Heather's Reviews > Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
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Feb 18, 10

Read in February, 2009

This is a story rich in the history of Chinese culture, yet the facts don't weigh down the story line. Lisa See has a way of immersing the reader in the novel. I didn't feel as if I were only learning about Chinese heritage but rather living it. The ceremony of footbinding actually left my arches aching. The lack of worth beheld upon women in this culture left me furious. The characters' loses made tears well behind my eyes. The love Lilly has for Snow Flower left me with a sense of joy and love as well.

The theme of this novel is friendship. Though Lily and Snow Flower have an arranged friendship, it is one that develops into a deep sisterly love. For Lily this is the one true love she has felt during her life. Their friendship is the one true joy they have in life. The girls spend each night they are together in the same bed. They travel to the temple together each year. When they are apart they communicate to each other in the secret language of nu shu, which is carried in either the special fan they pass back and forth or embroidered in handkerchiefs.

One day there is a terrible misunderstanding between the girls. Lily was always trying to "fix" Snow Flowers problems by offering advice which many times came across as abrasive. What Snow Flower really longed for was a friend to just listen to her woes and provide a soft landing spot. Snow Flower attempts to explain this to Lily but Lily misunderstands what Snow Flower is trying to say and lets her hurt feelings destroy the friendship. Lily eventually realizes that what hurt so much then did not have such a large impact on the friendship overall. She spends the rest her her life righting her wrongs caused by the misunderstanding. And in the end shows that love conquers all.
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