There was nothing wrong with it; there was nothing really 'right' about it. Like beige slacks- it just is, politely appropriate in its willingness to exist without a real statement or purpose. It goes on and on in a Truman Show fashion, offering little tangible emotion and the constant Bueller... Bueller... Bueller style of story telling. This one was a disappointment after Snow Flower and the Secret Fan although admittedly- what I liked (loved, really) about Snow Flower was the history and the peek into the horrors of foot binding and Chinese feminine culture. The plot line in Shanghai Girls is not so great a stretch from the sadly watery plot line also found in Snow Flower.
You will find an official plot line description at: