The story takes you through an emotional roller coaster without being melodramatic, intense without being shallow.
Honestly I liked the open ending, leaving the reader to imagine the Mao's China, the Confession Program, Pearl's journey, Joy's self discovery and makes the reader perhaps design a hopeful return of the mother daughter duo to Chinatown or their loss of soul and self in the new Communist China. But there is a sequel to this book - Dreams of Joy.
Some parts of this books depicted parts of the Chinese culture and it rang so true that it took me back to the time I lived in China.
I shall wait a while to let my emotions and opinions subside before I pick that one up. Or maybe I can't.
Read more about Shanghal Girls on Goodreads here.