Paula Watkinson's Reviews > Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
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's review
Oct 20, 2011

really liked it
Read in October, 2011

I wavered between a 3 and 4 rating (I would have given it a solid 3.5 had I the choice).
Beautifully written story of a life-long friendship between two women in China in the mid-1800's. So much about this story distressed me -- from the treatment of daughters to foot-binding, the fate of women under the rule of their in-laws and husbands. It was difficult to get through because this empowered, 21st century woman, had a hard time processing how women coped and accepted their fates with such dignity. It's a testament to our collective strength, sure,... but what distressed me most was how/why women could be so cruel to one another.

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10/20/2011 page 258

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message 1: by Maya (new)

Maya This was a very timely critique because it's next up for my bookclub and I have to decide whether I want to read it or not. I did a very early DNF on another book by same author because I could not abide the extreme, absurd lengths the upper class family (and thus, all in their social group) went to to keep their daughter "pure" of any form of contact with men/boys, no matter how inane.

I think you've hit the nail on the head in terms of quality of disbelief - it's not even so much the appalling cruelty that was routinely inflicted on countless young women (which is bad enough in itself), it is that it was perpetrated by other women, in the name of love. We have the contemporary equivalent of female circumcision carried out by female relatives with no pain control and dull, unsanitized instruments.

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