Summer Reading, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

Blogged under Good Books by Tammy on Monday 24 May 2010 at 8:38 am

My summer reading list is monstrously long, and I know that in reality I won’t be able to read all the books I’d like to during my summer break. However, I have gotten off to a promising start with this first book by Lisa See, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan: A Novel.

It is the fictional story of Lily, a 19th century Chinese woman, and her lifelong friendship with “her same,” Snow Flower. Lily is probably considered lower-middle class. Her family is not educated or rich, but they are not so poor that she has to work in the fields either. She lives in a world where there is a clear “man’s world” and a clear “woman’s world,” and traditions must be kept above all else. These traditions clearly outline her role as a woman, and this role is extremely limiting and many times physically and mentally painful to fulfill.

The story is told in an autobiographical first person format, very similar to another book I’ve read (and loved), Memoirs of a Geisha. In fact, there was a great deal about See’s book that I found to be similar. Both start when the female Asian protagonists (one from China the other from Japan) are young girls, then moves on throughout their lives until they are elderly. As they tell their stories, historical and cultural details are woven through the narratives. Granted, we are talking about two totally different cultures, but I enjoy a good story that includes these types of details, and I know that See spent a great deal of time researching Chines culture and traditions. The research definitely paid off.

Now I will say that Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is probably not up to the level of Memoirs of a Geisha, but it was pretty darn close in my opinion.  As far as the connection goes between the two books, they have similar flavors, and think if you liked one, you would like the other. If you haven’t read either of them, well, you should.

I have another Lisa See book on my list, Shanghai Girls: A Novel. Hopefully, it will be as enjoyable to read as this book.


  1. Comment by Angie Platten — May 24, 2010 @ 10:00 am

    I read them both and loved them both! And you are right… similar flavors but very different books. I’ll have to add your new one on my list too!

  2. Comment by Tammy — May 24, 2010 @ 10:14 am

    I started the other book last night. So far, so good.

  3. Pingback by The Crafty Princess Diaries » More Summer Reading, Shanghai Girls — May 31, 2010 @ 9:22 am

    […] Monday, I gave my 25 cents about Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa Lee. After reading that novel, which I really enjoyed, I decided to go ahead and keep with […]

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