19th-century China, foot binding, secret languages (nu shu), sworn sisters (laotong), arranged marriages, death, betrayal...all compelling subjects. S...more19th-century China, foot binding, secret languages (nu shu), sworn sisters (laotong), arranged marriages, death, betrayal...all compelling subjects. Sadly, the way Lisa See handled these subjects in Snow Flower and the Secret Fan was not that great. My biggest grievance is that the story is told from the perspective of 80-something-year-old Lily looking back on her life with Snow Flower (her laotong) and SHE FREAKING SPOILS EVERY BIT OF THE STORY FOR YOU EVERY STEP OF THE WAY! She'll be telling you a story about someone when they were young, pause to tell you that they die in some tragic way in a few years, then continues on with the original story about that person. It is not 'foreshadowing,' it is flat out SPOILING. There was no mystery of how the story would unfold because freakin' Lily kept telling me who would get married, who would die, who would be betrayed...yada yada yada. Jerk.
I'm actually kind of surprised that I finished this book, considering how little I cared about any of the characters. Honestly, I only picked up this book because the movie was coming out and I'm, of course, the kind of person who typically likes to read the book adaptation first. Really wish I had just watched the movie and skipped the book though. I don't know if the movie is any better, but I have a hard time believing it could be as blah as the book.(less)
Amy Tan is one of the brightest stars I've read in contemporary fiction. Her storytelling is first-rate in this poignant tale of four Chinese "Aunties...moreAmy Tan is one of the brightest stars I've read in contemporary fiction. Her storytelling is first-rate in this poignant tale of four Chinese "Aunties" whose lives in 1940s China contrast so sharply with the lives of their assimilated daughters in contemporary California. While it took me some time to get into the story, it was a book that ended up going straight to my heart. I would definitely recommend it to those that love layered tales that span generations.(less)