Sunday, September 16, 2007

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

I just finished Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. Great read!! It reminded me of Memoirs of a Geisha but of course Snow Flower takes place in China not Japan. But the similarity is that these books are stories about women in the 1800's in Asia and how they live their lives with much tradition and repression.

Snow Flower is about two young girls who are sworn sisters or laotongs. Laotong means, "old sames," and when a girl signs a contract with another girl, they are matched for life. Snow Flower and Lily write on a fan that passes between them in nu shu, "women's writing," a secret writing that only women know. Here they can break out of their isolation and tell their hopes, dreams and accomplishments to their old sames.

Lily is the narrator who tells her story beginning at the age of 5 through her 80's. She tells the story of their painful and sometimes deadly foot binding tradition, how women live most of their lives in total seclusion, the unvalued status of a daughter and difficult arranged marriages. But mostly this is a story of two friends.

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