Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

I’ll admit that portions of the book were hard for me to fathom, so different are the cultures of China and America. 

And, about foot-binding, let me just say, ouch!  The things women do, and have done throughout the centuries, to be attractive to men.  Chinese women broke their feet and toes, Western women sometimes broke ribs to obtain the tiniest waist.  Although, to be completely truthful, it isn’t just to draw male admiration, but to gain status for ourselves that women put themselves through all of this.  It’s shallow, but true.  For then, as well as now, and for Orient as well as Occident.

I loved this book, and was fascinated by nu shu.  Just the existence and the possibility of it is astounding, and gratifying.  I did not like Lily, who, I thought, was what we in the West would call prim and proper.  Snow Flower was more real, if you understand me.  Sure, her life was harder, more difficult, but she never tried to change Lily.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is a must read, especially for anyone interested in Eastern cultures, and for those of us who aren’t (most of the time, anyway).

Rating:  4 out of 5 stars


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