[KINDLE] · Snow Flower and the Secret Fan | by ☆ Lisa See

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan By Lisa See,

  • Title: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
  • Author: Lisa See
  • ISBN: 00071
  • Page: 371
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • 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 s 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 Get A Copy Kindle Store 13.99 StoresAudibleBarnes NobleWalmart eBooksGoogle PlayAbebooksBook DepositoryAlibrisBetter World BooksIndieBoundLibraries Kindle Edition, 288 pages Published June 28th 2005 by Random House first published 2005 More Details Original Title Snow Flower and the Secret Fan ASIN B000FCK71U Edition Language English Characters Snowflower, Lily setting Hunan China China Literary Awards California Book Award for Fiction Silver 2005 , Lincoln Award Nominee 2008 , Asian Pacific American Award for Literature for Adult Fiction Honor 2005 Other Editions 118 All Editions Add a New Edition Combine Less Detail Edit Details Friend Reviews To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up Reader QA To ask other readers questions about Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, please sign up Popular Answered Questions This question contains spoilers view spoiler is it historical hide spoiler 1 likelike 4 years ago See all 2 answers Asterop Yes The first part of the blurb states, In nineteenth century China we re in the 21st century Lily, the main character was born 1823 This Yes The first part of the blurb states, In nineteenth century China we re in the 21st century Lily, the main character was born 1823 This takes place in the 1800s less flag is Lisa See a pseudonym 1 likelike 4 years ago Add your answer Heather Montes Ireland No, Lisa See is an author of Chinese heritage on her paternal side it seems that she has shared a pen name with her No, Lisa See is an author of Chinese heritage on her paternal side it seems that she has shared a pen name with her mother, who has sometimes written under the name Monica Highland less flag See all 13 questions about Snow Flower and the Secret Fan Lists with This Book Best Books of the Decade 2000s 6,595 books 28,002 voters Best for Book Clubs 5,941 books 11,353 voters More lists with this book Community Reviews Showing 1 30 4.07 Rating details 323,867 ratings 17,049 reviews All LanguagesAfrikaans 1 Bahasa Indonesia 27 Dansk 2 Deutsch 6 English 15840 Espa ol 123 Fran ais 13 Italiano 44 Latvie u valoda 5 Lietuvi kalba 1 Magyar 1 Nederlands 5 Norsk 1 Polski 6 Portugu s 4 P 3 Rom n 14 Shqip 1 Sloven ina 1 Suomi 8 Svenska 1 Ti ng Vi t 12 T rk e 1 en US 1 esky, e tina 2 6 1 1 105 1 More filters Sort order Apr 15, 2016 Jeana rated it it was amazing review of another edition Recommends it for Susannah Recommended to Jeana by Susannah Shelves my favorite books, favorites Wow I just finished this book and wanted to come write about it immediately so I don t forget how it made me feel First off, the language is beautiful and so fitting for the context The two girls Snow Flower and Lily have a friendship that is beautiful and is fun to pick out little pieces from my own childhood current friendships that I recognize and adore My next thoughts are not necessarily critiques of the book, but of the way the Chinese thought I had a real problem with hearing over Wow I just finished this book and wanted to come write about it immediately so I don t forget how it made me feel First off, the language is beautiful and so fitting for the context The two girls Snow Flower and Lily have a friendship that is beautiful and is fun to pick out little pieces from my own childhood current friendships that I recognize and adore My next thoughts are not necessarily critiques of the book, but of the way the Chinese thought I had a real problem with hearing over and over how worthless a woman is if she cannot produce a son If that were still the case, I would be as worthless as they come It bothered me that daughters were considered better off if they died than to live And I thought Lily perpetuated that as unfeeling as the patriarchs who instilled that thought process to begin with And don t get me started on footbinding I know this is a cultural thing that I cannot begin to comprehend such as people who think that is just the way life is, but still, how could they not think this through I mean, one of of ten girls died from footbinding And not only does it make the foot look grotesque which they thought was beautiful but they were practically crippled for the rest of their lives They had to be carried most distances after the age of six It s simply ridiculous But reading this book made me want to learn to embroider I know it sounds ridiculous but I was actually looking for embroidery classes in the area where I could learn how to do it And I want to do it with my daughter The visual of these women embroidering together It s just beautiful There were so many beautiful quotes that I thought I d list my favorites This thought is a real comfort to me Everyone knows that part of the spirit descends to the afterworld, while part of it remains with the family, but we have a special belief about the spirit of a young woman who has died before her marriage that goes contrary to this She comes back to prey upon other unmarried girls not to scare them but to take them to the afterworld with her so she might have company This is particarly interesting to me because after my daughter died, Biance would tell me about going to heaven with Miranda every night while she dreamed Another quote I liked about teachers The classics tell us that, in relationships, the one between teacher and student comes second only to the one between parent and child The last one is a bit lengthy, but I like it nonetheless If it is perfectly acceptable for a widow to disfigure herself or commit suicide to save face for her husband s family, why should a mother not be moved to extreme action by the loss of a child or children We are their caretakers We love them We nurse them when they are sick But no woman should live longer than her children It is against the law of nature If she does, why wouldn t she wish to leap from a cliff, hang from a branch, or swallow lye Overall, this was a sad, beautiful book flag 224 likesLike see review View all 25 comments Jun 11, 2008 Erika rated it did not like it review of another edition Recommends it for no one Shelves fiction I had high hopes for this book, but ended up feeling deflated and disappointed Two aspects of the book were interesting descriptions of the practice of Chinese footbinding, and an exploration of nu shu, the written language Chinese women developed to communicate exclusively with each other Unfortunately, the book also has two major problems a boring story, and the use of cheap gimmicks instead of complex characterization The story deals with two girls who are matched as old sames, sort I had high hopes for this book, but ended up feeling deflated and disappointed Two aspects of the book were interesting descriptions of the practice of Chinese footbinding, and an exploration of nu shu, the written language Chinese women developed to communicate exclusively with each other Unfortunately, the book also has two major problems a boring story, and the use of cheap gimmicks instead of complex characterization The story deals with two girls who are matched as old sames, sort of a best girlfriend relationship that is meant to last for life Unfortunately, the story of their friendship is just not compelling, and I kept feeling like the author missed the opportunity to tell a really interesting story within the context of the world she creates Aside from being boring the worst sin in fiction I was also disappointed with the way she handled the intimacy of the friendship between the two women, using what I call the cheap and easy Hollywood method for showing intimacy In other words, she introduces sexual elements to show us just how close these two women really are, rather than really taking us inside the complex world that is the relationship between two best girlfriends I thought it was a really shallow treatment of a very deep subject It was hugely disappointing.I don t recommend it flag 161 likesLike see review View all 35 comments Oct 13, 2009 Cassy rated it liked it review of another edition Shelves 2011, fiction historical, region asia, physical own, event met author My grandmother used to say that my big feet meant I had a good foundation I d stare longingly at her size six feet when she said this and curse my genetic inheritance from elsewhere in the family tree Then I had an ex boyfriend make the infuriating statement that rich women have small feet I pointed out that his celebrity crush, Paris Hilton yeah, another reason I dumped him has huge size eleven feet My teenage self took a lot of comfort in the fact that foot size is pre ordained and unc My grandmother used to say that my big feet meant I had a good foundation I d stare longingly at her size six feet when she said this and curse my genetic inheritance from elsewhere in the family tree Then I had an ex boyfriend make the infuriating statement that rich women have small feet I pointed out that his celebrity crush, Paris Hilton yeah, another reason I dumped him has huge size eleven feet My teenage self took a lot of comfort in the fact that foot size is pre ordained and unchangeable Clown sized feet can strike the smart, the rich, the beautiful And there isn t a damned thing they or I could do about it.Then I read this book and learn it is possible to change your foot size It s called foot binding And you know what I ll pass I enjoy being able to wiggle my toes and jump around So, thank you, Lisa See For once in my life, I am content with my big feet And I owe it all to your graphic descriptions of this ancient Chinese method Blood, putrefaction, pain, breaking bones, risk of death I cannot believe those women were subjected to such brutal mutilation for the sake of beauty Then they were still expected to clean the house perched on those tiny, unstable feet.The foot binding portion of the book was the highlight for me The inspiration for the book was nu shu, a written language developed by Chinese women and kept secret from men for hundreds of years Yawn I didn t find that part of the story very compelling or even believable Didn t men wonder why the ladies kept ink and brushes in their room Beyond the foot biding event and nu shu device, this was really a story about a female friendship that was deep and even erotic at times Putting aside any problems with the plot, their emotions toward each other were complex and meaningful There was hope and joy, but mostly there was pain During an event with Lisa last night, she spoke of how depressing writing can be She doesn t always wake up raring to write Instead she may dread knowing she has to go to a dark, internal place to write about a character s death or betrayal Even worse, she may have to stay in that mindset for days or weeks until that section is completely written I spend so much time glamorizing a writer s lifestyle that I had not fully considered how emotionally draining it could be I suspected the career engenders self doubt Will people like what I ve written Yet, I had never thought about the struggle Lisa described to create and inhabit the internal emotional environment necessary to produce