Book Reviews of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan : A Novel

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan : A Novel
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan A Novel
Author: Lisa See
ISBN-13: 9780747580669
ISBN-10: 0747580669
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 240
Rating:
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 15

4.2 stars, based on 15 ratings
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

309 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan : A Novel on + 111 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 61
I couldn't put this book down. A truly amazing work!

When Lily is matched with Snow Flower as a laotong (lifelong friend), everything seems magnificent. But when the true reason for the loatong match is revealed, only time will tell whether their friendship will survive. The story, as told by Lily who has reached the end of her long life, is filled with both the joys and sorrows of girls growing up in early 1800's China. It is filled with detailed accounts of the Chinese culture of those times and the harsh realities of those who lived in rural China. A fascinating and gripping tale of the strength of women, even if they are considered as lesser beings by the society around them.

A must-read for anyone who enjoys first-person narrative and historical fiction.
reviewed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan : A Novel on
Helpful Score: 28
Wow! I was very impressed with this book. This was my first look into the Chinese culture and now I'm hooked. I had no idea what foot binding entailed and it was so interesting to learn of a female's upbringing and place in society. Would make a great book club read. Highly recommended.
reviewed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan : A Novel on + 48 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 27
A beautiful and emotional of two girls growing up in 18th century China. This book is well written. It gives a look into Chinese culture, traditions, and the role of women.
reviewed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan : A Novel on + 17 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 20
This is a wonderful story that tells us so much about the Chinese culture at that time and also is a story for women, about the strength of women and the bond between women. Great book!! Highly recommended!
reviewed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan : A Novel on + 86 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 18
This is an extraordinary story! Loved every word in it, all the way through to the end. Even though the setting is a world so very different from this one, Lisa See manages to make the reader feel completely at home there.
reviewed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan : A Novel on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 17
If you've ever wondered about the practice of foot-binding in China, this is the book for you. This book also has a main character who is not entirely sympathetic, but that by the end you like despite her shortcomings. This would be a great book for a book club!
reviewed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan : A Novel on + 15 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 11
Absolutely amazing! I couldn't put this book down. If you liked Memiors of a Geisha and any book by Amy Tan, you will most certainly love this book.
reviewed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan : A Novel on + 17 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 10
I found this book to be extremely overrated. I wouldn't have finished it except for thinking that so many people can't be wrong; maybe if I read fifty more pages I'll become entranced...

Well, I was wrong. When the story was over and done with, yeah, the plot was good, the writing was good... except for one crucial little detail. I found I really didn't care what happened to the characters; none of them seemed real or deep.
reviewed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan : A Novel on + 17 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 9
This is a beautiful heartbreaking story about the agony of footbinding and arranged marriages, extreme loneliness, and the joys and tragedies of motherhood.
reviewed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan : A Novel on + 239 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 9
Someone in one of my book clubs chose this book to read. I read the little blurb for it and wasn't looking forward to reading it. It just didn't sound that interesting to me. Boy, was I dead wrong. Just wrong.

This was one of the better books I've read lately. I was horrified, fascinated, happy, sad and terrified all at the same time. I didn't know much about this era of China before reading this book and I was intrigued by many things in here, I even had to spend some time at Wikipedia looking stuff up.

The core of the story is about a friendship, but for me it went way beyond that, yes there was the footbinding (literally reading this made my own feet ache with horror), but there's also the marriage practices, the "place" the women have in their home, nu shu, etc etc...

Read it. It was really very good - a surprisingly good read for me this year!
reviewed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan : A Novel on + 82 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8
Excellent book! If you loved Memoirs of a Geisha, you will LOVE this book. It is the story of a strong friendship that endures many trial and errors. It takes you into a different culture. This is a must read.
reviewed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan : A Novel on + 37 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
Story of two young girls enduring footbinding and arranged marriages in 19th century China. They find solace in messages they send to each other on fans using a unique language that Chinese women created in order to communicate in secret away from the influences of men.
Excellent read!
reviewed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan : A Novel on + 373 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
This is one of the few books I've read in my life that brought me to tears. It's an unabashed tribute and unashamed celebration of friendship. Whatever circumstances draw two people together, whatever emotions cause a friendship to form, whatever reasons the friendship remains - they're all examined here. See makes an excellent case for swallowing one's pride in order to continue with a life.
reviewed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan : A Novel on + 54 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
Very, very, interesting story that captivates your mind instantly. I did have to skip over alot of the foot-binding proceduere as it was very graphic and heart-breaking. The story will keep your interest. You almost feel as if you know the characters in the book. Two little Chinese girls are introduced as pen pals and become best friends throughout their lives and endure the harshly strict customs that governed thier health, mental, and financial lives.
reviewed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan : A Novel on + 9 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
I cannot say enough good things about this book. It was one of the BEST books I've ever read - enough said. An amazing story about friendship, loyalty and love. You will not soon forget this after you're done reading it. And you also will wish it never ended.
reviewed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan : A Novel on + 181 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
A wonderful historical glimpse into 19th century China peopled with intriguing characters. This book definitely makes you question the roles of protagonist and antagonist.
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Helpful Score: 4
I read this book in just over 1 day as I could hardly put it down. Reading it gave me some insight into Chinese culture, especially the complicated rules people live by. My emotions were tugged in many directions as the story progressed and eventually I was left with a healthy respect for the writer's work. Reading the authors note about the writing of this book alone was interesting.
reviewed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan : A Novel on + 39 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
A personal account of Chinese women in the early 19th century. How they coped with living in a society that considered them worthless because of their gender. The deep friendships, secret writings and singing that sustained them through the most difficult times. The horrific process of foot binding that they prayed would produce small 3 inch feet that were considered beautiful, even though they could barely walk on them the rest of their lives. All of these things and more make this an engrossing book you won't soon forget.
reviewed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan : A Novel on
Helpful Score: 4
A beautiful and eloquent tale of life in China. Detail about foot binding and the socio economic status of the different classes. A tale of relationships and what the lack of honesty can do. This is one of my all time favorites!
reviewed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan : A Novel on + 386 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
This book deals with the entire issue of women's lives, and all it entails, without ever descending into vulgarity or apology. Lily & Snow Flower's lives are filled with pain from the age of seven, when their feet are bound, until their deaths, and yet somehow I did not find the book depressing. They are married off to strangers, have children, lose children, and at one point lose each other. They grow up in a system that does not value love, either from parents or husbands. Lily is honest about not knowing how to show love to Snow Flower in her hour of need; she has no cultural experience in it and honestly does not know what to do.

