Saturday, March 20, 2010

Review: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

First line: I am what they call in our village "one who has not yet died" - a widow, eighty years old.

From the back cover: In nineteenth-century China, in a remote Hunan county, a girl named Lily, at the tender age of seven, is paired with a laotong, or "old same," in an emotional match that will last a lifetime. The laotong, Snow Flower, introduces herself by sending Lily a silk fan on which she has written a poem in nu shu, a unique language that Chinese women created in order to communicate in secret, away from the influence of men. As the years pass, Lily and Snow Flower send messages on the fan and compose stories on handkerchiefs, reaching out of isolation to share their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments. They both endure the agony of footbinding and together reflect upon their arranged marriages, shared loneliness, and the joys and tragedies of motherhood. The two find solace, developing a bond that keeps their spirits alive. But when a misunderstanding arises, their deep friendship suddenly threatens to tear apart.

My thoughts: This book was the first selection for my new book club. I'm really glad it was chosen as otherwise I'm not sure I would have picked it up myself. I found this book intense yet was mesmerized by the story being told. As I was reading Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, I found myself having to put the book down to digest what I had just read. So many thoughts and questions confront you as you read...would I have wanted my feet bound...would I have had my daughter's feet bound...A compelling read that is one not to be forgotten.  Great choice, book club leaders!
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4 comments

  1. I read another review of this same book today also. I'm very anxious to read it--nice review!!

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  2. Thanks Jeannie...I highly recommend this book. It's such a good read!

    Happy Spring!

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  3. This definitely sounds like a compelling read that opens up lots of interesting discussion. I'm considering the prospect of finding some people to pull a book club together. If that ever happens, I'll keep this one in mind.

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  4. I have read other books by this author and am looking forward to this one.

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