the actual words.I commend Lisa for giving us a realistic look at the treatment of and expectations for women in that day and age Women were isolated and undervalued Their worth was determined solely by whether they could produce sons But honestly, my main complaint about the book is how depressing it was I kept waiting for some great act of heroism Yet the women stuck to their traditional roles The main character not only repeated the indoctrination, she believed it My role in life is to obey, obey, obey Sure, they rebelled in small ways, but always within the confines of their societal roles I kept routing for one character to leave an abusive husband or, at very least, stand up to her oppressive mother in law Normally I criticize authors for deviating from historical facts in order to cater to a modern readership This time, I think Lisa stayed so true to the setting that she turned me off And her heavy handed foreshadowing didn t help Life was hard for women back then I get it But does that make for an enjoyable read Not really And I think that was my problem I had the wrong expectations as I entered this book It wasn t a sprawling historical epic, filled with exciting action, heart fluttering romance, and distant voyages like Shogun one of the few other historical fictions I have read that are set in Asia It was a largely quiet book about quiet life Lisa herself admitted she writes sad books And when she started this book, no one thought it would be successful China Women Gloom No one will read that Well, she proved them wrong Lots of people read it Heck, I read it Even people will probably see the movie.And it s worth reading It made me appreciate the freedom women enjoy today, as well as the potential depth of female friendship Not to mention, I m looking down at my feet right now and thinking, hell yeah, that s one beautiful, ergonomic piece of evolution and just the right size flag 124 likesLike see review View all 22 comments Jun 20, 2007 Michele rated it it was amazing review of another edition An Excellent Choice for Book ClubsI had a hard time putting down this book and felt utterly transported to a village in the Hunan province in central south China during the early to mid nineteenth century The narrator, 80 year old Lily, who refers to herself as one who has yet to die, tells the story of her life She has outlived her family members and relates the story of her formative years and her relationship with another woman, Snow Flower This well written tale is related with clarity An Excellent Choice for Book ClubsI had a hard time putting down this book and felt utterly transported to a village in the Hunan province in central south China during the early to mid nineteenth century The narrator, 80 year old Lily, who refers to herself as one who has yet to die, tells the story of her life She has outlived her family members and relates the story of her formative years and her relationship with another woman, Snow Flower This well written tale is related with clarity, sentiment, and most poignantly, remorse It s through remorse that the reader comes to know the true character of Lily, as she reflects upon a misunderstanding she had with her one true love.Beyond the reflection of Lily s relationship with Snow Flower, a girl she meets at the age of six when they are introduced by the local matchmaker and tied by contract to forever be known as laotongs, or old sames, this story provides a lesson in Chinese history and culture Many have heard of the tradition of feet binding, but through Lisa See s writing, one experiences the excruciating pain and the meaning behind a mother s duty to bind her worthless daughters feet It s all about marriage and, of course, sex At once I went to the Internet to look for images of bound feet because I had a terribly hard time visualizing a foot only seven centimeters in length.I enjoyed every minute of reading this story and I highly recommend it I think it would make an excellent selection for book clubs, given the vast number of elements to spark topics of conversation Chinese culture past and present Mother daughter relationships Foot binding Arranged marriage Female relationships Lesbian relationships Chinese history Chinese foods Chinese geography, etc flag 92 likesLike see review View all 5 comments Feb 03, 2015 Candi rated it really liked it review of another edition Shelves asia, historical fiction, spring cleaning challenge 2016 For my entire life I longed for love I knew it was not right for me as a girl and later as a woman to want or expect it, but I did, and this unjustified desire has been at the root of every problem I have experienced in my life What a sad yet beautiful book this was I adore historical fiction that can really immerse me in another time and place and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan did just that Transported back to 19th century China, I believe I arrived at a better understanding of a woma For my entire life I longed for love I knew it was not right for me as a girl and later as a woman to want or expect it, but I did, and this unjustified desire has been at the root of every problem I have experienced in my life What a sad yet beautiful book this was I adore historical fiction that can really immerse me in another time and place and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan did just that Transported back to 19th century China, I believe I arrived at a better understanding of a woman s position in this society I learned what it was like to be a daughter, a sister, a wife and a daughter in law I am admittedly grateful for not ever having to experience these often overwhelmingly harsh relationships in the way that these women did Not for an instant can I imagine having to yearn for my mother s love with the feeling that it was something impossible to attain And, I most certainly could not fathom bending to my mother in law s every command and needing to act as a lowly visitor in her home even as the wife of her own son The cultural practice of footbinding was truly horrific and cringeworthy If you, like me, decide to google any images, please consider yourself forewarned that it really does look as awful and disfiguring as you would no doubt imagine Yet, a young girl s future and her marriageability depended heavily on the result of this archaic practice The one relationship that I found endearing and one that transcends both time and culture is that of a true friendship This is so beautifully demonstrated in the bond between the narrator, Lily, and Snow Flower, her old same Lisa See really brings to life the nuances of their lifelong friendship which began as little girls with a contract sealing their fates in a laotong relationship A laotong match is as significant as a good marriage A laotong relationship is made by choice for the purpose of emotional companionship and eternal fidelity A marriage is not made by choice and has only one purpose to have sons We see the girls grow up together and experience the joys of childhood friendship laughing, dreaming, and mourning together The women s secret form of writing, or nu shu, begins with the communication between the little girls on the folds of a special fan that will provide a chronicle of their extraordinary relationship throughout their lives As married women, they experience both the happiness and the sorrow of giving birth and living under the heavy thumbs of their husbands and mothers in law in households that scorn rather than cherish them And, as with some friendships, these women experience the differences in social standings within a community and suffer from misunderstandings and ultimate betrayal Can a friendship really withstand anything This is a wonderful book for anyone interested in the culture of China during this period and those that enjoy reading about the various connections between women If you ve ever had a true friend, this book will truly speak to you and perhaps make you just a tad nostalgic about the carefree days when you could hope and giggle with your own bestie flag 89 likesLike see review View all 42 comments Oct 29, 2011 Best Eggs rated it did not like it review of another edition Shelves reviewed, books i really loathed, fiction I tried to read it It was so non compelling, who were these little mice of women, what were they up to, why should I care MAKE ME CARE The plot didn t, the characters didn t and so I couldn t get past about page 50 My mind kept drifting off and by the time I was conscious of reading again I wouldn t know what had happened so I had to reread it again and again up unto the fourth rereading of the same pages Exactly the same experience I had with Rushdie s Satanic Verses So I gave up I tho I tried to read it It was so non compelling, who were these little mice of women, what were they up to, why should I care MAKE ME CARE The plot didn t, the characters didn t and so I couldn t get past about page 50 My mind kept drifting off and by the time I was conscious of reading again I wouldn t know what had happened so I had to reread it again and again up unto the fourth rereading of the same pages Exactly the same experience I had with Rushdie s Satanic Verses So I gave up I thought it was probably me and not the book, so I downloaded the film Lord, was it bad or what Exactly the same experience, it wasn t any interesting It s an experience I m not going to have with the Satanic Verses though I doubt there s a director still alive brave enough to make a film of that book flag 74 likesLike see review View all 45 comments Mar 18, 2008 Lisa Vegan rated it really liked it review of another edition Recommends it for those interested in women in 19th century rural China or who enjoy learning about other cultures Shelves historical fiction, zz 4star, reviewed, 1 also at librarything, readbooks female author or illust, z2008, fiction, author, novel, bookclub I ended up enjoying this book because it was so beautifully written and it took me deep into a world so unlike my own thank goodness for that This story takes place in China s Hunan Province in the 1800s and is about the inner lives of the women than the men I had a complete misconception of what foot binding entailed It s completely different, and so much brutal a practice than I ever could have imagined There were also many examples given of what I consider other horrendous cust I ended up enjoying this book because it was so beautifully written and it took me deep into a world so unlike my own thank goodness for that This story takes place in China s Hunan Province in the 1800s and is about the inner lives of the women than the men I had a complete misconception of what foot binding entailed It s completely different, and so much brutal a practice than I ever could have imagined There were also many examples given of what I consider other horrendous customs and beliefs I ve always believed that tradition and culture that harms is not worth preserving and reading about these people s lives was a painful experience The story is fiction but well researched so I m assuming there was much truth about how women led their lives in that time and place I was able to feel some empathy for the storywriter, because I could understand her longing to be loved and the difficulties she had in her upbringing that formed her personality, even though I sometimes had a hard time liking her and many of the characters I was