I especially enjoyed the author's comments at the end, and how she found in real life some of the world she had written into the book.
reviewed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan : A Novel on + 167 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Turn off the TV, grab a snack and a glass of wine, and settle in for a deeply satisfying read. Author Lisa See has written an absorbing and touching tale set in 19th century China. The characters are well-developed and you grow to care deeply for them. The reader will also learn something about historic Chinese culture and the now-forbidden custom of foot-binding. A five-star novel, highly recommended.
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Helpful Score: 4
A very interesting story and a look at a very different culture.
reviewed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan : A Novel on + 97 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
An amazing story of friendship and love. I couldn't put it down. Very well written and engaging.
reviewed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan : A Novel on
Helpful Score: 4
This is an amazing book. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I can see why this was a national bestseller. It's vivid, heartfelt, expertly crafted, and soulful. I felt as though I were back in 19th century China, a China where the majority of the people including the men hadn't been beyond their small town, a China where women had their feet broken and bound, a China where a woman's worth was only in producing sons for her husband's family. You get a glimpse of the inner life, secret thoughts, hopes, and squabbles of two women who are lifelong friends. If you enjoyed Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, you should read this story.
reviewed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan : A Novel on + 195 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
so beautiful i wept
reviewed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan : A Novel on + 15 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
This is a well-written piece of fiction that delved into the secret world of women's writing in China. Even without background on this period in Chinese history, it is easy for the reader to visualize the difficulties of growing up as a Chinese woman. Whether it was the painfully vivid descriptions of foot binding, the explanations of the intricacies of nu shu (women's writing), or the sorrowful ups and downs in the relationship between Lily and Snow Flower, Lisa See does a masterful job tying together facts and fantasy in a way that captivates the reader
reviewed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan : A Novel on + 10 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Engrossing. Fasinating glimse of a totally foreign culture.
reviewed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan : A Novel on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Emotional story! Great book!
reviewed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan : A Novel on + 30 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Beautiful and heartbreaking.
reviewed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan : A Novel on + 40 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
My best friend recommended this book to me, telling me it was one of the best books she's ever read. Not only did I also love the book, but it helped me see the importance of my friendship with her.
reviewed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan : A Novel on + 45 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
A beautiful story of friendship and love set in mid 19th Century China.
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Helpful Score: 3
A fast read. Interesting historical fiction of 19th century China. Plot was weak and there were inconsistencies. It was an interesting look at the role of middle and upper-middle class women and they're relationships to each other.
reviewed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan : A Novel on + 81 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
This book is a must read. It is about a friendship developed between to girls during the era in china that foot binding, arranged marriages, and secret messages were popular. This book was a page turner that i could not set down.
reviewed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan : A Novel on
Helpful Score: 3
This book was beautifully written! The story wraps around your mind, and you can't stop thinking about the characters, their emotions, and the outcome of their actions until long after you put the book down. I also learned a lot about the Chinese culture and the reasoning behind some of their customs.
reviewed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan : A Novel on
Helpful Score: 3
A beautifully told story with the added benefit of learning about seldom taught aspects of Chinese culture.
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Helpful Score: 3
Wonderful and moving.
reviewed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan : A Novel on + 34 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
A deeply moving story of the bond between two girls throughout their lives.... I learned alot about the Chinese cultures. Very interesting!
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Helpful Score: 3
Beautifully written book that really touched my heart. I hope whomever reads it next is equally blessed.
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Helpful Score: 3
One of my favorites. It is amazing to read about other cultures and what thyre women went through. I know this is fiction but it is historically correct about women's lives in that point of time. Thank goodness we live here and now.
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Helpful Score: 3
This was our book club book for May. Lots of lively discussions about the Chinese culture. Book has many twists and turns.
reviewed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan : A Novel on + 134 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Perhaps it was all the hype about this book, but I found it rather disappointing. The writing was excellent, the portrayal of the era and the rituals (particularly footbinding) was outstanding, but overall I found the it rather bleak and a bit boring. Admittedly it seemed a true reflection of the time and place, but the plot had some twists and turns that I believe would have been fascinating had the characters had any ability to affect their destinies. Since they didn't, they came across as a series of depressing events that just kept piling up.
reviewed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan : A Novel on + 36 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I didn't really know what to expect when I picked this book up...I have to say, now that I have finished it, that it is probably one of the best books that I have ever had the pleasure of reading...The depiction of a woman's life in 19th century China makes me appreciate being a woman all the more...Women were considered expendable and without worth...But they actually held their families together and showed strength beyond anything I could ever comprehend...The stories about footbinding showed just how strong these women were...To endure the pain associated with such a barbaric practice and to come out stronger and more wise than any man...This is a great work of literature and I am thankful that I read it...Makes everyday tasks seem so menial...I look at my ever growing pile of laundry and think how lucky I am that I am who I am...
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Helpful Score: 2
I don't review books becuase choosing a book is such a personal preference. However, when I finished this book I had only one comment....
WOW!
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Helpful Score: 2
Great story.
reviewed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan : A Novel on
Helpful Score: 2
this is one of the best books i've read in a long time. If you like Chinese culture,then this is the book to read.
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Helpful Score: 2
This book was excellent. The descriptions of the classical culture, including foot binding, arranged marriages, and traditional female roles, were incredible. The ending was perfect, not in a "everything turned out great" way, but in a realistic way. I am reading "Peony in Love" now, and I think I'm hooked on this author.
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Helpful Score: 2
Loved this audio. They say the book is always better than the movie. In this case the audio is so much better than the movie! Movie was very dissapointing but loved the audio. This goes to show how close an audio comes to actually reading the book. Very interesting culture, the Chinese and Japan as well.
reviewed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan : A Novel on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
LOVE THIS BOOK!!!!
My best friend recommended for me!! Emotional, grabs your attention from the start!!!
reviewed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan : A Novel on + 21 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I really enjoyed this book. It was a great insight into the ancient Chinese culture of foot binding. It would give this book 4 out of 5 stars.
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Helpful Score: 2
Excellent book! A true testament of women's relationships. I loved it and look forward to reading other books by this author in the future.
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Helpful Score: 2
This was a fantastic book about friendship. I learned a lot about the Chinese footbinding, as well. This is a great, easy read.
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Helpful Score: 2
Not one I would have picked up on my own but on my book club list and it was incredible!
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Helpful Score: 2
I think this had to be one of the best books I've read in a while. I was able to connect with the friendship shared by the characters.
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Helpful Score: 2
Wonderful! Wonderful! Wonderful! I could not put this book down. We read it for our book club and what an excellent choice. Made a great discussion as well. Looking forward to reading more of Lisa See.
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Helpful Score: 2
I loved this book. It has a simplistic style of writing that is beautiful and thought provoking. This is a tale of true friendship with its ups and downs. It has opened my eyes on how I can be a better friend.
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Helpful Score: 2
Delicious! Great way to live the life of a Chinese woman without leaving the comfort of my reading chair. Compliments "Memoirs of a Geisha" very nicely.
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Helpful Score: 2
I truly enjoyed this book and couldn't put it down, it was so
entertaining. Want to read more books by this author!
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Helpful Score: 2
This story helped me tremendously to understand a culture and a way of life I can't even imagine enduring, yet millions have. I couldn't put it down. It's a story of love and the absence of it, of committment, of courage.
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Helpful Score: 2
The binding of Chinese women's feet was was ended just under 60 year ago! This book details the indoctrination of a culture to believe that women are worthless except to please men. To this day, female infants are aborted, murdered or abandoned in China because of the residual of this belief system. This is a sweet, tragic story of the suffering of both women and men in an oppressive culture. Wonderful, heartbreaking, but redemptive story of the deep love between women. I couldn't put it down. My husband read it and was blown away! A good read for every adult women and man in our free culture.
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Helpful Score: 2
I truly enjoyed reading this book.It gave a glimpse into a long ago type of life in China but the women's feelings were similar to any woman at any time.
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Helpful Score: 2
Wish I could say this lived up to the hype but I found this book incredibly boring. But it did have one of the most graphic, too-realistic description of footbinding- shudder!
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Helpful Score: 2
a marvelous narrative, a timeless portratit of contenious, full-blooded
female frienship. In nineteenth-century china, in a remote hunan country.
two female we be paired for a life time.
this was on of the best summer novels for a great fast reading.
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Helpful Score: 2
I LOVED this book. The imagery is wonderful, the story is compelling... It is just a GREAT read.
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Helpful Score: 2
A very interesting tale about the lives of women and girls in early China, from footbinding to friendships and marriage.
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Helpful Score: 2
I had a hard time putting down this book and felt utterly transported to a village in the Hunan province in central south China during the early to mid-nineteenth century. The narrator, 80-year-old Lily, who refers to herself as one who has "yet to die," tells the story of her life. She has outlived her family members and relates the story of her formative years--and her relationship with another woman, Snow Flower. This well written tale is related with clarity, sentiment, and most poignantly, remorse. It's through remorse that the reader comes to know the true character of Lily, as she reflects upon a misunderstanding she had with her one true love.

