Book Review: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
By Lisa See
258 Pages
Finished 8/1/08


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 isloation to share their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments. They both endure the agnoy 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.

OK Carla–the last one may have been a flop, but you redeemed yourself with this one! I loved Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. I hesitated when I picked it up out the pile of books I have still to read, not really feeling in the mood for something historical. Given that the setting is in 19th-century China, I was sure that it would take me some time to really get into the book. But it grabbed my attention in the first few pages and I was hooked! I found the traditions and customs of the Chinese people, particularly the women, very fascinating. I even spent an evening online researching some of them more in-depth. I liked everything about this book. The story line is easy to follow and it wasn’t too weighted with heavy history, while still conveying the strictness of the traditions that the people followed in those days. This one definately gets my recommendation and goes on my “read again someday” shelf!

2008 Page Count: 6481


One Response to “Book Review: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan”

  1. Em Says:

    Ooh! I’m excited to see you’re reading Ella Enchanted. I love that book!!!

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