One of the main reasons that I love books is their ability to transport me to another time and place. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is one of those books. This is the second book I've read by Lisa See and the second time I've been impressed by her ability to take her reader into the world of 19th century China; a difficult era for women that many of us know nothing about. Lily and Snow Flower become laotongs, or sworn sisters, when they are just seven years old. They grow up together, communicating using a secret women's language called nu shu. They stay connected throughout all the joys and pains of life; footbinding, childbirth, and loneliness.
The good: Beautiful writing and emotionally-stirring story. If you a a woman, you need to read this. It was an eye-opening glimpse into the challenges and often agonies that women experienced in that time period. Want to read something that'll make you appreciate your freedom as a woman in the 21st century Western world? Pick this book up. A few pages into reading about the horrors of footbinding, you'll be thanking your lucky starts that you weren't born in 19th century China.
I also love books that make me yearn to find out more about a certain subject. Both of Lisa See's books compelled me to do some investigating on the internet. I learned about footbinding, marriage rituals, and nu shu writing. I found myself watching videos on Youtube and just completely engrossed in learning more.
The bad: I have nothing bad to say about this book! If I had to pick one thing it would be that it took me a little to "get into it." But after about 30 pages, I was pretty much hooked.
The verdict: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is a great book. It shows how female friendships and companionship transcend time and place. It made me think of another book that I've reviewed recently, Firefly Lane. While set in completely different times and places, both centered around the strength and beauty of female relationships.