that I'm on book tour and tired.

 

 

Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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vivico1
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Re: Lisa See, June 8-12

OK, my brain may be tired tonight, long hot day, so this post may have been in reference to this already but let me ask if not. Lisa, is this experience with your kids where you got the idea for Pearl and May's perceptions of where they sat and why?

 


Lisa_See wrote:

But wouldn't you say that all the things you just listed are labels? They just aren't hurtful ones. I'd like to be the "genial" sister. I love the way your aunts were labeled too. They each had a special talent and a marital status. That's very sweet. You must have a very kind-hearted family.

 

What I left out earlier is that labels aren't necessarily given by parents but by ourselves. Those perceptions that we have as kids can be very wrong. In my family, my son Chris always sits next to me in restaurants. Alexander always sits next to his dad. There's a perception by them that this is because my husband and I always want to sit next to our most favorite child. In fact, Chris and I sit next to each other because he's the youngest. When he was a baby, he sat in a high chair. As the mom, I sat next to him to feed him and keep him out of trouble. That has nothing to do with favorites. It grew out of something practical but then settled into a routine that we follow, more or less, to this day. And Chris is now 24!


 

 

Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb