Myridian's Reviews > Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Oct 10, 12

it was ok
bookshelves: asian, fiction, historical-fiction
Read from October 04 to 10, 2012

This novel follows Lily and Snow flower through their lives with a focus on their relationship with one another as "old sames" or women who have contracted to be emotionally married to one another throughout their lives.

The book is written as though it were a memoir by Lily and I think this is the basic problem with the story. Rather than having immediacy, the narrative feels removed from the action and thoughts/emotions of the characters. Additionally, See does not inject much detail into her descriptions of the characters, places, or interactions which kept me from feeling connected with what was occurring or with the characters themsevles. This makes sense in the context of a memoir, but I feel was a poor choice for the story. Fortunately or unfortunately I watched the movie before reading the book. It's very rare for me to say this, but even with it's flaws I prefer the movie to the book because the action allowed me to connect with the characters in the way I could not with the book.

The main theme of the book is how we misunderstand one another and how our own schemas obstruct our connections with one another. This felt like a worthy topic, but I couldn't help continuing to feel frustrated with women who only used traditional means to try to expand their condition and cope with the horribly patriarchal and frequently cruel situations they were placed in.

Finally, when reading this book be prepared for death and a lot of it. I recognize that this was a reality of the world Lisa See was writing about, but it felt like the lives of the characters were basically a litany of one horrible occurance after another without much of a balance of positive aspects. Accurate perhaps, but not something that makes for a very fun or vibrant read.

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.
Sign In »

No comments have been added yet.