also irritated by so much of the book I loathe stories where there s a horrible miscommunication or misunderstanding that seems so unnecessary, and there s an example of that here Also, throughout the book, the narrator is writing the story of her life for another others in her culture to read, yet the whole time I felt she was educating us in our time places So frequently the line as you know or as everyone knows is used to start a sentence, and I just kept thinking that if everyone knows it the narrator wouldn t need to say it in that way The narrator also most of the way through the book alludes to something she s going to tell the reader and it got to the point where, instead of following along with the story, I just wanted to see what she was going to reveal.I think that it s worth it to read the paperback copy because of Lisa See s notes at the end about the writing of this book, Perhaps they were there in the hardcover version as well, but often additions such as this aren t there at publication of the hardcover edition Also, the paperback has some discussion questions at the end which might come in handy as I read this book for my book club.The plot characters did make me think about however women are regarded and what is considered beautiful in various cultures, including our own, can powerfully influence women s lives And they also highlight how our various expectations of ourselves and others imposed by our societies can influence human beings It also made me think a lot about the corrosive power of unresolved anger and trauma flag 54 likesLike see review View all 14 comments Aug 03, 2012 Rowena rated it it was amazing review of another edition Shelves asia, chinese lit, bookclub reads, own This has got to be one of the most beautiful, yet heartbreaking books that I have ever read The subject matter is horrific but the story is truly engaging.The main storyline in this book is about the horrible patriarchal practise, foot binding, that took place in China in the past The graphic descriptions in this book are certain to turn anyone s stomach I would like to know who decided that 7 centimetre long feet were sexy The obsession with feet truly perplexed me how could young men kn This has got to be one of the most beautiful, yet heartbreaking books that I have ever read The subject matter is horrific but the story is truly engaging.The main storyline in this book is about the horrible patriarchal practise, foot binding, that took place in China in the past The graphic descriptions in this book are certain to turn anyone s stomach I would like to know who decided that 7 centimetre long feet were sexy The obsession with feet truly perplexed me how could young men know nothing about their future betrothed wives except what size their feet were Obviously foot binding was a practice to control women, which was a point I made to a feminist I was talking to when a man suddenly interrupted our conversation and accused us of waging a war against men Also, it s so sad how culturally women were undervalued in Chinese society They suffered so much abuse and, from a very young age, they were cultivated for marriage because, after all, all women were good for was for giving birth to sons Everything they did was to prepare them for marriage yet when they eventually married their in laws weren t even satisfied and everyone was miserable What s the point Excuse my sarcastic tone but I cannot wrap my head around how awful this part of Chinese history is Instead of protecting women in society, women were made to feel worthless and their lives are also put into peril It was truly heartbreaking Lisa See brilliantly captured the reality of Chinese life in the past I also thought that part of the book about the laotang and sisterhood was lovely, as well as the parts about the secret writing, and the art of storytelling Definitely a great book but not one that I d ever read again, it s too distressing flag 51 likesLike see review View all 18 comments Jun 30, 2009 Barbara rated it it was ok review of another edition Shelves historical fiction, asia I actually wavered between giving this book a rating of 3 or 4 stars This is not because Lisa See was unable to portray the life in this feudal Chinese society well, because much of this was vivid and interesting The oppression of women, including the horrors of footbinding, isolation and servitude to men and one s in laws were all clearly and often dismayingly illustrated.One problem with this novel is how much better the tale could have been related if written in the third person, rather tha I actually wavered between giving this book a rating of 3 or 4 stars This is not because Lisa See was unable to portray the life in this feudal Chinese society well, because much of this was vivid and interesting The oppression of women, including the horrors of footbinding, isolation and servitude to men and one s in laws were all clearly and often dismayingly illustrated.One problem with this novel is how much better the tale could have been related if written in the third person, rather than the use of Lily as narrator After learning throughout this book that she was a sensitive, caring, pledged lifelong friend she becomes a cruel,selfish and judgemental harridan to Snow Flower These very factors were so antithetical to what was supposed to have been developed between these two women and what they had always professed would be their relationship, that it was difficult to continue the reading with the same attitude of enjoyment and appreciation I often found that See did not work hard enough to develop either her plot lines or her characters She often glossed over some segments, seemingly in order to reach her next period of time.Despite these criticisms, I found this book often compelling with a level of anticipation for the reader flag 45 likesLike see review View all 43 comments Jun 14, 2007 Sara rated it liked it review of another edition Shelves fiction Ever since reading Memoirs of a Geisha, I ve been looking for a book that will let me relive that excitement So I was hoping that Snow Flower and the Secret Fan would fit the bill for my craving for Asian drama I would have to say that this book did not I found it difficult to get invested in the characters who seemed somewhat flat to me The narrator wasn t engaging enough to make me feel a connection to her Really, the strength of the book in my opinion was the detail it spent in developi Ever since reading Memoirs of a Geisha, I ve been looking for a book that will let me relive that excitement So I was hoping that Snow Flower and the Secret Fan would fit the bill for my craving for Asian drama I would have to say that this book did not I found it difficult to get invested in the characters who seemed somewhat flat to me The narrator wasn t engaging enough to make me feel a connection to her Really, the strength of the book in my opinion was the detail it spent in developing an understanding of the cultural issues surrounding Chinese women and the custom of footbinding Which, of course, is horrible mutilation to a woman living in the 21st century Western world, but was the very epitome of beauty and sexual turn on for 19th century Chinese So I would say it gets an A for effectively fleshing out that cultural way of life, but probably just a B for characters I wanted to care about them than I did, but when the book was over, I was interested in Googling pictures of bound feet than mourning the loss of their friendship and the misunderstandings that undid the two main characters flag 38 likesLike see review View all 7 comments Mar 11, 2008 Garnette rated it liked it review of another edition Shelves reading now My book club was interested in talking about their trips to China than See s book So I am happy for Good Reads While I found the writing journalistic that is competent, extremely well researched, fast paced, page turning, I cannot truly say it was well written No phrase or passage noteworthy for its beauty or addition to literature I was fascinated, however, by the potential for beautiful prose but lists just don t do that for me The publisher s missed an opportunity to replicate the My book club was interested in talking about their trips to China than See s book So I am happy for Good Reads While I found the writing journalistic that is competent, extremely well researched, fast paced, page turning, I cannot truly say it was well written No phrase or passage noteworthy for its beauty or addition to literature I was fascinated, however, by the potential for beautiful prose but lists just don t do that for me The publisher s missed an opportunity to replicate the secret fan from See s clues would have been a bonus The dynamics of the women s relationships were fascinating, reminiscent of The Joy Luck Club I sorrowed at the footbound therefore dutybound therefore ironbound feminine mind Why did See not correlate the inter relationship between body, mind and spirit The bound feet reflected the bounded mind, bound by the society, filtered by necessity through the mother jailers also prisoners of the system Still, I longed for Lily of the Golden Lilies to recognize that with her smart thinking she had the ability to lessen Snow Flower s burden, a bit of rice here, some smuggled cloth there, cash, quilts I even thought Snow Flower could have been brought in as a concubine Lots of juicy plot possibility there And I wonder at the morality of the wealthy women who could cast out her beloved friend without a hearing To publicly humiliate an already humiliated person who had everything to lose from the shunning while Lily had won only an egoist s victory And lost the one who loved her most in the ego frenzy Conversation over tea, sitting in the innner room and sugar crackled tofu would on the other hand not have served See s plot Hard to read while the Chinese government was strong arming Tibet The mental foot binding continues not only in China of course flag 32 likesLike see review View 2 comments Dec 19, 2011 Moses Kilolo rated it it was amazing review of another edition Brilliant A spectacular book.I haven t read anything this deeply affecting for quite a while at least on the level of love and relationships I was hooked from the beginning And the grace and depth of Lisa See s storytelling had me contemplating about life and the deeds and the choices we make concerning our own lives, those that are made on our behalf and how all these affects those who we most cherish Fate Is it something nature, or us, or others, or some higher power design for us Is i Brilliant A spectacular book.I haven t read anything this deeply affecting for quite a while at least on the level of love and relationships I was hooked from the beginning And the grace and depth of Lisa See s storytelling had me contemplating about life and the deeds and the choices we make concerning our own lives, those that are made on our behalf and how all these affects those who we most cherish Fate Is it something nature, or us, or others, or some higher power design for us Is it really predestined, as these girls were made to believe Ever since that first message that Snow Flower send little Lily, when they were just children, the stage was set for what was meant to be a lifetime of friendship As events unfold, as life happens, an absolutely heartbreaking and unforgettable story is woven It also reminded me of Adichie s the danger