Beyond the reflection of Lily's relationship with Snow Flower, a girl she meets at the age of six when they are introduced by the local matchmaker and tied by contract to forever be known as "laotongs," or "old sames," this story provides a lesson in Chinese history and culture. Many have heard of the tradition of feet binding, but through Lisa See's writing, one experiences the excruciating pain and the meaning behind a mother's duty to bind her "worthless" daughters' feet. It's all about marriage and, of course, sex. At once I went to the Internet to look for images of bound feet because I had a terribly hard time visualizing a foot only seven centimeters in length.

I enjoyed every minute of reading this story and I highly recommend it. I think it would make an excellent selection for book clubs, given the vast number of elements to spark topics of conversation: Chinese culture--past and present; Mother-daughter relationships; Foot-binding; Arranged marriage; Female relationships; Lesbian relationships (?); Chinese history; Chinese foods; Chinese geography, etc.

From the author of "A Line Between Friends," McKenna Publishing Group.
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Helpful Score: 2
This book was heart wrenching and so excellent at the same time. I'm grateful to not be one of those poor footbound girls, but the idea of a laotong is so wonderful.

This was a bookclub choice, and I'm really looking forward to discussing this story with the other 5 women in my group. What a fantastic story.
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Helpful Score: 2
Another stunner from Lisa See. She writes so beautifully and paints a breathtaking picture of time and place. Her characters came alive for me, and I loved, suffered and weeped along with them. An eye opening look at the cruel custom of foot binding, and the relationships forged by women to love and support one another in a culture where women are considered basically worthless. Completely engrossing and unforgettable. Very highly recommended.
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Helpful Score: 2
Extremely engaging novel about women and friendship set in 19th century China
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Helpful Score: 2
I was absolutely fascinated with this book. Not only is it extremely well written, the storyline itself is gripping and jaw dropping at times. This is one of my favorite books and I have requested others from this author.
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Helpful Score: 2
A very interesting book. I enjoyed learning about the tradition of footbinding and about Chinese culture.
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Helpful Score: 2
I fell in love with this story! I couldn't put the book down. The details of the Chinese culture were amazing. The twists and turns in the book were captivating. I was sad to see the story end. Absolutely BEAUTIFUL!!!!
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Helpful Score: 1
Definately a good read
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Helpful Score: 1
This was a beautiful, poignant story of a friends' lasting relationship between two women from their girlhood throughout their lives. The story is well written with joy, sadness and great love. I recommend it!
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Helpful Score: 1
Fascinating. Lisa See always captures my attention with her ability to create characters that capture my interest, though I have nothing in common with them. Asian culture is intriguing and See always gives me a chance to see into it.
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Helpful Score: 1
Loved it!!!! Shows the enduring strength of two women and the evolution of the bond between them from early childhood until death. Very moving...reminded me of "Memoirs of a Geisha"...just takes you to another place and makes you really care about the characters and what they are going through.
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Helpful Score: 1
Cultural . . .Insightful. . .Enjoyable.
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Helpful Score: 1
A great read, definatly worth cuddleing up with on a rainy afternoon.
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Helpful Score: 1
A lovely book about women in China during the foot-binding days and the friendship between two women, in particular.
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Helpful Score: 1
I borrewed this book from a friend and coudnt put it down all weekend.
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Helpful Score: 1
Loved this book so much! I've been a big fan of Amy Tan's novels for years and came accross this book at a book exchange. It was the first I'd heard about Lisa See and now I want to read more from her! I could not put this book down. So interesting, such vivid characters, so rich with history. It's fascinating, heartbreaking - a page-turner from beginning to end! Highly reccommend!
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Helpful Score: 1
I loved this book! I enjoyed the writing style and subject matter. I felt just like I did when I finised the book A Thousand Splendid Suns: I am glad to be a woman in the United States.
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Helpful Score: 1
At first I was skeptical of the straight-forward narration style, but the dramatic events and emotionally-rich interactions got me hooked early on and kept me invested in the lives of the characters. I also loved getting an in-depth experience of the fascinating culture of 19th Century China. This story stayed with me long after I finished the book. A great read!
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Helpful Score: 1
They don't get much better than this...this book lay on my shelf for a long,long time but once I started reading, I couldn't stop. Enjoyed it so much, I ordered the next one by Lisa See as well.
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Helpful Score: 1
This is a hauntingly beautiful and achingly sad tale of life in 19th century China in a remote village. By age 6 Chinese daughters are made to endure painful foot binding. A girl named Lily, at the tender age of 7, is paired with a laotong, or "old same", in an emotional match that will last a lifetime. Her laotong, Snow Flower, sends her a silk fan on which she has written a poem in nu shu, a unique language that Chinese women used to communicate with each other in secret, away from the influence of men. This is the story of their survival in a world that is cruel to women. If follows them through their marriages, births, trials, and political rebellions. It is a story of friendship and survival. But when a misunderstanding arises, their friendship suddenly threatens to tear apart. The pages will float by in this riveting story.
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Helpful Score: 1
A wonderful read about two friends. The main characters were well constructed.
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Helpful Score: 1
excellent novel that grabs you from the begininng, with an unexpected ending.
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Helpful Score: 1
Snow Flower & The Secret Fan is a journey into history without being a dull history book. This book is touching on many levels as we follow the story of two little girls in ancient China and their efforts to find themselves in a society where they are considered to have little value. Easy and intriguing reading...
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Helpful Score: 1
This was an excellent book. I learned so much about the culture! I would highly recommend this book - would be a great book club read!
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Helpful Score: 1
Loved it! Now I am hooked on Lisa See books.
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Helpful Score: 1
This book open my eyes to another world. I was transformed into a totally new enviornment and culture. I loved this book. I loved the writing and the detail. The struggles women went through in traditional Chinese customs and traditions. This is the story of two young girls, and their lives through friendship, love, death, loss, poverty, and wealth. A great book!
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Helpful Score: 1
This was a fascinating look at the life of women in China in the 1800's. Once I got past the description of the foot binding (yowzers!) I was completely taken in by this book. It focuses on the friendship between two women who are contractually bound together as young girls and face the challenge of maintaining a friendship as they grow older, grow apart, and live in very different social conditions. A showcase of Chinese culture and character development. I can say with some honesty that this book made me stop and think about my own friendships and what I needed to do to be a better friend.
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Helpful Score: 1
This book was hard to read because it was so emotional - great joy and sadness.
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Helpful Score: 1
This book has a great story line and also includes fascinating historical information about a secret written language "illiterate" Chinese women used to communicate among themselves. It gave them a voice in a very patriarchal society. The practice of foot-binding and its many implications is also described very effectively in this book. But the best part is the depiction of characters the reader will come to love. Lisa See is a talented writer and this book brings the reader quickly into a culture that no longer exists.
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Helpful Score: 1
Read this book in my book club and it was one of the best discussions after that we ever had about a book. So much to talk about, to learn from, ponder on. Made me appreciate being born and raised in America with rights and in a society that values women.
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Helpful Score: 1
I read this for the April "Flower" theme in my online book club, The Reading Cove. I'd had it in my TBR pile for a while, but the theme pushed it to the top.

