Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Book Review: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

Title: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
Author: Lisa See
Genre: Historical Fiction
Subject: Friendship, Chinese Culture
Publisher: Random House
Release date: February 2006 (first in 1991)
Length: 258 pages
I got this book: borrowed it from the library

From Goodreads:
"In nineteenth-century China, in a remote Hunan county, a girl named Lily, at the tender age of seven, is paired with a laotong, “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’s painted 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 fans, compose stories on handkerchiefs, reaching out of isolation to share their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments. Together, they endure the agony of foot-binding, and 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."

Personal opinion:
I found this book a very interesting read. I never read anything about China before and learning part of the history and rituals through such a story was fascinating.The story could be considered slow but it didn't feel that way because plenty of things happened and the parts that actually were more slow were full of little details about the Chinese culture. Some things shocked me, like the detailed description of the process of the foot binding. I had to lay down the book several times at that point because it made me nauseas. The story was told from a very personal point of view and that made it feel to me like I was there to witness it all. I would recommend this book if you would like to know more about the Chinese culture and especially the life of the women not even so long ago.

I liked it!

Purchase links: Amazon
Challenges: What's in a name
By the same author: Shanghai Girls and Dreams of Joy
Other reviews: None yet.
If you have reviewed this book and want your link here, please leave a comment with the link, and I will add it :)


  1. I actually had to abandon the book because the description of the foot binding made me so sick to my stomach. I've heard it's a wonderful book, but I just couldn't get past that awful foot binding description.

  2. I can totally understand that. It is a horrible thing to read about and it took me some time to get through that part.