17 February 2012

Book # 7

Last night I finally finished reading Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. I have to say, it was a really great story even though there wasn't a happy ending. The novel explores the relationship between two girls living in nineteenth-century China who formed a sacred bond when they were children. Narrated from the perspective of the main character Lily, the audience follows her as she grows up, marries, and births children along with Snow Flower. At 7 years old, the two girls become laotong (old-sames), a bond that is more precious than marriage and can never be severed. Their match is defined by the 8 characters that include the same month of birth in the same year, the same number of brothers and sisters, as well as the same day the two girls began the footbinding process. However, one of the 8 characters does not match: social status.
Lily is the daughter of a farmer and Snow Flower is the great-granddaughter of a jinshi scholar, a position that secured her family's social and economic standing for generations. Lily strives to earn Snow Flower's love and they grow closer and closer as they spend more time with each other. But as they both anticipate marriage, their relationship is tested as Lily uncovers the truth about Snow Flower.

I recommend this book to fans of historical fiction novels or of Chinese culture. I can say that as I've enjoyed the novel, I've also learned a lot about what it was like living as a girl in nineteenth-century China. However, I must warn that the beginning is rather slow so I encourage future readers to be persistent! I ended the book wanting to read more, and I hope you do too.


Until next time,

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