I really enjoyed this story! While featuring a vastly different time and culture than my own, it actually transported me to China in the 1800's, and right into the lives of Lily and Snow Flower. Their friendship had it all. Deep, inexplicable love...and the harsh complexities of judgement, misunderstanding, bitterness and pain. I even cried at the end. I felt Lily's pain as realization dawned.

SNOW FLOWER AND THE SECRET FAN was a wonderful story about love, friendship and the complexity of female emotion. I highly recommend it!


(¯`·.·´¯) (¯`·.·´¯)
`·.¸(¯`·.·´¯)¸ .·
×°× ` ·.¸.·´ ×°×
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Helpful Score: 1
I enjoyed this book greatly; I thought it was sweet and poignant and loved the unique context for what I thought was otherwise a fairly common theme--the attainment of wisdom through age and experience, and the consequential regret of the actions of one's younger self.
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Helpful Score: 1
I got completely swept away by this book. The characters, the culture, the beautiful and sad parts of the story -- were all just enchanting.
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This book was great! It uses actual historic facts in the story line, and things that women really went through within that time period.
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Helpful Score: 1
I have to admit that I learned a few things from this book, and we did have some interesting discussions about it at our book club, but it was VERY slow and I could hardly push myself to get through it.
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This is one of my favorite books! I enjoyed it from beginning to end.
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This is a great story capturing the essence of life in ancient China. The customs amongst women, especially the details in footbinding tradition, the women's secret writing, arranged marriages, the interaction of women in a household, etc. The author creates a very vivid tale that keeps you engaged till the end. I was very impressed with this author. Although she is not as well-known as Amy Tan, Lisa See develops characters and carries out a story in an easy to follow and enjoyable manner. As compared to The Bonesetter's Daughter, I prefer Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.
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Helpful Score: 1
A heart-rending, but engrossing book. I could hardly put it down...although the details on the role of women in that particular time and society were pretty hard to read. I kept waiting and hoping that Lily (the narrator) would find some way to truly connect with Snow Flower. Some small defiance that would have made her more of heroine...but I guess that wasn't the story being told...
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Immediately after finishing this wonderful book, I began to reread it!
I wanted to revisit all of the beauty and pain of the superbly created characters.
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This was an incredible book. If you have ever wondered about the binding of feet in Japan - this book will expose that tradition.
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Helpful Score: 1
A beautiful, haunting story that remains with the reader long after the book is closed. The insights into the lives of women in China during the period are as vivid as they are disturbing.
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To make this short and sweet---Beautiful Beautiful story. Lots of culture. Loved it.
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Great Book! I couldn't put it down!
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I really loved this book, if for no other reason than the remarkable glimpse into the lives of 19th century Chinese women. They were literally bound, but still managed to create lives of meaning.
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Helpful Score: 1
I enjoyed this book very much. I finished it in two or three sittings. It is beautifully unfolded by the author and it brought me to tears a couple of times, which i have only done two or three times ever. Love, friendship, determination, and history all rolled up into a rich story. Five stars out of a possible five!
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Helpful Score: 1
I really loved this book. So interesting to learn about Chinese culture during that time, and especially roles of women. It would be a great book club book - i think a lot of discussion would come from it.
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Fascinating look into Chinese custom of foot binding. Great characters and a moving story. I loved it!
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I thoroughly enjoyed this book from start to finish. Lisa See is a great storyteller and makes you feel like you are in China. I learned so much about the culture of that ancient time as well as enjoyed sharing the friendship she wove in the story.
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Helpful Score: 1
The book was recommended to me by a friend and I was initially reluctant to read it; especially, when she said that there were detailed account about the foot binding process. I am so glad I gave the book a chance - I could not put it down. It is a wonderful story of friendship, betrayal, love and loss.
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Helpful Score: 1
Very interesting from a cultural perspective and the story kept me riveted throughout the entire book.
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The informational details about the process and results of foot binding were interesting. As for the actual plot, it was slightly better than okay.
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Truly enjoyed this book. The description of how the young child's feet are wrapped turned my stomach just a bit, but very accurate! Quick read - one of those books you can't put down until you're finished!
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Helpful Score: 1
Wonderful story. Captured me right away and continued to 'hold' me until the end.
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Helpful Score: 1
What a fabulous book! I highly recommend this as an entertaining novel as well as an enlightening book on rural China during the late 1800's.
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Helpful Score: 1
I enjoyed the story along with the history knowledge obtianed from the story.
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I really enjoy reading stories that illuminate a different culture or time. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan was the best novel I have read for this in a long time. I really enjoyed reading this novel, in fact I finished it in one day. I felt the characters were real, they had flaws and made mistakes. They learned from their mistakes, but often not as soon as they should. I liked seeing how Lily's character and perspective on events changed at the different parts of her life. I learned a lot about Chinese culture and the period of history that the book was set, especially since the problems and misunderstandings that occurred in the book are timeless and relatable to people today. It was a beautifully told story and I am glad that I read it.
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My book club is reading this book for our next monthly meeting, so I will be interested to see what everyone thinks. I enjoyed the booking...giving a true sense of the era and life in this part of the world. The story woven into the setting was very intense at times and sometimes a bit wordy...but all in all, I would highly recommend the book.
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I loved exploring the world of this book and wondering about the lives of other women in other times. The details of this book will stick with you for a long time.
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This book taught me much about early China customs. It was a painful book to read in
many ways (the foot binding descriptions) but it did happen and helped me understand
Chinese ways and customs and thinking better. It wasn't a happy read, but a good one.
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I really enjoyed both the historical and the fictional aspects of this book, and therefore donated every moment of free time I've had for the past week to reading about Lily and Snow Flower's lives and friendship. Normally, I'm not a huge fan of novels that take place over a character's whole life, but Lisa See managed to pull it off in Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. I'd recommend the book to anyone interested in Chinese culture or who simply enjoys stories centered around women and friendship.
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Helpful Score: 1
As a female I really went heart to heart with this book. The things women went thru in ancient china was unimaginable. Yet amoung all the heartaches, these incredible women had a brilliant language to link themselves together to a deep rooted lifelong friendship. Like most of us today, amoung this friendship is misunderstandings and strong emotions and of course remorse. This is a book I will never forget and will always think about. I can not wait to read more from Lisa See!
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Helpful Score: 1
Loved this book. The history of foot binding is so interesting (and heartbreaking) and the story is beautiful.
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I enjoyed the look into the life of chinese women and all that they had to do. Thank good foot binding is now illegal!
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Helpful Score: 1
I absolutely LOVED this book. Not only is it wonderfully written but it really opened my eyes to what it was like to grow up a girl in China when feet-binding was still widely practiced. It was very easy to connect with the characters in this book and I will certainly be looking for more work by this author.
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Helpful Score: 1
I would give this book 4and one half stars. I loved learning about chinese foot binding and all the other customs.
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Lisa See has really opened my eyes to the ancient Chinese Culture. I recently read her "Shanghai Sisters" and now I can't wait to read "Peony in Love". These are not easy books to ready, but well worth the tears! Keep a tissue handy and ready when you are alone.
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Helpful Score: 1
This book was well-written, but the story didn't interest me much. I like historical fiction but this seemed to center on the unfairness of how women were treated and foot binding. The characters were not very deep. It was an interesting read but not one of my favorites. I liked Memoirs of a Geisha better.
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Very good - I would definitely recommend this book. Very hard to put down at times.
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Beautifully written tale of two women and their lives in China. Soo interesting and SO SAD. The injustices toward women are absolutely mind-numbing. Engrossing read!
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A well written, engaging and informative story of life as a woman in China, 1823 - 1903. A facinating read.
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Very enjoyable book with a lot of information on little known chinese customs. Great story of friendship.
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This was a wonderful historical fiction novel. I highly receommend it!
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Loved this book, couldn't put it down!
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I loved this book! Vivid prose absorbing you into a heartbreaking portrait of triumph of the spirit, friendship & love.
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Amazing read! A glimpse into the lives of women in a remote part of China during the 19th century. The footbinding practice is unbelievable!
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This is a most beautiful story of friendship, heartbreaking at times but powerfully written. So well written that I could visualize certain scenes. It will remain one of my all time favorite books EVER.
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This is a very enjoyable book about the lives of two women in 19th century China from childhood to the last days of their lives. The reader learns so much from these women about the culture of their time while giving a very personal description of their thoughts and lives.
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This national bestseller is about Snow Flower, a 19th century Chinese lady who sends message on a fan to Lily. Both endure the agony of footbinding and share their feelings about their arranged marriages and their lives.They develop a deep bond that keeps their spirits up, but a misunderstanding threatens their friendship.
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An extraordinary story. A book about forever friends, betrayal and experiences in old China that I can hardly wrap my mind around. Loved it.
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A very engaging novel about an 18th century girl in China with descriptions of foot binding and the life of females of that time.
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One of the best books I ever read. About two chinese foot-bound women and their friendship. Very moving.
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I loved this book, I've read many books about Asian people and this was one of the best.
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This book was absolutely wonderful. I just couldnt put it down. I was so amazed and drawn to what this poor girl indured emotionally throughout her life. Definately a great book to read.
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This is one of my absolute favourite books ever. Beautifully written....
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Loved the story of this young girl and her coming of age. The tradition and story made this a book I could not put down.
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Historical novel of nineteenth century chinese girls, following 2 girls paths from childhood to old age. Very good.
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A lovely lovely powerful story of china in another time. Evokes poetry and some hard truths all at once.
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In 19th century China, a girl named Lily is paired with a "laotong", or "old same" in an emotional match that will last a lifetime. The laotong, Snow Flower, introduces herself by sending Lily a silk fan written in "nu shu", a unique language that Chinese women created in order to communicate in secret, away from the influence of men. The fan holds stories of their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments. They also share the agony of footbinding and reflect upon their arranged marriages, shared lonliness, and the joys and tragedies of motherhood. The fan keeps their bond and spirts alive until misunderstanding arises and threatens their deep friendship.

