This book will transport you to another time, another place when women were treated quite differently. This is the story of Snow Flower and Lily, two women from different villages and different circumstances and status'. The journey of these women's lives will make you laugh, then make you cry. This story brings to light the indifference to women's plights during this time and the cultural norms then. The writing is beautiful and poignant. This touching novel is well worth reading over and over again.
Lily is from an upper middle class family where the traditions of foot binding, arranged marriages, and the total sequestering of women is a way of life. Their value is only in how advantageous a marriage they can enter into. The matchmaker begins her work years before marriage is possible. First she must examine all Lily's omens, celestial signs and zodiac portents to find Snow Flower, the perfect 'sworn sister' for her. They begin a lifelong friendship meant to carry them through all their life long. Each follows all the customs and traditions expected of them, but their paths diverge. Lily is married into a wealthy family while Snow Flower is matched to a butcher, a profession deemed unclean in their society. Their friendship hits rocky patches and leaves Lily bewildered as to what is happening. She must re-evaluate her life as a woman in feudal China. All in all a very good read. Be warned, the passages dealing with foot binding might be too graphic for some readers.
Watched the film and decided to give the book a try ... a bit slow but really an unique experience about a lost culture. Noted that there are no quotes posted yet and decided to add a few, see "Quotes."
Lisa See is one of my favorite authors of historical fiction. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan led me to read her other books. Her books are of the very interesting lives of Chinese women and the hardships they endure.
Historical fiction very different from others I have read. I wondered how some of the traditions began and when they fell out of practice in China. It is unfortunate how long some of them lasted or still linger in some parts of the country. Overall an interesting read.
Lily has reached the age of 80 and as senior woman of a wealthy household she is powerful enough that she can speak her mind about her life's treasures and errors. Born in 1823 in the Hunan province Lily started off as "a second worthless girl" in a poor family. Because her feet were high in the arch and potentially breathtaking, she had the potential to marry well and elevate her family's status. She could also enter a formal match with another woman, a sworn sister - a lifetime best friend - and thus begins the incredible story of Snow Flower and Lily, together forever.
Currently reading it for the 3rd time. Every time I read this beautiful book, I love it even more.
The book has different sections to it, and although it does not completely cover every aspect of Lily's (the narrator's) life, it goes through specific time periods that affected her and Snow Flower's friendship.
I wish it could have gone into the relationship between Lily and her daughter a little bit more, because it seems to me that in the end she became just like her mother. But, then again, the book cannot possibly cover everything, and its main focus was the friendship between the two central characters.
It is an interesting look at friendship, and I would definitely recommend it. (Especially if you're into historical fiction!)
This book is very well written, it's captivating and reads well. One of the best books I have read lately. I highly recommend it. Lisa See is a brilliant author. A peak at times past, customs past, but very human and real. A big thumbs up!
Good read, but as many other readers have already mentioned, the context wasn't about the secret writing/fan. It does provide a good insight into the older Chinese culture, especially around feet wrapping and the marriage traditions. The book teaches you a lot about how relationships, among women, were kept during back when education wasn't openly accessible for females. The ending was like any other Lisa See book, short and rushed.
This book was a great read, even though the "secret fan" wasn't really all that secret. But every time I opened this book I was transported into this world of duty and love. It's true what they all say, it is a heartbreaking story but it is so good that I would highly recommend it to anyone with a need for a good read.
An old woman in 19th-century China reminisces about a life-long friendship between the daughter of a humble farmer, and Snow Flower, an elegant and educated girl with whom she shares a correspondence in nu shu, a secret women’s writing. The two pour out their innermost feelings to one another, deepening their connection throughout the years, until a betrayal divides them. A keenly imagined journey into the women’s quarters of Imperial China, this poignant story is also an absorbing historical chronicle.
Love Lisa See. Awesome book not only for historical content but for the relationship between Snow Flower and Lily.
Really good read about two girl's friendship in a time period were women followed the ancient tradition of foot binding. Read the book some time ago. Can't wait to watch the movie that has just come out.
I often read reviews that label books as “heartbreaking” or “heart-wrenching”. I for the most part I never go that far, but I honesty told a friend that this story was really pulling at my heartstrings. She asked if it was a true story and I told her no, but the events that took place in a girl’s life during that time and in that culture were real. I have a daughter who will soon be 5, so the “daughter days” were particularly hard to read. I would find myself infuriated with the characters until I would stop and ask myself, what if that was all you knew. I reminded myself that this wasn’t about a single person’s cruelty, it was about a way of life, and doing what you thought was best. I will admit that it was extremely difficult to wrap my mind around their customs, consider the day and age we are in, yet I stayed intrigued by their way of life.
The last chapters I read through tear glazed eyes. This book demonstrated how truly blinding a deep love for another person can be, and how eye opening it is too reflect back as we gain knowledge of our true selves. I thought it was a beautiful story
This title has improved with re-reading. Now that I am older, I recognize nuances in Lily's relationships with the women in her life that I hadn't appreciated before.
This was a book club read. The story is interesting and it makes me appreciative to be a female of today's America. The entire foot binding scene is painful to read but educational.