Petra X's Reviews > Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
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May 05, 15

bookshelves: books-i-really-loathed, fiction, reviewed
Read from October 29 to 30, 2011

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 more 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.
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Comments (showing 1-47 of 47) (47 new)

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message 1: by Gayle (new)

Gayle "I doubt there's a director (still) alive brave enough to make a film of that book."
Too bad we don't have an Elia Kazan in our midst.

Thanks for the review, I'll be certain to not read this one!


Petra X Lots of people like it. It has a very high overall rating of 3.98. Just not my cup of tea, I have no time at all for fluff and semi-fluff unless its about models as I'm addicted to ANTM, Project Runway and ultra-fluff like that.


Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist" I haven't tried to watch the film, but I have a feeling I'd find it pretty awful. I've never been able to read anything else by this author, so I can see where your "make me care" sentiment comes from. That's how I felt when I tried to read Shanghai Girls, which I would have given one star had I decided to put it on my GR shelves.


Petra X I was nearly seduced by Shanghai Girls as well - the cover was so beautiful.


Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist" Now I've looked and I see I did put it on my shelves, without a rating. Maybe I thought I'd been giving too many one-star ratings. Anyway, it was unreadable for me. Didn't help that it was written in the present tense, which is my least favorite style.


Olivia yea,the cover is soo beautiful.


message 7: by Mike (new) - added it

Mike Norton I don't think you considered the way the majority of women were back then and in that culture. I haven't finished it yet, but I think that the narrative and story telling is incredibly realistic.


Petra X You are right, I didn't consider the times or the culture. The book has a high overall rating but it just didn't do it for me and there is no way I am going to continue reading what is after all, light fiction if it can't hold my attention in the first 50 pages. I look forward to reading your review. :-)


message 9: by Mike (new) - added it

Mike Norton I'm honored that a person as prestigious as you in this community would be interested in my review. I made an account here a little while ago, but I would consider today being my first real day of taking my membership seriously. Will you be notified when I post one?


message 10: by Petra X (last edited Dec 14, 2011 05:10PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Petra X Mike, I'm not at all prestigious but thank you for the compliment. Some people who think they themselves are very prestigious indeed think the very opposite of me. I just read and write a lot of reviews which substitutes for actually having a life!


message 11: by Mike (new) - added it

Mike Norton We all have a life; whether it's worth living is up to the opinion of whomever perceives it. I envy your ability to read books so quickly. I myself am a writer, yet ironically, I rarely ever finish anything that I pick up.

I look at this community as a way to discipline myself into becoming a better reader.


Petra X I read very fast, always have, but not all books, some I read very slowly. I don't think it is important at what speed one reads. Except I like customers who read fast, because then they come back and buy more books!


message 13: by Mike (new) - added it

Mike Norton I just burned through forty pages of this book (Snow Flower), but I had to stop because my eyes started to strain and lose focus. I wonder how to remedy and prevent that.

Any advice?

Also, would you be so kind as to read/review my book when you get the free time?


Petra X No, I don't read or review books of anyone I know in any way.


message 15: by Mike (last edited Dec 14, 2011 06:39PM) (new) - added it

Mike Norton Understood. That's the best way to stay unbiased. I respect that.

I'll let you know when I finish Snow Flower.


message 16: by knig (last edited Feb 03, 2012 01:11AM) (new)

knig Its true, its true....we're not dealing with a 'I am woman hear me roar' protagonist here, but just the same, I learned about Nu Shu which is beyond fascinating: as a concept, as an execution, just: kudos from me, and, more from a 'big brother' voyeristic point of view, I looked at these


http://www.myseveralworlds.com/2007/0...



and then hung up a fridge magnet which says 'count your blessings and not your problems', which I look at every morning or whenever I feel like wallowing in self pity.


Petra X I knew all about foot-binding in detail before I attempted to read this book and in any case never got that far, the book was just too, too boring to me.

Fridge magnet! lol. Whatever works!


message 18: by Barb (new) - rated it 5 stars

Barb You are right........this is not a book for everyone. I really enjoyed it.


Dtmoss I think this book was amazing. I wish you could have experienced this novel. One of the reasons I felt this book was a page turn was simply because the story, although set in early China, had an overwhelming theme of friendship and the problems that arise even in that time period. My own copy has passed through quite a dozen readers who told me they cried because of the book.


message 20: by Barb (new) - rated it 5 stars

Barb Dtmoss wrote: "I think this book was amazing. I wish you could have experienced this novel. One of the reasons I felt this book was a page turn was simply because the story, although set in early China, had an ov..."

Thanks for the comments Dtmoss but I would not have wanted to experience things like this.


message 21: by Barb (new) - rated it 5 stars

Barb I'm on the look out for a new book to read....or an old one. :-)


Camelia Rose I agree with this reviewer. This book is so not interesting. It took a great effort to finish it off.


message 23: by Noran (new)

Noran Miss Pumkin I hope you find some good books ASAP!


Petra X Crap comment removed from person who joined July, didn't use GR again until yesterday and made a bee-line here.


message 25: by Lisa (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lisa Vegan Petra X wrote: "Crap comment removed from person who joined July, didn't use GR again until yesterday and made a bee-line here."

Ha! You seem to have a target on your reviews, Petra. :-(


Petra X Yeah. All these accounts that have few or no friends or books, and their intermittent activity always coincides with snarky or trollish comments on my reviews... I wonder who they really are. Obviously they are sock puppet accounts for people with no guts who won't attack me under their 'own' (screen) names. I don't wonder very hard though, I don't even think of them unless I find a comment.