A spellbinding look into this Chinese culture and the lives of two very unique women.
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Excellent read. Fascinating culture.
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Execellent book. It explores the persceptions of two women and provides wonderful insight into the Chineese culture.
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Helpful Score: 1
I am not a fan of "mushy" books. I do, however, love when a good book makes me cry! I therefore began reading Snow Flower and the Secret Fan with cautious, yet hopeful, anticipation. From the first page, I realized that Lisa See had no intention of defaulting to the typical emotional cliches on which so many other authors seem to rely. In other words, trying too hard. Instead, she created honest, realistic, and utterly flawed characters whose relationship evokes emotion on a personal and very natural level. These characters cause you to reflect on your own relationships, and wonder "am I a Snow Flower or a Lily?"

I gave the book 4 of 5 stars because I thought the foreshadowing was a little too heavy handed. I kept asking myself, when will this "misunderstanding" take place already? Otherwise, an excellent read!
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Helpful Score: 1
A captivating story and history of China girls becoming women.
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If you liked "Wild Swans" you will enjoy this. Fascinating descriptions of the life of women in rural China and the few friendships they are permitted to make, the secret written language "nu shu" used only by women, foot binding, and the ceremonies and seasons that mark the life changes from daughter to wife to mother. I learnt a lot and most of the factual information comes from the author's interviews with an elderly Chinese woman (in her 90s) and her own Chinese/American family. Looking back on her unexpecedly long life (women expected to die in their 40s) has given this one lady a unique perspective. Audio version very well read by Jodi Long.
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This book deals with the entire issue of women's lives, and all it entails, without ever descending into vulgarity or apology. Lily & Snow Flower's lives are filled with pain from the age of seven, when their feet are bound, until their deaths, and yet somehow I did not find the book depressing. They are married off to strangers, have children, lose children, and at one point lose each other. They grow up in a system that does not value love, either from parents or husbands. Lily is honest about not knowing how to show love to Snow Flower in her hour of need; she has no cultural experience in it and honestly does not know what to do.

I especially enjoyed the author's comments at the end, and how she found in real life some of the world she had written into the book.
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LOVED THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gripping, emotional, unbelievable
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I bought this book on a whim and thoroughly enjoyed reading it. The story is such a good read, I would (and have) recommend this book!
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Some books I can finish reading, put away and move on to another book. Others remain with me far beyond finishing that last chapter. This book was one of those. I will be thinking about the characters (so real to me--despite the immense cultural differences!) for a long time to come. I was horrified reading about footbinding, and horrified reading about the way women were brainwashed into really believing they were worthless members of society. However, the love the two "old sames" shared and the lessons that Lily learned through that love moved me, inspired me, and thrilled me.
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Great historical novel that I found facinating. A tale of friendship over decades. From the days of feet binding, to weddings, babies and tragedy, it was very moving.
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Very enjoyable read. Insightful, thought-provoking.
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A good read about a friendship and misunderstanding in old China. Lots of good historical detail about womens lives, foot binding and it's cultural importance.
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this is a wonderful book. if you like stories about strong female friendships set in ancient China than this book is for you. the author spent much time researching the private female language nu shu and it shows.
i am a great fan of Gail Tsukiyama and this book is right up there with her best!
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This is a beautifully written novel with so much to teach about Chinese culture as well as human relationships.
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Excellent read. The author has done wonderful research to create a wonderful background for this beautiful and heart-wrenching story of friendship.
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This is a powerful and beautiful book! The writting is so beautiful and the characters are unforgetable! A story of friendship and love in such a way that you have never read about before!
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An outstanding book that takes us through the lives of two women in China who are best friends. It's story of tradition, friendship, and love will stay with you long after you put down the book.
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A wonderful story of woman's friendship through the years, set in a remote province of China, vivid in its story against the traditions and culture of 19th century Chna.
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This wonderful book not only tells a tale of women's lives in China, it gives the reader amazing insight into the customs and culture of 19th century Chinese life. One of the best books I have read lately.
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Very interesting book. Sure give you an insight into the old oriental culture. I enjoyed it. Not a fast read...
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A beautiful story of a young girl's life in a remote county of China in the 19th century....from age six to maturity .....a moving portrait of female friendship and hardships in a deeply traditional Chinese society...an unforgettable read.
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I really enjoyed this one. The glimpse of culture, how personal it was. I just loved it.
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This was a moving book about friendship and how different perceptions can affect it. I also learned a lot about women's lives and customs in 19th century rural China.
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Loved this book.
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Great read. If you enjoyed "Girl with a Pearl Earring", you'll love this one, too. My cover is different but I'm not able to post this book without using the ISBN CODE it certainly is worth reading!
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A wonderful book about a secret civilization of women who lived in China many years ago. If you loved Memoirs of a Geisha, you will find this book wonderful.
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The descriptions of customs and traditions are wonderful.
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A beautiful book about friendship between 2 women.
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A FASCINATING STORY OF EIGHTEENTH CHINA AND A SECRET CODE AMONG WOMEN AND FOOT BINDING.
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I read this book as a book group selection. I am trying to think what other book it reminds me of... maybe one by Amy Tan. It was very painful reading the sections relating to footbinding, but no where NEAR how painful it must haven been to endure.
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Really enjoyed this book. It held you till the end and then you hated for it to end. What a lovely story.
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Great Book!
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LOVED this book!
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A great book about two Chinese women and their friendship in nineteenth century China.
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I expected it to be better. I was not intrigued with it at all during the first 2/3 of the book but found it more interesting towards the end.
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Simply put: wonderful!
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I thought this book was very overrated. It had some intresting parts about foot binding and such but it was not a great story.
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Author Lisa See turns from her series of mystery lit books set in modern day China, to explore the closed world of women's friendships and hardships in the nineteenth century, when a secret language enabled women to support one another. This was the most graphic description of the foot-binding of young girls that I have ever encountered.
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Definitely a "must read". Wonderful characters. A powerful portrayal of friendship and love...very moving!
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I started reading this book because the foot binding chapter started on page 17 and I was fascinated to find out how this was done. I found that the entire book was fascinating in a sense because it gave me such an education about the lives of Chinese women up until the beginning of the 20th century. It was very hard to read though it was only 253 pages long. The women of China were treated so badly and had so little hope or happiness in their lives. I know a lot about history and I know this book was very well researched. So, even though I wanted to keep going on, I had to stop sometimes and get away from the book and distract my mind. And it wasn't only the men who continued the abuse and subjugation of the women; it was the women themselves. Overall, a very bad, bad time and place to be a woman. At the end, I grieved for them all as I grieved for Snow Flower and the terrible burdens she shouldered throughout her pitiful life. This is an excellent book and I think, should be read by every woman. However, it will bring tears and sadness and great relief that we do not have to live like that anymore.
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Excellent historical look at 19th century China from a woman's perspective.
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Lisa See has presented a beautifully written story of two "laotangs" or "old sames", Lily and Snow Flower. Their deep and enduring love for one another throughout their lives is both beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. Even though their culture, history, traditions and lives are totally unlike my own, as the author states "we as American women are independent, free, and mobile, but at our cores we still long for love, friendship, happiness and tranquility and to be heard." We women are blessed to have the companionship and love of our women friends.

