Jen's Reviews > Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
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's review
Mar 20, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: historical-fiction

Every once in a while after finishing a book I am reluctant to pick up another one. I need to spend a few days thinking and picking apart the book processing new things learned, deciding how it fits in with my world view, admiring prose, and analyzing if I really "believe" the story and accept the author's conclusions. This book had all of that.

New things: nu shu a secret written language of women a thousand years old. And foot binding, I was horribly fascinated and oddly touched. Picturing myself going through this process with my own 7-year-old. Not a chance!!!

World View: Set in the mid-1800's in rural China I was filled with helplessness and horror as I read of among other things arranged marriages, foot binding, death, and abuse. Strangely, I never felt pity. I love a writer that can draw you in to the story so completely that what happens is how life plays out. They write without a plea for sympathy because the point of the novel is not the plot devices or what life was like but the underlying story itself.

Prose: Rice-and-Salt Days: what a perfect description of that time in our lives when so many of us are "just" mothers or "just" women. When our days are consumed with the details of running a home. Clean, cook, repeat... And the nu shu itself...a language based on phoenetics to be always read in texture, context and shades of meaning. How relevant this simple lesson in the beginning of the book was to the story that played out.

Analyzing: I did believe this story and all of it's layers. I have experienced a little the satisfying, healing and happiness to be found in our relationships with other women. I do believe that we have influence on the circumstances around us, even when we start out holding none of the power. And I believe in love and it's power to shape and direct our lives.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Maureen So funny that you said that about your reluctance to pick up another book. I have attempted two other books and have been unable to get into them. I so loved Snow Flower...

message 2: by Ang (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ang YES, you are so right! I just have spent so much time milling over it all. Nothing I pick up to read the last few days has drawn me in like that did. I still feel like I was so In To that book. Maybe I should have given it more stars??? But it was not quite like To Kill a Mocking Bird.

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