Lesley's Reviews > Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
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's review
May 28, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2012, rhbc
Read from May 26 to 28, 2012

I've wanted to read this book from the moment it was available however for one reason or another I kept putting it off.

This story starts off with Lily in her older years as she looks back on her childhood and follows her life til "present" time. We follow Lily and her laotung Snow Flower as they go through various stages of what was traditional life in China from foot binding, relationships with ones family, friends, in-laws, customs, war and what life was like during that time. While this is a work of fiction, a lot of the customs mentioned were very real and while considered horrible and brutal by today's standards were considered beautiful at that time.

One aspect that I found particularly interesting is that we don't learn a lot of the characters names. Being of Chinese descent, that is still fairly true today in how we describe or refer to certain members of the family. It seems that the people's names we do learn are ones who have made some sort of major impact in Lily's life.

While this story does underline the preference for the birth and raising of male children, it does make me wonder about that. Females are raised to eventually marry and live elsewhere, however sons marry and stay at home. Males and expected to bring money into the household and yet it seems that they are also the ones who are putting more of a strain on the family itself with the bringing in of wives and the raising of children in the house.

Another aspect I found fascinating is that on certain holidays that the men stay at their homes while it's the women who go back to their natal/birth family. While this sounds wonderful, as a married daughter when you go home for some of the holidays you only see your father as your mother isn't there and yet it's unlikely once you're older that you've developed a bond with your father.

I grew up hearing about concubines, opium, foot binding etc, but only in the most clinical of ways. Ms See describes all of these in more real terms so you understand the intricacies and nuances that are involved.

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Reading Progress

05/27/2012 page 96

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