I was both fascinated and horrified to read the details of the Chinese foot-bindinng process that endured right into the early 20th century!
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I really enjoy historical fiction and this book didn't disappoint.
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An excellent look at the traditions and customs of the China in the 1800's. Most people are aware of the tremendous gender gap in modern day China, with boys far outnumbering girls. This is buried in centuries of tradition, as explained by Lily. She narrates the story of her life and one learns of the harsh conditions under which girls are raised.

Fortunately foot binding is no longer practiced. The detailed description of this process made me ill. Lily survives, but her younger sister did not. Still, a fascinating look at a country's past and traditions.
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Wonderful story, beautifully written. I could not put it down!
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Excellent background/History of the process of Footbinding & how much meaning it had to the Chinese men & women. Never had any idea of the importance, & pain of this process. Good read.
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Couldn't put this one down. What a journey the main character had from childhood through adulthood.
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Wonderful book. Loved it. Loved it.
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Where others may find this book slow going, I found the rich story fascinating. I had very little knowledge of this time in Chinese history, the culture and the social practices of the time. This is a slice of life of women in the nineteenth century of China that go through not only the timeless struggles of love and friendship but also the daily struggles of that period.
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I hear the movie is coming out. I hope it remains true to text--the secret communications between sheltered, food-bound women, and their courage.
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I was very surprised at the book..I had never read a book about China or the practice of binding girls feet...It was upseting to me but I worked through it and otherwise I really enjoyed the book.
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Lisa See's stories always have such interesting characters and this is no exception. She made me love and loathe the latest families in this story. She explores so many aspects of relationships between women and the ones they are surrounded by-loved ones or not. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
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Beautifully written story about love, friendship, loyalty. I could feel their pain and sorrow as they grew up in a world where girls are not valued. Highly recommend.
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I really enjoyed this book - it was a hard one to put down. Also very informative and interesting - I learned a lot about China & gender-roles. Foot-binding is not what I thought it was - YIKES! Thank goodness they don't do that to girls anymore. Great book.
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A beautiful book about girls in China in the 1800's. But beyond that, this is a book that explores the delicate nature of friendship, and a sisterhood among women. A must read for anyone who has had a true friendship.
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This book is a beautiful tale of friendship, but painfully honest about one woman's heartache, mistakes and regrets. Once I got a ways into it I couldn't put it down.
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I enjoyed this book. If you are interested in ancient Chinese culture, you should enjoy. It also explores how this culture defines beauty and the value of women.
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good read
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Pleasantly surprised, gets suddenly racy at one point, but nothing to turn anyone away, those who should be too young will likely miss it anyways
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Eye-opening, fascinating, heart-wrenching. A very well-written piece of work. I would say the downside to reading this book is how depressing it is. Compassion will flood the reader's heart for the hardships and struggles of the characters. I was angry at the traditions of Chinese culture and its injustices toward women for so many years, but truly amazed at the women's dignity and strength through it all. A high quality and enjoyable read. The images of footbinding will stick in your mind for days.
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A short read but very interesting to me because of the insight given into the life of Chinese women in the 19th century, the footbinding and pre-marriage and marriage rituals, daily life for a woman--for me basically from a perspective as one woman in the world to another. This book tends to go into more detail than most others I've read regarding the above. The two main characters are likable and the story is told from an elderly womans perspective towards the end of her life.
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A beautiful story!
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This book was one of my first "readings" and first glimpse into a little Chinese culture. Truly breathtaking! Couldn't put it down. A must read.
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Great read. Could not put it down.
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Interesting subject that I've never read about before, but wasn't especially drawn into the story.
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Excellent Book about Chinese women and girls in the 1800s. It has many cultural insights about arranged marriages, footbinding, and a "woman's place" in that place and time. Two girls become "old sames" or formalized best friends. It is a great story of suffering and love. I read this in 4 days!
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There was a Indie movie made of this movie (with the same title) that had a contemporary piece about two Chinese girls and one of them is reading what is the essential story in this book and how it parallels she and her friend. The book clearly depicts life of women in China and the custom of footbinding -- fairly vividly.

I saw the movie first and it has its merits, but the book is worthy of a read as well. Book club members would find much to discuss here.
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Loved this - used it as my book club pick last year!
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Two chinese girls, one of lower standing, are made into "old sames". The story follows the tales of foot binding, marriage, children, war, and the trials of friendship that cannot always be forgiven.
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What an interesting book about the women from China!!!!!
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Good, quick read with lovely imagery
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A very good read. I enjoyed the glimpse into 19th century China and the theme of female friendships was timeless.
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Set in 1800's China-a multi-generational epic about the lives, loves, losses of fascinating female characters
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I'm not typically a historical fiction reader, but at my mother's suggestion, I read this book. I'm glad I did! You actually feel like you're in the story. Beautifully written.
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In true Lisa See fashion, there is a lot of tragedy and suffering in this book. But, as always, See opens our eyes to the struggles of Chinese and Chinese Americans in this country and in China. Very interesting topic though it did drag at some points. I imagine the imagery in the movie version of this book is amazing.
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A heartbreaking and haunting story of how women lived (and were treated) in 19th century China. As the mother to a daughter adopted from China, it hit a bit close to home for me. This was a very emotional read and is not for the light-hearted. Have tissues ready.
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Great story but an unexpected ending. Definitely recommend this book!
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The story overall was entertaining, but at points it seemed to drag out. I would recommend to be read, but not a book I would re-read.
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Facasinating story about an age old practice in China.
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Lisa See's Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is a fascinating story of women's friendships in nineteenth century rural China. Lily, the narrator of the novel is in her eighties, looking back on her life. The story follows the everyday lives of Lily and Snow-Flow, from age 7 into womanhood as they learn "nu-shu" (the secret writing of Chinese women), share their secret dreams, and confront the day to day challenges of being a wife, mother, and daughter-in-law in a culture where women are prized not for their intellect or talents, but for the size of their feet.

