Sunday, May 27, 2007


Snowflower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

Friday, March 23, 2007

**This novel follows the life of a young Chinese girl, Lily, through the horrendous act of foot-binding, her laotong friendship with Snow Flower, marriage, childbirth, etc. Lily tries to be the good girl by following the customs and rules of her community until she become rigid and judgmental, costing herself almost more than she is able to bear. See creates a fascinating picture of a culture that is so foreign to what I know and helped me to understand the sensibility and the cruelty involved in that culture. Women are considered useless except as vehicles to produce sons. To be truly beautiful, they must undergo two years of intense pain to create "golden lillies," feet that are approximately the size of a thumb. Her vivid descriptions of that process were horrifying, but she also explains how it demonstrates a woman's ability to bear pain and sacrifice. ("Only through pain will you have beauty. Only through suffering will you have peace")
**The friendship of Lily and Snow Flower, beginning at age seven, is wonderful:
"The bed is lit by moonlight.
I think it is the light snow of an early winter morning.
Looking up, I enjoy the full moon in the sky.
Bending over, I miss my hometown."
"We all know that poem is about a scholar who is traveling and missing his home, but on that night and forever after I believed it was about us. Snow Flower was my home, and I was hers."
**See writes with the grace of the Orient and, while I truly enjoyed the lyrical pace of this book, I was saddened by the bleakness and heartbreak of these women's lives. I'm not sure I will ever read this book again, but I recommend it for the beauty of the writing, the taste of a completely foreign culture, and the portrayal of a magical friendship.
Rating: 4.5
Posted by Framed at 11:46 PM

Joy said...
I read this almost a year ago and rated it a 4/5. I compared it to MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA, which I liked better. Glad it was a good read for you. :)
6:27 AM
Annie said...
I read this book last year, too, and really, really liked it. I know what you mean about the sadness, though I think I will definitely reread this one.Have you read Wild Swans? Joy, have you read it?
7:10 AM
Annie Frisbie said...
Oh, and for some reason blogger won't do my URL correctly--I'm at:http://superfastreader.comCheers,Annie
7:11 AM
3M said...
I'm glad you liked this, too. I loved it--rated it a 5. I plan on reading Wild Swans soon. Can't wait to see how they compare.
10:58 AM
SuziQoregon said...
I've got this on my shelf and still haven't gotten to it yet. One of these days . . .
12:27 PM
booklogged said...
I liked this book for the same reasons you listed. The introduction to customs so foreign to our own filled me with sadness, too. I'm glad they no longer have to endure the foot binding.
12:57 PM
Framed said...
Joy, I liked "Memoirs" better also. Annie & 3M, Wild Swans has been on my list for ages. Maybe your reviews will halp me move it up higher.Suzi, OOTD, that says it all in the book blog world.Booklogged, I read it based on your review, so thanks.
7:08 PM
Bookfool said...
I felt exactly the same as you did. It was a sad, moving, beautiful book that I learned a lot from. but, I knew I'd never reread it and swapped it within a week.
7:25 PM
Tristi Pinkston said...
It sounds fascinating. I've been quite taken with the Orient ever since I started reading Pearl S. Buck.
12:08 AM
Les said...
It's still on my read-soon stack on my nightstand.
7:00 AM
Tristi Pinkston said...
Okay, so this comment isn't really related to your blog but where else am I supposed to gab at you?? :)I went to the library and got "Blessings" and "Owen Meany" yesterday. I also got "The Kitchen God" by Amy Tan and am enjoying it quite a bit so far. Thanks for your site -- you're pointing me to books I might never have picked up otherwise.
6:53 PM
Framed said...
Les, let me know when you review Snowflower. I'd like to read it.Tristi, It will fun to get your take on Owen Meany and Blessings. Owen's one of my favorites. I haven't read "The Kitchen God" yet, but I do like Amy Tan.

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