of a single story given that I recently read The Good Earth by Pearl S Buck, where I was first introduced to the Chinese practice of foot binding From what I ve gathered from this book, it loosely equates to Female Genital Mutilation, which until recently has been widely practiced here in Africa And what a cruel thing it is girls so young stand the risk of actually dying in the process, like happened to Lily s sister Lisa, however, goes beyond this, which she has offered in an heartfelt detail, to other aspects of the Chinese culture especially those that of concern to women.Quite fascinating is the issue of nu shu, one of the central themes, which is described as the women s secret writing Under all that isolation and oppression that these women suffered, it is a wonderful thing that they invented a secret code language writting in which they could communicate in secret, offer and share comfort Lisa See s narrative is beautiful, and from the writing itself you may discern a depth that arises not only from research and writing talent, but from the heart of a writer who knows the matters of the heart From her s to all others that will come across this wonderfully crafted, deeply felt work of fiction.It is an amazing lesson on friendship too, and of course that deep heart love flag 30 likesLike see review View all 6 comments May 29, 2013 Evelina AvalinahsBooks rated it really liked it review of another edition Shelves women, family, biblioteka, books of 2018, other cultures, human relationships I LOVED Snow Flower and the Secret Fan It was sad, yet fulfilling, true and honest, yet fictional A truly moving story about the hardships of being a woman in nineteenth century China Yes, foot binding too We ll get there By the way, this is going to be a buddy read review, so get ready to read a lot of questions and answers If you want to read the interview questions and answers, read them on my blog here, as it is too long to put into a review.In nineteenth century China, a I LOVED Snow Flower and the Secret Fan It was sad, yet fulfilling, true and honest, yet fictional A truly moving story about the hardships of being a woman in nineteenth century China Yes, foot binding too We ll get there By the way, this is going to be a buddy read review, so get ready to read a lot of questions and answers If you want to read the interview questions and answers, read them on my blog here, as it is too long to put into a review.In nineteenth century China, a girl from a poor family is paired into a lifelong female friendship match with a girl from a family of a higher social standing So her life begins, and we learn about it through her own eyes, as she is growing up Not only does Snow Flower and the Secret Fan extensively cover the woman s place and life in pre modern China, but it s also a tale about sisterhood, trust and empathy, as well as just being a good human being, no matter what your circumstances are or failing to be one.Read the full review here.You might like this book, if you liked these books I have quite an assortment of books for this one First of all, naturally I m going to recommend another novel of Lisa See s that tells about the traditions of a different minority of the Chinese people The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane Meanwhile, if you are into reading about courtesans, you might enjoy Amy Tan s The Valley of Amazement , which is also a tale of hardship and involves some foot binding and other traditions, but in a completely different situation for the main character I will even go as far as saying that Snow Flower and the Secret Fan has ties to The Handmaid s Tale , because it s about strong female relationships in a terribly restricting, even violent society for women Brick Lane is also from a different cultural context, not China however, it also deals with women s freedom and the woman s place in different cultures And The Secrets of Jin Shei is fantasy, and might have one or two cliches, but it s also the only older book that I ve read that uses nu shu as a part of the plot.Read Post on My Blog My Bookstagram Bookish Twitter flag 28 likesLike see review View all 4 comments Feb 02, 2019 The Reading rated it really liked it Such a sad story.Snow Flower and Lily are laotong They are old sames Joined forever in a bond of sisterhood that runs deeper than blood since the time of their foot binding 7 years old But life s hardships has no mercy for these two young women and as women in China their life holds no value Can their laotong bond withstand the tragedies that life throws at them This book was a glimpse into the lives of women in China before the 19th century It was very interesting in many respects Th Such a sad story.Snow Flower and Lily are laotong They are old sames Joined forever in a bond of sisterhood that runs deeper than blood since the time of their foot binding 7 years old But life s hardships has no mercy for these two young women and as women in China their life holds no value Can their laotong bond withstand the tragedies that life throws at them This book was a glimpse into the lives of women in China before the 19th century It was very interesting in many respects The book had obviously been very well researched before written down I have to say the one chapter that I absolutely did not like was the chapter where they explain in great detail the horror of the process of foot binding for young women in China This chapter was so detailed and written in such a way that it became so real that it made me physically ill Like I seriously wanted to throw up With all of the sorrow and pain that these two women endure there is lots in this book about the happiness and joy that life brings them as well These were my favorite chapters I especially loved the chapter that ended right before their first children were to be born This was probably the peak of happiness in this book and was very well written.It is than sad what women had to endure in this time To grow up believing that you are worthless unless you bear a son which you have no control over And even then to be categorized as lower than a dog in the household just disgusting But it is a harsh reality that we all have to face in the fact that that is the way it was We cannot erase history but rather we can learn from it as we move forward.I have said it before and I will say it again, this book is very well written The storyline as well thought out, well researched and very easy to follow The characters are than identifiable even with their now alien way of living to someone who lives in the western world And as a woman reading this book I found myself wanting deep down to have a laotong of my very own.I would definitely recommend this book to anyone but especially to women in order to get better perspective on their life and to enjoy a good story about the bonds of sisterhood flag 28 likesLike see review View 1 comment May 20, 2017 Ace rated it it was amazing review of another edition I really hate cultures that put the importance of one human being over another and particularly boys over girls mine included But, Lisa See did a great job in taking us into the hearts and souls of two women and the hardships and love that they lived, endured and suffered over their lifetime There are many tigger warnings here, foot binding, disrespectful treatment of women by men and by women and some very poverty stricken circumstances makes for very difficult reading If you want a t I really hate cultures that put the importance of one human being over another and particularly boys over girls mine included But, Lisa See did a great job in taking us into the hearts and souls of two women and the hardships and love that they lived, endured and suffered over their lifetime There are many tigger warnings here, foot binding, disrespectful treatment of women by men and by women and some very poverty stricken circumstances makes for very difficult reading If you want a thorough understanding or review of this book, I suggest you read one of the other 300 thousand reviews I don t have any energy left after finishing this one Sigh flag 27 likesLike see review View 2 comments Jan 06, 2015 Barbara rated it liked it review of another edition The story revolves around Lily and Snow Flower, two girls in rural China who as seven year olds become laogong, official lifelong best friends The girls have their feet bound on the same day a horrifying practice in which a girl s feet are bound until the bones break and they can be contorted into a small shape , visit on occasion, and frequently write each other on a fan in a language called Nu Shu or women s writing supposedly unreadable by men.Nu ShuAs the girls grow up they marry, mo The story revolves around Lily and Snow Flower, two girls in rural China who as seven year olds become laogong, official lifelong best friends The girls have their feet bound on the same day a horrifying practice in which a girl s feet are bound until the bones break and they can be contorted into a small shape , visit on occasion, and frequently write each other on a fan in a language called Nu Shu or women s writing supposedly unreadable by men.Nu ShuAs the girls grow up they marry, move to their husbands familial homes, have children, and face the many challenges of being a woman in 19th century China Traditionally, women in China had no rights Once their feet were bound girls were mostly confined to a woman s room where they sewed and embroidered and so on, and once married were expected to obey their husbands and mothers in law and to produce sons.In Chinese culture it seems wives jobs were to have sons, and this is almost all they were good for The husbands, on the other hand, could apparently do whatever they liked take concubines, beat their wives, discard their wives, etc Chinese man with concubinesFrom the first time they meet as children Lily and Snow Flower have a strong emotional bond They share hopes and dreams and plan to be friends forever Secrets in Snow Flower s life challenge the friendship but the girls manage to get past this and maintain their bond Eventually Lily makes a fortunate marriage into an influential family with a decent husband while Snow Flower marries into a low family that treats her badly Lily produces two strong sons while Snow Flower endures difficult pregnancies, miscarriages, and stillbirths and when she finally has a son he is a weakling who seems destined to die young In time both women go on to produce children, and when they have daughters, plan that the girls will also be laogong.In China, a woman was expected to produce sonsThrough it all as Snow Flower s difficulties come to weigh heavily on her Lily is constantly counseling her best friend to behave correctly, be a good wife, obey her husband, placate her mother in law, and continue to get pregnant Events conspire to produce a crisis between the friends where their true feelings are dramatically exposed.It was interesting to read about the Chinese traditions, lifestyles, and people of the time but the book is slow and meandering and the characters, though well drawn, were not likable and hard to care about In addition for me the description of how women were treated is hard to stomach I was also reminded that the devaluation of women continues in China today where female infants are often killed or discarded This ensures that many men can t find women to marry One might speculate