This book also examines the suffering which Lily and Snow Flower experience in their laotong relationship (laotong = a liaison made by choice for the purpose of emotional companionship and eternal fidelity) - as seen through the graphic descriptions of foot binding, and the hardships endured during the Taiping rebellion.

Ultimately, the story makes you question how much of a person's life is guided by tradition, fate, and the expectations of others, and how much by freewill and choice.
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Great book in the sense that you learn about another culture and its ways. Historically informative in a way that you don't even know you are learning about that particular time period. As an American, some of the descriptions regarding the cultural ritual/custom can be mind blowing. However, I guarantee you will google some of the data you read, it's just so unbelievable!
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A beautiful historical fictional story of two women who are lifelong friends designed by a matchmaker, to help raise the status of these women in a time of repression of women. These two women are so matched in many ways at the same time they are complete opposites in status. You truly become involved in the lives of these women and their surrounding family members. You learn about status, life and abuse in these arranged marriages. I totally enjoyed this story, and it made me sad when it ended. Read it and you will understand bonds and how they can be broken.
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incredibly written and informative. So rich in culture and tradition. at times difficult to read (foot binding). But well done
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FABULOUS. I just loved this book. As good as Memiors of a geisha.
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I really liked this book overall, I just thought it was really slow. I don't know why. usually when I read, I want to pick it up and read it and read it and I just didn't get that with this book. It was a bit of a struggle to get through, but I thought it was a really good story, just took me a long time to read.
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I loved this book.
I felt the author did an excellent job in letting us understand the personalitymof each character.
It explained so mich about ancient China and their customs,
Such a good read for women and how they relate to each other in other cultures.
Even a hood history lesson!
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This is a great book about the relationship/friendship between women. Great book for a book club too!
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This is one of the most touching books, of female friendship and love.
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I understand foot binding much better now and enjoyed reading this book. It was interesting to read about two young Yao girls grow up in 18th century China. They are best friends but have very different life experiences. I learned a lot about my relationships when I read this book.
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Great book. I enjoyed learning of the old chinese ways. Recommend to all who love women stories.
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I loved this book! It is so full of emotion and I learned so much from the vivid descriptions of another life. The foot binding was difficult to read. I will definitely read this again.
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A really engaging story of women's lives in rural China in the 19th century. Very well written, with great detail on the customs of the time. I really enjoyed this book!
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A fun read with great insight into the history of Chinese women's life styles of days of yore. I truly couldn't wait to get back to reading it and stayed up late a few nights to finish it!
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Highly recommend. Very interesting historical fiction.
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This was a beautifully written story! Highly recommend!
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Beautiful book.
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Great read! I learned so much and had a hard time putting the book down. I recommend it most highly.
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Beautiful story - hard to put down
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Enjoyed this book. I learned alot about chinese culture.
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In nineteenth-century China, in a remote Hunan county, a girl named Lily is paired with another girl named Snow Flower who introduces herself by sending a silk fan on which she has written a poem in nu shu, a unique language that Chinese women created in order to communicate in secret, away from the influence of men. This is the story of their lifelong friendship with its ups and downs.
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A lyrical and haunting novel.
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This book deals with the entire issue of women's lives, and all it entails, without ever descending into vulgarity or apology. Lily & Snow Flower's lives are filled with pain from the age of seven, when their feet are bound, until their deaths, and yet somehow I did not find the book depressing. They are married off to strangers, have children, lose children, and at one point lose each other. They grow up in a system that does not value love, either from parents or husbands. Lily is honest about not knowing how to show love to Snow Flower in her hour of need; she has no cultural experience in it and honestly does not know what to do.

I especially enjoyed the author's comments at the end, and how she found in real life some of the world she had written into the book.
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I enjoyed the book, but the ending was disappointing.
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This was a wonderful book of friendship and I enjoyed it even more than Shanghai Girls. It is also very interesting to see the history and culture of girls in China. It goes through the foot binding process and it's meaning. As always it seems, the book is much, much better than the movie.
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Interesting & informative book.
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Now this is teaching at it's best. Learning another culture at a different time through the families of two lovely young Chinese women. The customs become more understandable and their love and friendship is relatable. I found the first disc interesting but lacking the hook that is in so many other of my favorite novels. Thanks to my habit of always reading a book to the conclusion, I found the other three disks endearing, exciting and wonderful in scope and emotions. Highly recommend this to anyone who has a best friend, a Chinese relative or has an interest in history.
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A touching, poignant, yet intense story of the timeless bonds between women - and how they truly guide they passages of our lives, contrary to what men think they understand. :) Set in the time of foot binding and strict social obligations, this beautifully narrated story transports you to life in a society where rules guided every minute of every day for women - if not their thoughts.
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I ended up grabbing this one (abridged) because my book club is reading it, but I wasn't going to have time to read it, working too much. So, I downloaded it and listed to it. It was okay. The narrator was actually very pleasant - the story, of course, was beautiful. I guess I retain very little of my reading because I didn't see any difference - *laugh*. This is an absolutely beautiful book, one that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. The foot-binding... oh, the foot-binding.

But one thing that I realized while reading this is I don't recall any books written by the males in this time-period, etc... I wonder what they really felt?

Hmmm....
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This book deals with the entire issue of women's lives, and all it entails, without ever descending into vulgarity or apology. Lily & Snow Flower's lives are filled with pain from the age of seven, when their feet are bound, until their deaths, and yet somehow I did not find the book depressing. They are married off to strangers, have children, lose children, and at one point lose each other. They grow up in a system that does not value love, either from parents or husbands. Lily is honest about not knowing how to show love to Snow Flower in her hour of need; she has no cultural experience in it and honestly does not know what to do.

I especially enjoyed the author's comments at the end, and how she found in real life some of the world she had written into the book.
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Great book! I want to read more from this author!
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Fantastic. Beautifully written story of friendship and love.
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I absolutely loved this book!
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I've had this popular historical fiction novel on my TBR for years, but haven't picked it up because, frankly, I've always heard that the main topics are the Chinese culture and the foot-binding process. And for better or worse, I'm only mildly interested in Chinese culture. And I already knew about the foot binding process and always found it barbaric. But I needed a book set in Asia for a reading challenge, so I picked this one off my TBR and dusted it off.

But as you can see by the 4* rating, I found this novel to be about much more than I had been previously told. Yes, those were important themes in the story. This book describes the foot binding process in detail, and only reinforced my opinion that it was a barbaric process. But I think I do understand better now why it used to be so important in China.

However, for me the primary themes of this novel were something much more universal - friendship and love. The primary relationship in this book was a lifelong friendship between two women, but I think you could easily extrapolate it to friends and loving relationships of all kinds - and in all cultures. This book had a lot to say about what it really means to be a loving friend - especially when it gets difficult to do.

I'm very glad that I read this novel.
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great book, very good but a sad true look at this society.
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A great book about two best friends. Touching, well written, and interesting to read about a culture completely different than the American culture.
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This book was a joy to read. Not only did it give a lot of insight to Chinese culture at the time, but was also a beautiful testimony of the friendship of two women through the years.
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Loved this book! Couldn't put it down. You felt like you knew these charactaers. Great read!!
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A story of love, duty, heartbreak, betrayal, and the perseverance of 19th-century Chinese women. Lisa See weaves a tale that will stay with you long after you finish reading. A must read.
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Beautiful story of a lifelong friendship in 19th century China. I learned a lot about the way of life, particularly footbinding and the treatment of women as second class citizens. Gorgeous book.
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Great book. Very interesting look into the practice of footbinding and secret writings.
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One of the best books I have ever read! This was recommended to me by a lovely person who has an adopted daughter from China. Her comment to me about the book was that she couldn't believe that she had a daughter that came from this culture.

