Monday, May 31, 2010

Week 21: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan - Lisa See (269 pages)

This project has introduced me to many great new books and this week, I will say that it also introduced me to some new technology. I read this book on the Kindle, by Amazon My good friend Claudia let me test-drive her Kindle to see if it was something that I might want to purchase. I must say that I enjoyed the book more than I enjoyed the device that I used to read it. 

This book takes place in 19th century China, in the inner realm of the women of the country. The story focuses primarily on Lily and Snow Flower, two young ladies from the Hunan province. The story takes us from their lives as young children to the mothers that they become.

This is an interesting book because it deals very little with men. This story took us into the brutal world of foot binding. It taught us about the secret language, Nu Shu, that women used to communicate with their female relatives and friends once they were married out to their husband's homes and this book also spotlights the laotong friendship between girls. The laotong is a lifelong friendship that is sometimes even more sacred and special than a marriage. 

The author made this story of fiction read as if it were the events of an actual woman's life. Lily, our narrator, is so real - you feel as if you can Google her or look her up on Wikipedia and this whole story would be corroborated. The conditions for women were brutal and they weren't expected to live past the age of 40. Women we told that they were useless and that the best that they could do was to marry out to someone respectable and bring in gifts and money for their family.

I found that, though Lily had a tough life, I sometimes didn't like her. I understood her reaction to many situations, but her intense need to be loved put her in precarious situations and in the end lead to a miscommunication. I am never a fan of 'the miscommunication' as a plot point, but LISA SEE handled this miscommunication relatively well. 

This is an excellent novel, if you enjoy the Kindle - check it out on that medium. I will go back to the old standard for next week's offering.


  1. Great review! I also found this book fascinating and well written. Glad you enjoyed it - even if not for the Kindle. :)

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