Monday, January 22, 2007

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

This is a wonderful book. I read it this past weekend, couldn't put it down.
This book takes us on the journey of Lily and Snowflower's friendship in 19th century China. This starts when Lily is a young girl and is getting close to the age when she will deal with foot binding. Snowflower and her become laotong - she go through the process at the same time, and being to write to each other using the secret women's language called nu shu, and Snowflower visits Lily's family. You are taken through the foot binding process, which made me cringe at times, but was also very fascinating. You then continue withe these girls as they start the marriage preparations. Lily comes from a poor family, but because of her perfect feet and because she is in a laotong relationship, she is married into a very prominent family in a nearby village. Snowflower comes from a family that used to be rich but is no longer, she is married to a butcher, just about the lowest family you could go to. You then continue as they deal with the hardships of trying to become pregnant, they are of course expected to have a boy and if they don't they are worthless, of moving into the in-law's house and dealing with the mother-in-law. Then they go through a typhoid outbreak, and a war.
I loved this book. I realize the book is fiction, but I know the author did a lot of research, so it was interesting to learn how women were treated in that time period, the process of foot-binding, and the culture. This book has me wanting to research nu shu and foot binding a little bit more. I think it was a great story about two girls friendship, their hardship of being women in China during that time period, and the Chinese culture (during that time).
fiction/new author/f2f Jan. selection/253 pgs


Lover of Books said...

I really enjoyed this book. It was one of my favorites last year. :)

Literary Feline said...

I still cannot think of the foot binding process without feeling a phantom ache in my feet. It's an amazing book. Wonderful review, Kris!

Joy said...

I liked this one, too. :)

cess said...

I'm interested in Chinese culture a lot lately and I'm absolutely going to read this book as well!
Thanks for sharing!

bookwormaddict said...

Great review Kris! I'm so happy you enjoyed it. It's just a magical book!:)