Bobby's Reviews > Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
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May 21, 08


** spoiler alert ** This is (mostly) a fictional story of two women in China during the time when foot-binding was still practiced (I believe the time is suppose to be the 1700's). The focus is mostly on their friendship and the hardships they have to endure. I hate to stereotype but I think most people will agree that this book is geared towards women. Having said that, I enjoyed reading it and felt I learned a great deal about the traditional Chinese culture. I was touched by the strong bond that the women in the book have; it reminded me of The Red Tent in that sense. However, I was quite irritated by the mistake the narrator, Lily, makes which results in her ending her friendship with Snow Flower for many years. I found this annoying because one of the major points in the book is that women are so much better at understanding context and finer nuances of their writing than men. Yet, Lily misses all that and makes her huge (and unforgivable in my opinion) mistake by just reading Snow Flower's note literally and making false assumptions. Granted she herself points this out later on but that didn't go far enough for me and overall I still found it hard to believe that she would sacrifice such an intense relationship so quickly and rashly. I wish the author would have created the strain on their friendship in another more believable way.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Lisa Vegan Bobby, Yes, This should make for a great discussion at our next book club meeting. I agree with much, not quite all, of what you said. And I have a lot of feelings and thoughts, as I'm sure many of us will.


message 2: by Rachel (last edited Jul 12, 2008 07:09PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rachel Lisa, after reading Bobby's review (which I never read before because it said it has spoilers) ... I better understand what bothered you about the ending.

I found it .... amazing that you guys thought the ending could have been more "believable." I guess you never had to live with stubborn women such as Lily .... or myself!!! I could totally relate to what Lily did. The women in my family do tend to fly off the handle and irrevocably burn bridges with loved ones. Some women are very proud and stubborn ... especially when they always doubted whether they were really loved in the first place. It's a shield we put up for protection. It's very easy to take a small slight against you and turn it into a great big rationale for why the person never loved you in the first place and how you have to absolutely CUT THEM OUT OF YOUR LIFE. We are so afraid of not being loved, it is easier to assume the person doesn't love us anymore and harden our hearts against them, trying to feel nothing. How can we be hurt if we don't love them either? At least that's the way it goes in my family ...





message 3: by Lisa (last edited Jul 12, 2008 07:20PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lisa Vegan Rachel,

I think in my review of this book I did say that I could understand and empathize with her because of her upbringing and personality.

And I perfectly understand such situations. My father and his brother were not on speaking terms when my father died.

I, at times, was not on speaking terms with my father.

But, when I read fiction and there are misunderstandings that seem contrived (whether they are or not) or at least unnecessary, I find it irritating.

I understood perfectly that Lily, being who she was, not to mention being told her entire life that girls are worthless, could feel unloved (and unlovable) and not believe she was loved even if the evidence was right there.

Anyway, I think this book might give us more to discuss than some other books we've read.


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