that with the one child policy the Chinese government should have seen this coming.For those interested in learning about 19th century China I d recommend reading a non fiction book and skipping this one.You can follow my reviews at flag 25 likesLike see review View all 5 comments Aug 07, 2007 Erin added it review of another edition uuughughghghghg ugh ugh ugh.i can t read about foot binding any it literally makes me sick to my stomach this is mostly due to a 15 minute video displayed twice every hour in a small missionary museum in new mexico the sole purpose of this museum, for reasons i still can t explain, was to display unusual world practices encountered by missionaries around the globe, throughout history my parents, wishing to enliven and culture my young and spongelike brain, and also having nothing else t uuughughghghghg ugh ugh ugh.i can t read about foot binding any it literally makes me sick to my stomach this is mostly due to a 15 minute video displayed twice every hour in a small missionary museum in new mexico the sole purpose of this museum, for reasons i still can t explain, was to display unusual world practices encountered by missionaries around the globe, throughout history my parents, wishing to enliven and culture my young and spongelike brain, and also having nothing else to entertain me with as the entire state of new mexico is boring as all get out to drive through and so damn hot you can t even sit on the grass at the rest stops set me free in this twisted little house for 2 hours when i was eight it was full of fun things, like pictures of kayan woman proudly displaying their neck rings, and the perfume pouches french royalty wore to ward off fleas and lice, and examples of poisoned darts that papa new guinea tribes used to hunt down white explorers in the 1700 s yay And it also had this little dark room, with cute little chairs just my size, and teensy little brocade shoes just outside the entrance and everybody loves teensy shoes, people do you blame me for being fascinated the guy in the video, however, scary he was fat, balding, and holding a little model of a foot s skeleton just the size of my own he used this to show how a woman s foot would be wrapped in anceint china, to press the ball of the foot towards the heel and then he actually pressed slowly until the bones snapped and the ball and heel were touching and then someone in the production process must have decided this wasn t realistic enough, so they had this cute little asian girl actress come out and demonstrate, through blurry lens shots and muted screams, what this procedure might have felt like when they found me later i was hypnotized, sitting with my feet tucked under my butt clutching the toes of my tennis shoesw, like many of you devotees, i had an overactive imagination as a child i spent a good deal of time after that experience imaging what i would do if i grew up in that time period you know, how i would escape because of course i had to escape can you imagine what that would feel like but people would find me and hold me down or the emperor would catch me and chop off my head there was no escape lots of girls would have to do it or did it augh it must have been HORRIBLE for them HORRIBLE AUGHHH consequently, i decided that to make myself feel better about the 50 majillion little asian girls a long time ago, i would just pretend that foot binding never happened just, like, stick to american girl novels and the occasional dear america journal medieval europe only though till i was 12 or, you know, longer and that s worked out pretty good for me, until this book see does a pretty amazing job resurrecting all those horribly emphatic feelings her characters are fleshed out so well that it s hard not to see and feel through them and even though the story is beautiful, there s a lot of history in there to see and feel This is not like Sex and the Zhejiang Province , or those awesome soap operas out of Shanghai recently where everybody runs around an ancient chinese palace set waving fans and giggling and pouring tea and crying and having babies and being banished and what not Every main character in Snow Flower pretty much gets crapped upon continuously throughout their lives until they get too old to negotiate their way higher on the social food chain and just sit back and let their grandkids take care of them Or you know, die NOT A SPOILER Don t even try which is basically awesome definitely my kind of realistic, historical novel i m just warning everybody don t wiki it don t you don t need to see the x rays because they re gonna stick with you, in tiny little grotesque foot nightmares and you ll be stuck, for the rest of the book, pretending foot binding means everyone got to wear pretty tube socks in bright colors flag 24 likesLike see review View all 8 comments Apr 15, 2008 Soledad rated it it was amazing review of another edition Shelves favorites Have you ever wanted to know how it would have been if you would have lived in another time, like the Roaring Twenties, or ancient Egypt or Rome Well the book Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See, took me to 19th century China I felt like I had lived with Lily and experience her hardships, like her foot binding This book made me realize how lucky I am to have been born in the 20th century, and to the culture I was born in Everything that Lily and Snow Flower experience makes this book Have you ever wanted to know how it would have been if you would have lived in another time, like the Roaring Twenties, or ancient Egypt or Rome Well the book Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See, took me to 19th century China I felt like I had lived with Lily and experience her hardships, like her foot binding This book made me realize how lucky I am to have been born in the 20th century, and to the culture I was born in Everything that Lily and Snow Flower experience makes this book one of the best books I have read in the past couple of years There way of life, what was expected of them, having no choice in their future, it amazes me to know that similar situations still happen in 2008 Anyway, this book tells of the story of how two people can become one, and how human mistakes can change people s lives Lisa See brings to life a world that has long been gone, the landscape and food of 19th century China are reborn in Snow Flower and the Secret Fan The setting of the book, and the imagery all add to the emotional rollercoaster you experience in this book You also get a first hand understanding of the culture Lily and Snow Flower grow up in The only thing that these women were expected to do was learn to cook and clean, obey their mother, father and older brothers They were also expected to marry, with a guy that the family thought would be proper They were also expected to get their foot binding when they were six years old They had no free will, and were not encouraged to think about anything other than caring for the home, children, and satisfying their husband Lily and Snow Flower were lucky to be laotong, or old same Lily and Snow Flower also had the privilege to learn the language that had been made by women for women in Chain, a way to communicate with each other without the men knowing what was being said The language was known as nu sh Lily and Snow Flower are destined to be friends, but they become sister, and as we know sisters have fights, but for Lily her ignorance leads to her to become prideful But if you wish to know about the life of Lily and Snow Flower you must read this book, it will make you smile and cry, but it will give you a sample of the incredible life of women in 19th century China flag 23 likesLike see review Jan 01, 2013 Thomas rated it really liked it review of another edition Shelves adult fiction, historical fiction When a girl, obey your father when a wife, obey your husband when a widow, obey your son.At the age of seven, Lily has already found her laotong, a person with whom her friendship will last a lifetime Though they are both born in the year of the horse, at first glance Snow Flower transcends anything and anyone Lily has ever known The two girls write to each other in nu shu, the secret language of Chinese women, and their bond blossoms together, they endure the painful practice of foot bind When a girl, obey your father when a wife, obey your husband when a widow, obey your son.At the age of seven, Lily has already found her laotong, a person with whom her friendship will last a lifetime Though they are both born in the year of the horse, at first glance Snow Flower transcends anything and anyone Lily has ever known The two girls write to each other in nu shu, the secret language of Chinese women, and their bond blossoms together, they endure the painful practice of foot binding, the trials and tribulations of arranged marriages, and the joys and sorrows of motherhood At the age of 80, Lily recounts their shared lives, including the tragic incident that may have tore them apart.Many people praise two elements within Snow Flower and the Secret Fan foot binding and nu shu Foot binding disturbs me no matter how many times I read about it Though it does reveal a lot about women within Chinese society and what they suffered through for status, I still had to take deep breaths and numb my mind with music when I read the scene where Lily and her sisters had their feet bound Nu shu also adds a cultural component to the context of the story, and from the author s note in the back of the book I could tell Lisa See researched it extensively.Because the narrative of the book entails Lily looking back on her entire life, the writing comes across as detached and clinical at times While Lisa See still incorporates wonderful imagery whenever Lily manages to escape the women s chamber, her passive perspective provides us with an authentic view of women within China s social hierarchy Yes, it really does suck to read about the abuses women suffered at the hands of those they held closest to them But through Lily s experience we gain a greater fortitude against such behavior and we learn that friendship can help us fight it Snow Flower and the Secret Fan draws almost all of its strength from Lily and Snow Flower s friendship If I were to discuss it in a book club setting, foot binding, nu shu, and the role of women in Chinese society would all serve as appetizers The laotong relationship between Snow Flower and Lily would act as my meal It encompasses endless emotions and ideas love, shared sadness, bittersweet humor, longing, and my favorite, redemption Lily s character in relation to Snow Flower and the actions they take because of each other amaze me Within a minute I could relate their bond to affirmative action, the psychological rules of attraction, my own personal friendships, and much.Highly recommended for those in search of a quiet, poignant story Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is by no means a thriller, but it is profoundly touching, to say the very least review cross posted on my blog, the quiet voice flag 21 likesLike see review View all 3 comments Mar 25, 2007 K rated it did not like it review of another edition Recommends it for People who want to sigh over a female friendship without thinking too critically Shelves chinajapan, thank god i wasn t born there, maybe it s me, historicalfiction, chicklit My review from back in the