Petra X Actually this comment was a bit different and reminds me of the comments on my review of the Lorax (half of them deleted and not by me). The troll(s) on the Lorax worshipped the book as some kind of bible and it seems this commenter has similar feelings about the Secret Fan - that it is deeply meaningful and people NEED to read and in fact they have passed it on to 'quite some dozens' of people to do so. To them criticism of the book must be like attacking their beliefs. To me it was just a review of popular book that I didn't like.


message 28: by Lisa (last edited Dec 02, 2012 09:14AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lisa Vegan When I was 12 I couldn't understand why certain people I knew (often older adults who hadn't read a kids' book for decades and had never read speculative fiction books) didn't enjoy A Wrinkle in Time, but then I grew up and now enjoy everybody's different opinions about all books, including ones I adore and ones I hated. *sigh*


Petra X I just never understand why adults should be upset because their opinion about a book they've read aren't shared by others. No one gets upset if you don't like the same food, the same car, the same movie, they just get freaky about books. Weird.


message 30: by Lisa (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lisa Vegan Petra, Some people get freaky about movies too, and I can attest as a vegan that some people definitely get freaky over "their" foods. But people, at least a few people on this site, definitely do get upset over different opinions about books.


message 31: by Gayle (new)

Gayle Petra X wrote: "I just never understand why adults should be upset because their opinion about a book they've read aren't shared by others. No one gets upset if you don't like the same food, the same car, the same..."

I wonder if it is because those who read tend to think of the books they read as their "friends"?

Just like friends we spend quality time with our books; we interact and react to books just like friends; we judge, listen to, or ignore what books say to us, and we get rid of them when the relationship is just not working. We are allowed to put down our friends, but get angry when others do the same.


Petra X Lisa - yes, of course. I mostly eat vegan food, but out of choice not conviction, and when I go out to dinner in a restaurant it often is made a thing of that I didn't want the meat or fish, like I'm crazy or something. Especially when I point out that it isn't a moral choice but that I prefer veggies and grains, that apparently makes it worse!

Gayle - I think you are right, but being that emotionally involved with a book that is not a book of faith but a kiddies' book or fiction seems a little out to lunch to me. I can understand that in a 12 year old, but in an adult??? Or perhaps it is that I have been a copy-writer, an editor, a journalist, an author and now a bookseller and I see books more objectively, as products if you like and that has carried over into how I think of books I've read.


message 33: by Lisa (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lisa Vegan Food is very personal and, yes, books are like friends. So the explanation makes sense, but human beings not able to tolerate differences sometimes scare me.


message 34: by Gayle (new)

Gayle LOL! Actually perhaps it's just the fact that you somehow feel that the other person is denigrating your choices/reasoning? if it is a book that you liked but others did not or vice versa. I agree with Lisa that someone that intolerant is a bit scary! :)


Petra X It's just as well I don't feel like that Gayle, I'd lose so many customers who don't like the books I love which and absolutely loathe fantasy, zombies, romance, mystery - the most popular genres that sell well.


message 36: by Gayle (new)

Gayle So true. Being intolerant and in business are not a great match, unless of course you're in business in the U.S. and you're anti-abortion! (;


Petra X Gayle wrote: "So true. Being intolerant and in business are not a great match, unless of course you're in business in the U.S. and you're anti-abortion! (;"

In the recent Trustlaw poll on women's rights, the US came 6th in part because of its lack of freedom for women on their reproductive rights.


Petra X Martha wrote: "Hello! Chinese history not about the US!"

Martha - Hello back at you. Suggest you READ the thread before making stupid comments. The conversation had nothing whatsoever to do with Chinese history.


message 39: by Petra X (last edited Jan 11, 2013 08:23PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Petra X Martha came back and deleted her comment. Lucky I quoted it! Somehow I don't think Martha is a new account at all but a whole set of sock puppets.


Marisa Danish The film was plain awful. The book was so much better. What a lovely story!


Ariela Aharon I hear where you're coming from about the book being so slow.
I mostly enjoyed it because of my obsession with all things historical/cultural.
Ie, Definitely wasn't a page turner, but I did enjoy Snow Flower very much.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that this is a weird read?


Ariela Aharon ...about people worshipping books.
1.) At least they're reading? Id prefer a society that reads and bugs me about loving books that they love over one that doesn't read at all.
So I guess there's that.
On the flip side:
2.) WTF!!!! I just joined goodreads and have never seen such silliness in my life!
You like a book, I don't.
This in no way undermines or disqualifies your opinion. We are big kids, the best part being that we no longer have to choose our hair clips and boyfriends based on someone else's opinion.
Deal with it!
Grrrr.


Petra X Ariela wrote: "...have never seen such silliness in my life! You like a book, I don't. ..."

Very succinct. That should be somewhere up in the ToS. Don't be silly. You like a book, they don't!


message 44: by Miccilina (new)

Miccilina Piraino I also tried to read this one, had the same reaction Petra, I will never understand the culture where even today, women do not just TAKE CHARGE, they put up with a lot of crap for tradition's sake and for honor? Uh Uh, not for me, I did read Memoirs of a Geisha, then watched the movie, which was okay, but again, WHY? Why do they live like that, Do not understand, not sure I ever can.


Petra X Memoirs of a Geisha was written by a man who wanted to write a book that would become a bestseller so he played up to all cultural prejudices and betrayed his main source, Mineko Iwasaki.

Mineko wrote her own book, Geisha, a Life. Geishas are trick of the light. Their main attribute seems to be a feminine submissiveness. But really they tough-as-nails businesswomen, in an area where no men, apart from the dressers, are allowed - boys of over 10 are sent out of the area.


Derya Yavuz page 50. that's about where it starts to get interesting ;)


message 47: by Paul (new)

Paul Munro lol Derya


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