This is an amazing tale of 2 women and their journey through life. It is very informative of Chinese culture, but even more importantly it is a story about love, friendship, tradition, and the philosophy of life.

There is a special place in my heart for all the characters I have met in the novels I have read throughout my life. Snow Flower and Lily will live in my heart forever. I love them both as if they were physically real. Thank you, Lisa See for this wonderful novel.
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Excellent interesting book about old world China.
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wasn't great but was pretty good
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I love this book - will be a keeper to re-read -
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I thoroughly enjoyed this one--it is one of the best books I have read recently. A view into a culture that I know very little of, it made it understandable to me.
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I found this to be a very informative about the life of Chinese women in olden times. I realized I was shuddering when reading about foot binding, as author, Lisa See, has a command of vivid description. Although not a dramatic book, I had a hard time putting this book down.
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I loved this book. I thought the story was well told. The characters were believable and empathetic. I especially liked learning about the Chinese culture.
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i really liked this book. great story of friendship between women and what can happen when a little misunderstanding turns into a lifetime of regret.
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One of my favorite books that I enjoy re-reading. The wonderful relationship between the girls is so inticing. The details of their lives and how they are expected to be is fascinating. How the appearences and social standings mean everything. A great read.
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Heartbreakingly, beautiful book of friendship set in China.
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LOVED it, great book!
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I read this book for a book club. We loved it and are looking forward to read Peony in Love.
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A beautiful book.
I especially enjoy learning about nushu script, a testament to the ingenuity and spirit of the Chinese women.
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I read this for the April "Flower" theme in my online book club, The Reading Cove.I'd had it in my TBR pile for a while, but the theme pushed it to the top.

I really enjoyed this story! While featuring a vastly different time and culture than my own, it actually transported me to China in the 1800's, and right into the lives of Lily and Snow Flower. Their friendship had it all. Deep, inexplicable love...and the harsh complexities of judgement, misunderstanding, bitterness and pain. I even cried at the end. I felt Lily's pain as realization dawned.

SNOW FLOWER AND THE SECRET FAN was a wonderful story about love, friendship and the complexity of female emotion. I highly recommend it!


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Wonderful easy read
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My favorite book ever!
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I loved this book from beginning to end. Truly a special book!
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Good story. . . lags a bit at times.
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Good book about life in China in the mid 1800s as a woman. Description of footbinding process was great.
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Great book!!!
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loved it
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Interesting story about two women and their lives together. I didn't find the story very exciting or even appealing. I found this book boring and never could get caught up in it.
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2 Words that describe the book: Chinese woman friendship (OK...it is just not enough to have only two words!)

3 Settings where it took place or characters you met:

1. Setting: a Hunan county in nineteenth century China
2. Lilythe daughter of a farmer who lucks into a special relationship with another girl (called laotong, this relationship is a lifelong emotional match between two women) and experiences upward mobility as a result of this friendship and her golden lotuses (her perfectly bound feet).
3. Snow FlowerLily's laotong match ("old same"), Snow Flower teaches Lily the ways of the upper class to help prepare Lily for her marriage. In return, Snow Flower learns the practicalities of keeping a household. One such skill that Snow Flower teaches Lily is the art of nu shu (secret women's writing), which the two girls use to communicate on a silk fan throughout their lives.

4 Things you liked and/or disliked about it:

1. I liked learning about a time and culture that I was unfamiliar with. The world of Lily and Snow Flower is so different from my existence as a 20th century American woman. I was both horrified and fascinated by the way they lived. From learning about the horrors of footbinding to the level of worth that a woman held in that society was eye-opening and absorbing. I knew very little about footbinding until I read this book. Let me tell you: the footbinding scenes are just so upsetting and graphic that I kept trying to look away from the page while reading. I found the entire process to be stomach-churning, and when I Googled "footbinding," I saw photos that I wish I'd never looked at. (Let me sum it up this way: 3 inch feet.) And as a woman, it was painful to read about a woman's worth (or lack thereof) in that culture.

2. I liked how Lily was a fully developed character. At times, I admired her. At other times, I thought she was horrible. She tells her story from her vantage point of being an old lady (during her days of "sitting quietly") in an effort to gain forgiveness for her behaviors before she journeys to the afterlife.

3. I liked how Lisa See created this world that I felt fully immersed in while reading. See did a brilliant job of bringing these characters and settings alive that, when I stopped reading, I had to take a moment to reorient myself to the modern world. I also loved the delicate and poetic language that See uses and that permeates Chinese culture and language.

4. I liked how emotionally invested I got in the story. When Snow Flower died (and I'm not spoiling anything by telling you that), I cried. This is a story of "deep heart love" between two women, and I think the friendship felt true and genuine.

5 Stars or less for your rating?

I'm giving the book 4.5 stars. I thought it was beautifully written, and the story of the friendship between Lily and Snow Flower was absorbing and emotional. If you like learning about different cultures and being immersed in a world very unlike our own, I would highly recommend this book. Even if you don't like learning about other cultures, I still recommend this book. The story will stick with you for a long time, and I suspect you'll be drawn into Lily and Snow Flower's friendship and world as fully as I was. I'll definitely be reading more of Lisa See's books.
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Wow! This book was amazing. What a great author and what an intriguing story. I learned so much about the Chinese culture during this era.
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I found this by accident & then couldn't put it down!! I have bought it or recommeded it to so many! Now onto the next one.. Peony in Love
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I did enjoy this book, but something about it made me think "These two girls are friends, but Lily treats Snow Flower really bad in the end." I was just kind of disappointed that the book ended like that. But otherwise, the book was good. Lots of details about food, society, and common life. Enjoy!
I also look forward to seeing the movie. Coming sometime this summer or fall..... IDK.
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Excellent book. Exceptionally well researched and well written. If you don't know much about the history of foot binding, it is unbelievable what women were put through in the name of beauty. I thought it was bad today. this is such a beautiful story as this tradition is described in excruciating detail.
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not for the squeamish
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A decent book. I enjoyed reading it for a book club. I learned a lot about foot binding.
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Excellant!!
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Wonderful
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I read this book but really didn't like it. To me it just dragged on and on. I really enjoyed it at first when the main character Lily was a child and I found the foot binding to be interesting but the middle of the book just dragged on and I had to display a lot of self control to get through it. I've read other novels about chinese traditions that are far more interesting than this, to me this just dwelt too much on the womens point of view and was not balanced. It left me with a lot of questions and not enough answers.
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This was a very good book. I like it the best of Lisa See's books.
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Loved this book
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I only thought the process of how foot binding was done interesting....the rest of the book is just okay
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This story is such a downer in every way. Didn't make it past p. 20.
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In nineteenth-century China, in a remote Hunan county, a girl named Lily, at the tender age of seven, is paired with a laotong, old same, in an emotional match that will last a lifetime. The laotong, Snow Flower, introduces herself by sending Lily a silk fan on which shes painted a poem in nu shu, a unique language that Chinese women created in order to communicate in secret, away from the influence of men. As the years pass, Lily and Snow Flower send messages on fans, compose stories on handkerchiefs, reaching out of isolation to share their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments. Together, they endure the agony of foot-binding, and reflect upon their arranged marriages, shared loneliness, and the joys and tragedies of motherhood. The two find solace, developing a bond that keeps their spirits alive. But when a misunderstanding arises, their deep friendship suddenly threatens to tear apart.