days before I discovered I read this several years ago, but felt compelled to start a literary argument with my sister when I heard she actually liked this book The Secret Life of Bees meets Women of the Silk I m getting a little tired of the female friendship genre that seems to pervade contemporary literature these days While there are some better written examples of this category, many of them seem to be written with the agenda of ext My review from back in the days before I discovered I read this several years ago, but felt compelled to start a literary argument with my sister when I heard she actually liked this book The Secret Life of Bees meets Women of the Silk I m getting a little tired of the female friendship genre that seems to pervade contemporary literature these days While there are some better written examples of this category, many of them seem to be written with the agenda of extolling the virtues and possibilities of close female friendship, perhaps as an alternative to traditional romance novels Often, I feel that these authors are so anxious to idealize the close bond between two women that they spend less time actually allowing this bond to develop in a convincing way Their characters remain underdeveloped as well, leaving the reader with an overdone, unconvincing, and ultimately shallow story line.This book is no exception The writing is not bad, and the historical cultural context lends some interest to what would otherwise be a truly boring novel However, the characters were hollow and their friendship, and subsequent estrangement, left me cold I was so unenad that I found myself wondering at the authenticity of the historical setting how accepted were these ritualized female friendships, and did they really take precedence over the marital bond at times e.g a wife sharing a bed with her visiting sworn sister as opposed to her husband I don t claim to be an expert on this period of Chinese history, but it seemed inconsistent with the little I know of the inferior status of women at this time and place Given the author s general agenda, I couldn t help but wonder how many of the contextual details she colored in order to serve her purpose Perhaps this may be excused by poetic license, but if it had been a better book, I would probably not be engaging in this cynical line of thought The really good historical novels I ve read were so convincing that it did not occur to me to question their authenticity.In the title of my review I mentioned two similar novels which, if crossed, would result in this story Both of those novels fall into the category of overdone, agenda driven female fiction Perhaps this comes from an effort to appeal to the middle aged female audience, who probably represents a large percentage of the contemporary fiction market flag 21 likesLike see review View all 5 comments Feb 05, 2017 Anna rated it really liked it review of another edition Shelves historical fiction, favorite authors, 2017 reading challenge, favorite books i read in 2017, favorite fiction books ever Lisa See never disappoints me, and I loved my experience reading Snow Flower and the Secret Fan She truly is THE authority on historical fiction set in China Although this is the book I ve heard is the most famous , I find Shanghai Girls , Dreams of Joy , and Peony In Love were a bit to my tastes I just connected with those characters than I did with Snow Flower and Lily That should not deter anyone from reading this novel, however it is popular for a reason It is extreme Lisa See never disappoints me, and I loved my experience reading Snow Flower and the Secret Fan She truly is THE authority on historical fiction set in China Although this is the book I ve heard is the most famous , I find Shanghai Girls , Dreams of Joy , and Peony In Love were a bit to my tastes I just connected with those characters than I did with Snow Flower and Lily That should not deter anyone from reading this novel, however it is popular for a reason It is extremely well written, touchingly sad, and poignantly beautiful flag 19 likesLike see review Mar 25, 2010 Praj rated it really liked it review of another edition Shelves On my 13th birthday, I was furiously handed a copy of Amy Vanderbilt s New Complete Book of Etiquette The Guide to Gracious Living as my desperate cries for Madonna s Erotica album were sternly dismissed Phrases of Learn to behave like a lady and Beauty comes from pain , swayed alongside numerous sermons on feminine mannerisms that became a major part of my teenage life The former was courteously bestowed advising as to how a bra was essentially an undergarment and not a lacy billboard He On my 13th birthday, I was furiously handed a copy of Amy Vanderbilt s New Complete Book of Etiquette The Guide to Gracious Living as my desperate cries for Madonna s Erotica album were sternly dismissed Phrases of Learn to behave like a lady and Beauty comes from pain , swayed alongside numerous sermons on feminine mannerisms that became a major part of my teenage life The former was courteously bestowed advising as to how a bra was essentially an undergarment and not a lacy billboard Hey I say blame Madonna , likewise when the resonance of my beer burps would put a bull horn to shame The latter was peculiarly used by a genteel woman who tried waxing my legs for the first time and ended up being kicked out of her chair I certainly showed her the beauty of my pain Over the years, my grandma s constant remarks or blessings as she would term it on how it was important to be a dutiful wife to a husband and bear him a son was spitefully argued by me threatening dire consequences if she did not shut her mouth Now, when I sometimes think of it, I regret of not giving a chance to understanding her frame of mind or the environment which she was raised in My grandmother grew up humbly in the 1920s with disciplinary feminine etiquettes given a higher preference over academia, whereas I was nurturing on a steady diet of Beverly Hills 90210 Co Our worlds were separated through an entire generation and I could never comprehend her anxiety towards my adulthood.Lisa See speaks of an earlier communal generation our evolved minds scorn or laugh away without giving a chance for a valid rationalization It was a sisterhood sworn for life where happiness and sadness were shared through a secret language in an era, where fate was predestined and golden lilies were not flowers but an agonizing ordeal bound by austere customs Lily who was born in the third year of the Emperor Daoguang s sovereignty 1823 was the second daughter of a modest farmer.To brighten her prospects of finding a prosperous groom Lily s first break from tradition came through a her laotong or same old Snow Flower from Tongkou county Snow Flower would now be Lily s soul sister forming an undying bond of sisterhood sharing their life, desolations, joy and pledging loyalty to each other through nu shu, a clandestine language exclusively learned to share their innermost grievances From the tender age of seven, both these girls evenly obeyed customary rituals, right from bearing the treacherous process of foot binding to a dedicated living after their marriages and heartbreaking miscarriages As observed in the book, the story seems to be an outright semi autobiographical sketch of Lily Lu Contrary, this overwhelming portrayal is solely about Snow Flower and her altruistic allegiance to Lily as her laotong The relation between these two women speaks volumes of a philosophical friendship formed through secret scriptures carved on a fan acting as link in a world where women were not allowed to love but comply with the concept of obligatory love that came with their designated roles of a daughter, wife, mother and finally as the matriarchal head of the family image error Lisa See manages to bring forth various staunch customs that were a stubborn part of a culture centuries ago The inhumane as I assert my belief tradition of foot binding that required fastening the feet of a young girl into a form of a lotus bud restricting the length to seven centimeters for the reason that the golden lilies feet were a mark of magnificence and its aptness was a standing for forthcoming prosperities Debatably, inflexible rituals were a part of any culturally strong society prevailing over hundreds of years proclaiming the belief that women were meant to suffer as they were insignificant individuals to their natal families and at most times seen as a mere vessel to carry a male progeny Several derogating customs imposed on women throughout centuries like child marriages, foot binding, insulting display of conforming virginities, dowry regulations and many have fortunately been banished from the current evolved civilization The one I am extremely curious about is the Burmese Long Neck Women of the Kayan tribe abiding the tradition of compactly casing a brass coil around their necks to attain Giraffe necks associated with beauty Although most of them have been banished from the law of the land yet, a few have escaped the judicial eye occurring in many ethnic tribal regions of the global panorama Female genital mutilation to speak of still thrives in the deep pockets of the African sub continent whereas female infanticide resulting through pressure of birthing a male heir and concealed dowry deaths still see the daylight in rural Indian landscapes Let alone vast cases of domestic abuse utilized to confirm the marital dominance O boy Before my inner feminist crosses the edge of civility, let me move further with this review.The significant practice of nu shu as a communicative pathway disappeared with future generations and its traces can now only be found in the memories of elderly ladies Reading this book made stop to reflect on the rearing of my grandmother wrapped up in customary obligations of compact arranged marriages, the responsibility of bearing a son and the preferences given to her several brothers over the girls I can t even imagine going beyond her mother s generation and the suffrage women endured in the name of tradition.Lisa See always manages to hit close to home with all her narrations, fortunately not intimately The book is an absolute page turner because it not only restrict you from putting it down but empathize a noble sisterhood defining the loyalty of a selfless love in an era where rigidity of foot binding swallowed up one s heart flag 18 likesLike see review View all 7 comments May 15, 2013 Tania rated it liked it review of another edition Shelves historical fiction, favorite books She was also pointing out my defects and teaching me how to use them to my benefit In our country, we call this type of mother love teng ai My son has told me that in men s writing it is composed of two characters The first means pain the second means love That is a mother s love.3.5 stars A beautifully written book about the relationship between women in China I ve read a few historical fiction titles with China as the setting, but have never felt that I got such a thorough look at their She was also pointing out my defects and teaching me how to use them to my benefit In our country, we call this type of mother love teng ai My son has told me that in men s writing it is composed of two characters The first means pain the second means love That is a mother s love.3.5 stars A beautifully written book about the relationship between women in China I ve read a