Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is a book that takes the reader into 19th Century China, revealing a story of deep friendship and the lives of women in a time and place where the only worth they had was to bear sons. While fiction, it is a great introduction into this hidden world, showing that even so long ago, in another country, we are all human, and we are all the same.

This book follows Lily from the time she is a small child, introducing her as a young girl in a family that could lose all from poverty. Growing up, Lily knew that there were matchmakers and that a girl’s beauty was based solely on her feet, yet when the time came for her own future to be decided; she is unprepared for the changes that will occur. Instead of just a potential husband, Lily is also offered a laotong, or “old same”, and from here, a lifelong bond is formed between her and Snow Flower, another young girl but from a more wealthy family, bettering her prospects for marriage.

Together, their feet are bound, and they learn nu shu, a secret form of writing used only by women. Throughout the course of their entire lives, we follow them, through hardship after hardship, through marriage, through children. Later, however, they have a large misunderstanding and their friendship is put to the test.

I think that this book was both an easy and intriguing read. While it may seem dramtic at times, the story is one that will be readily followed as you become more and more attached to the characters. The author, Lisa See, seemed to have a knack for this, and by creating characters with such human imperfections, it makes you feel closer to them all the more. This is a book that drags you in, questioning each moment of what is to become of Lily.





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