Garnette's Reviews > Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
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's review
Mar 20, 2008

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Read in March, 2008

My book club was more 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.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Barbara I just completed reading this very popular book, but struggled with a sense that it lacked essential things. While skimming past reviews, I came upon yours, Garnett. You have exactly stated the sentiments and thoughts that I somehow groped to express. In retrospect, I think that I was generous in my 4 star rating. Somehow, I did enjoy reading this until the latter half, when I think See seemed to attempt a hasty redemption for Lily. I think that with her wealth of background info, she could have produced a much more substantial novel.

Garnette Now I am wondering what the movie will do to enhance the story, always a hope since there's so much room for improvement.

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