few historical fiction titles with China as the setting, but have never felt that I got such a thorough look at their culture especially at the inner woman s realm The Chinese way of life is so far removed from what I know that I find it totally fascinating, even though the pace is always a bit slower than most of the western titles I read Highly recommended.The Story In nineteenth century China, when wives and daughters were foot bound and lived in almost total seclusion, the women in one remote Hunan county developed their own secret code for communication nu shu women s writing Some girls were paired with laotongs, old sames, in emotional matches that lasted throughout their lives They painted letters on fans, embroidered messages on handkerchiefs, and composed stories, thereby reaching out of their isolation to share their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments With the arrival of a silk fan on which Snow Flower has composed for Lily a poem of introduction in nu shu, their friendship is sealed and they become old sames at the tender age of seven As the years pass, through famine and rebellion, they reflect upon their arranged marriages, 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 lifelong friendship suddenly threatens to tear apart flag 18 likesLike see review View all 9 comments Mar 20, 2008 Jen rated it really liked it review of another edition Shelves historical fiction Every once in a while after finishing a book I am reluctant to pick up another one I need to spend a few days thinking and picking apart the book processing new things learned, deciding how it fits in with my world view, admiring prose, and analyzing if I really believe the story and accept the author s conclusions This book had all of that New things nu shu a secret written language of women a thousand years old And foot binding, I was horribly fascinated and oddly touched Picturing mys Every once in a while after finishing a book I am reluctant to pick up another one I need to spend a few days thinking and picking apart the book processing new things learned, deciding how it fits in with my world view, admiring prose, and analyzing if I really believe the story and accept the author s conclusions This book had all of that New things nu shu a secret written language of women a thousand years old And foot binding, I was horribly fascinated and oddly touched Picturing myself going through this process with my own 7 year old Not a chance World View Set in the mid 1800 s in rural China I was filled with helplessness and horror as I read of among other things arranged marriages, foot binding, death, and abuse Strangely, I never felt pity I love a writer that can draw you in to the story so completely that what happens is how life plays out They write without a plea for sympathy because the point of the novel is not the plot devices or what life was like but the underlying story itself Prose Rice and Salt Days what a perfect description of that time in our lives when so many of us are just mothers or just women When our days are consumed with the details of running a home Clean, cook, repeat And the nu shu itselfa language based on phoenetics to be always read in texture, context and shades of meaning How relevant this simple lesson in the beginning of the book was to the story that played out.Analyzing I did believe this story and all of it s layers I have experienced a little the satisfying, healing and happiness to be found in our relationships with other women I do believe that we have influence on the circumstances around us, even when we start out holding none of the power And I believe in love and it s power to shape and direct our lives flag 17 likesLike see review View 2 comments May 03, 2016 Kala Hughes rated it it was amazing review of another edition Community leader and novelist Lisa See s Snow Flower and the Secret Fan explores the Chinese culture during the early 19th century while conveying the conflict between family ties and love and acceptance See reveals to the reader the life of the Chinese woman whose obligations were to not only obtain the smallest feet possible, but to serve her family, parents in law, and siblings Throughout the piece, See does an excellent job of portraying Lily and Snow Flower s daily rituals as they say goo Community leader and novelist Lisa See s Snow Flower and the Secret Fan explores the Chinese culture during the early 19th century while conveying the conflict between family ties and love and acceptance See reveals to the reader the life of the Chinese woman whose obligations were to not only obtain the smallest feet possible, but to serve her family, parents in law, and siblings Throughout the piece, See does an excellent job of portraying Lily and Snow Flower s daily rituals as they say goodbye to their adolent days in preparation for becoming mature, marriageable Chinese women The book begins on the six month of the third year of Emperor Daoguang s reign in Lily s hometown village, Yongming County also known as the county of Everlasting Brightness Near the beginning of the novel, Lily, due to her beautiful feet, is granted a laotong, Snow Flower Lily and Snow Flower undergo the process of foot binding together as they learn not just the physical trials, but the torturous pain of the heart, mind, and soul, See 46 while they realize what it takes to become a marriageable woman Throughout the novel, the girls endure many trials, such as poverty, intense training, and even starvation as they prepare for marriage Because of her family s low social status, Snow Flower does not end up with the family she had dreamed of Lily is welcomed into a family of wealth and social status however, she soon realizes that her life, despite its luxuries, is anything but paradise.See portrays the tragic lifestyle of the typical Chinese woman She includes vivid and often gruesome descriptions of the process of foot binding, educating the reader on the high expectations Chinese women were required to uphold during the early 1800s Snow Flower and Lily s relationship represents a safe haven Throughout the novel, Lily and Snow Flower stick together through their trials, reminding themselves that although their lives are not anything near perfect, they have each other, and sometimes that is all humans need Even in the beginning of the novel Lily explains, For my entire life I longed for love 6 Lily, like most of mankind, wants nothing than to be completely connected with another individual she yearns for that inseparable bond that humans chase after their entire lives The girls eventually have a fight yet, See demonstrates that true love lasts forever The girls never officially make up, but See still utilizes the last scene with Snow Flower and Lily together to illustrate the strength of such a deep connection Though Lily makes a irrational judgment about Snow Flower, and although Snow Flower deceives Lily, their love is still stronger Lily spends the entire novel reflecting back on her mistakes while knowing that although they had a breakthrough, Snow Flower forgives her In crafting Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Lisa see portrays the human need of love and commitment Lily and Snow Flower undergo many trials throughout the book, but in the end, their hearts still remain connected, whether or not their minds and bodies agree Throughout Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Lisa See gives the reader an accurate representation of the duties of a Chinese woman See does an excellent job with vivid word choice and imagery The reader cringes during the explanation of foot binding and empathizes with the women who were brutally beaten by their husbands for being unable to uphold civic duties as a wife By using such vivid imagery, See evokes emotion and connections with the reader, making the book an easy, quick read By utilizing Snow Flower and Lily s friendship, Lisa See illustrates to the audience the significance of love, friendship, and commitment, as sometimes those are the only things available in the midst of trials and tribulations flag 16 likesLike see review View 2 comments Feb 02, 2015 Jessica rated it really liked it review of another edition Shelves historical fiction, own This book made me feel claustrophobic The idea that not only were you not supposed to leave one area of your house, but actually could not go than a few steps because of your bound feet, is horrifying to me I genuinely think I would have had a nervous breakdown I had a panic attack when I got my braces on, because the fact that there was something pulling at my teeth, poking at my lips, about drove me over the edge So I have nothing but admiration for women who lived like this Who were This book made me feel claustrophobic The idea that not only were you not supposed to leave one area of your house, but actually could not go than a few steps because of your bound feet, is horrifying to me I genuinely think I would have had a nervous breakdown I had a panic attack when I got my braces on, because the fact that there was something pulling at my teeth, poking at my lips, about drove me over the edge So I have nothing but admiration for women who lived like this Who were wives and mothers, ran households, made beautiful things, cared for children and elderly parents, all while often being crippled by improper or extreme bindings This book is interesting in that it is very much a window into the world of women in 19th century China It was not written with modern or Western themes Too often we take things that are this alien to us and make the hero be the outsider Someone bucking convention, a women who refuses to have her feet bound, say, or leaves or husband and strikes out alone That doesn t happen here That isn t something that COULD happen here, unless she wanted it to be a fantasy So we see Lily and Snow Flower through all the stages of their life as it might have actually played out, had they been real Did I feel sympathy for them Yes Were they sympathetic Ye no Part of me wanted them to not do many of the things they did I understood that it wasn t possible, but I still wanted it to be different Because the reality is very, very sad And angering People made mistakes Sometimes they were able to fix them, sometimes they were not People were awful or kind Because they are real people represented here, and not fairy tale characters flag 16 likesLike see review May 10, 2015 Sookie rated it really liked it review of another edition Over the centuries every culture has its own version of perfection and refinement that sets people women, mostly apart from their counter parts Foot binding in China was equated with elitism and gave girls an opportunity to marry a higher class man The brutality of it was expected in the same way corsets were used in Victorian England to make the waists look tinier Over the time, the requirements for refinements have changed but haven t completely disappeared Women to this day are subjec Over the centuries every culture has its own version of perfection and refinement that sets people women, mostly apart from their counter parts Foot binding in China was equated with elitism and gave girls an opportunity to marry a higher class man The brutality of it was expected in the same way corsets were used in Victorian England to make the waists look tinier Over the time, the requirements for refinements have changed