Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Book Shelf Again

I finished reading Snow Flower and The Secret Fan by Lisa See this week. I didn't pick my last two books very well, so I wasn't sure I'd like this book either. I was wrong! I picked a winner this time. I really enjoyed this book. Here's what Publishers Weekly says on the Amazon website...

"See's engrossing novel set in remote 19th-century China details the deeply affecting story of lifelong, intimate friends Lily and Snow Flower, their imprisonment by rigid codes of conduct for women and their betrayal by pride and love. While granting immediacy to Lily's voice, See adroitly transmits historical background in graceful prose. Her in-depth research into women's ceremonies and duties in China's rural interior brings fascinating revelations about arranged marriages, women's inferior status in both their natal and married homes, and the Confucian proverbs and myriad superstitions that informed daily life. Beginning with a detailed and heartbreaking description of Lily and her sisters' foot binding, the story widens to a vivid portrait of family and village life. Most impressive is See's incorporation of nu shu, a secret written phonetic code among women—here between Lily and Snow Flower—that dates back 1,000 years in the southwestern Hunan province. As both a suspenseful and poignant story and an absorbing historical chronicle, this novel has bestseller potential and should become a reading group favorite as well."

When I finished the last page of the book I missed Lily. I think I enjoyed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan more than the last two books I read because it's a culture so different from a life I could imagine it grabbed my attention and held on. Lily fought not to be the woman her culture demanded her to be. In different stages of her life she was that ideal and used her position in that ideal role to reach beyond the limits placed on her by her society.

Snow Flower was definitely a "page" turner for me. I've found a new author and a favorite book. Happy Reading!

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