but haven t completely disappeared Women to this day are subjected to body type slurs when the new norms of perfection aren t met by them Lily is destined for something out of the ordinary and that happens to be being old same with a girl from upper class by the name Snow flower The similar tempered girls become fast friends the moment they meet and promise to share everything for the rest of their lives This story is gentle reveal of relationship between two women who met when they were just girls and made a contract to be soul friends for the rest of their lives They use nu shu to communicate, a language that s exclusively used by women for communications such as these Lisa See writes an intimate tell all Lily s passage to womanhood during the process of foot binding is done with dignity Lily accepts her fate as a necessity for progression in her life irrespective of her personal feelings about the subject matter Lily adores Snow Flower from the very beginning though the class difference between the two keep bothering her In a society where role of a woman was reduced to the one that produced sons and take care of the household, the system of old sames offered companionship and a sisterhood that formed an emotional support system As a character Lily is flawed she is selfish, judges her soul sister too harshly and can be overtly acerbic Narration suffers when Lily s inner monologue becomes a distraction The plot moves rather quickly in the beginning their childhood days and enjoys a steady pace through the rest Its a depressing story but it does warrant at least one honest read When we were young and doing the things children did, certain body type templates crept into our brains without our knowledge We linger a moment longer in front of the mirror and make a mental note of statistics made by different body parts We smoothen our skirts, readjust our dupattas and straighten our pants with our eyes constantly judging flag 15 likesLike see review View all 8 comments Jun 07, 2017 Karin rated it it was amazing review of another edition Shelves adult, american author, china, historical fiction, kapk, strong girls, novel, women writers, adult fiction, american authors This is a powerful novel about deep friendship At the age of 7 Lily and Snow Flower are paired together as old sames and learn to correspond with the secret writing of women, nu shu Lily is now eighty and is writing about this friendship that begins early on in their foot binding process and endures for decades before there is a painful rift.This is definitely the best I ve read from Lisa See, and I m glad I finally read it Even better, I m glad to have read it when I had an afternoon to de This is a powerful novel about deep friendship At the age of 7 Lily and Snow Flower are paired together as old sames and learn to correspond with the secret writing of women, nu shu Lily is now eighty and is writing about this friendship that begins early on in their foot binding process and endures for decades before there is a painful rift.This is definitely the best I ve read from Lisa See, and I m glad I finally read it Even better, I m glad to have read it when I had an afternoon to devote to it, because I didn t want to leave off reading it than I absolutely had to The language, the life, the love these two had for each other in nineteenth century China, even as they spent most of their time apart, is hauntingly honest in it s telling, and moving flag 15 likesLike see review View all 4 comments Aug 14, 2012 Jeanette rated it it was amazing review of another edition Out of about 20 prime Asian based novels of recent years, this is the strongest It s a story and reality of detail that stays within my memory years beyond the reading flag 15 likesLike see review View all 7 comments Aug 27, 2018 Kate Forsyth rated it it was amazing Shelves historical This extraordinary novel was first pubished in 2005, and gained a great deal of attention at the time, becoming a New York Times bestseller and being made into a movie It was a book I always meant to read, but never picked up, until my own trip to China this month encouraged me to give it a go I always like to read books set in the country to which I am travelling It is an absolutely riveting read, telling the story of a long friendship between two Chinese women in the nineteenth century At This extraordinary novel was first pubished in 2005, and gained a great deal of attention at the time, becoming a New York Times bestseller and being made into a movie It was a book I always meant to read, but never picked up, until my own trip to China this month encouraged me to give it a go I always like to read books set in the country to which I am travelling It is an absolutely riveting read, telling the story of a long friendship between two Chinese women in the nineteenth century At the age of seven, Lily is paired with another girl of the same age named Snow Flower Their relationship is one of laotongs or sworn sisters, with a signed contract between them akin to that of marriage A laotong relationship is made by choice for the purpose of emotional companionship and eternal fidelity A marriage is not made by choice and has only one purpose to have sons Snow Flower introduces herself to Lily by sending her a silk fan on which she s painted a poem in nu shu, a secret language written only by Chinese women so they can communicate without men knowing The two girls have their feet bound on the same day, and their shared agony knot their lives together even closely This chapter is one of the most powerful and heartrending in the book, and dissects an appalling cultural practise that literally crippled girls so that they were kept closely constrained within the house and family Not banned in China until 1912, foot binding today seems barbaric but Snow Flower the Secret Fan shows how deeply entrenched it was in some sections of Chinese culture This unflinching honesty and historical accuracy is one of the great strengths of the novel, and truly transports the reader back in time.As the years pass, Lily and Snow Flower continue to write their clandestine language on the fan, recording their hopes and dreams and fears and failures Both have marriages arranged for them, both have children, and both carry secrets that will ultimately damage their deep bond Intense friendship between women is not often depicted in fiction, and that alone makes Snow Flower and the Secret Fan remarkable I was also utterly immersed in the world of nineteenth century China, and its fascinating beliefs and customs I feel I learned so much, and understood an aspect of human life that had always been closed to me before This is what great historical fiction does for its readers it teaches and illuminates as well as engaging and diverting Haunting, heartbreaking and enthralling, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is utterly brilliant in every sense of the word flag 14 likesLike see review previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next new topicDiscuss This Book topics posts views last activity cialis 20mg tablet in Pakistan 1 1 Aug 21, 2019 04 19AM Finding the Right Fan for You 1 1 Jul 27, 2019 05 16AM HELP Historical fiction, A Chinese girl whose servant is sold to an old man, servant girl hangs herself 2 8 Jul 09, 2019 05 01AM fantasy children 1 1 Jun 29, 2019 05 30PM Coupon Gifts For Friends or Girlfriend 1 2 Mar 17, 2019 09 42PM Eagle Crest Book Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See 1 5 Dec 28, 2018 12 46PM More topics Share Recommend It Stats Recent Status Updates Readers also enjoyed
    Snow Flower and the Secret Fan 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 S

    One thought on “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan”

    1. Wow I just finished this book and wanted to come write about it immediately so I don t forget how it made me feel First off, the language is beautiful and so fitting for the context The two girls Snow Flower and Lily have a friendship that is beautiful and is fun to pick out little pieces from my own childhood current friendships that I recognize and adore My next thoughts are not necessarily critiques of the book, but of the way the Chinese thought I had a real problem with hearing over Wow I j [...]

    2. I had high hopes for this book, but ended up feeling deflated and disappointed Two aspects of the book were interesting descriptions of the practice of Chinese footbinding, and an exploration of nu shu, the written language Chinese women developed to communicate exclusively with each other Unfortunately, the book also has two major problems a boring story, and the use of cheap gimmicks instead of complex characterization The story deals with two girls who are matched as old sames, sort I had hig [...]

    3. My grandmother used to say that my big feet meant I had a good foundation I d stare longingly at her size six feet when she said this and curse my genetic inheritance from elsewhere in the family tree Then I had an ex boyfriend make the infuriating statement that rich women have small feet I pointed out that his celebrity crush, Paris Hilton yeah, another reason I dumped him has huge size eleven feet My teenage self took a lot of comfort in the fact that foot size is pre ordained and unc My gran [...]

    4. An Excellent Choice for Book ClubsI had a hard time putting down this book and felt utterly transported to a village in the Hunan province in central south China during the early to mid nineteenth century The narrator, 80 year old Lily, who refers to herself as one who has yet to die, tells the story of her life She has outlived her family members and relates the story of her formative years and her relationship with another woman, Snow Flower This well written tale is related with clarity An Ex [...]

    5. For my entire life I longed for love I knew it was not right for me as a girl and later as a woman to want or expect it, but I did, and this unjustified desire has been at the root of every problem I have experienced in my life What a sad yet beautiful book this was I adore historical fiction that can really immerse me in another time and place and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan did just that Transported back to 19th century China, I believe I arrived at a better understanding of a woma [...]

    6. I tried to read it It was so non compelling, who were these little mice of women, what were they up to, why should I care MAKE ME CARE The plot didn t, the characters didn t and so I couldn t get past about page 50 My mind kept drifting off and by the time I was conscious of reading again I wouldn t know what had happened so I had to reread it again and again up unto the fourth rereading of the same pages Exactly the same experience I had with Rushdie s Satanic Verses So I gave up I tho I tried [...]

    7. I ended up enjoying this book because it was so beautifully written and it took me deep into a world so unlike my own thank goodness for that This story takes place in China s Hunan Province in the 1800s and is about the inner lives of the women than the men I had a complete misconception of what foot binding entailed It s completely different, and so much brutal a practice than I ever could have imagined There were also many examples given of what I consider other horrendous cust I ended up enj [...]

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