What readers think of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, plus links to write your own review.

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Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

A Novel

by Lisa See

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See X
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
  • Critics' Opinion:

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  • First Published:
    Jun 2005, 272 pages

    Feb 2006, 288 pages


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There are currently 10 reader reviews for Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
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Power Reviewer
Betty Taylor

Such Beautiful Writing...
I had put off reading any of Lisa See's books for a long time. I love reading about the Chinese culture but did not like any of Amy Tan's books. But I finally gave in and started reading Snow Flower. I was immediately grabbed by the beautiful writing. I learned quite a bit from this book -- foot binding, nu shu, laotongs, sworn sisters, etc. I loved it and now can't wait to read "Shanghai Girls" and "China Doll".
Catherine Gray

The first time I read this book " Snow Flower and the secret Fan" It brings me right into China. I could feel the pain of the women in isolation in the Women's Chamber. Lily a brave and wonderful woman of authority, so descriptive in writing and she loves Snow Flower. The book is flourish with culture and memoirs and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to know about Chinese's Women in the 19th Century.

new favorite book
What an incredible story. I couldn't put it down. I enjoyed learning about the Chinese culture in a way that made you feel you were actually there. It is a wonderful book about family relations, but most of all deep long-lasting friendships between women. I t made me cry as I thought about all the important women and friends throughout my own life.
A Bookshelf Monstrosity

Arranged marriages, loss, and motherhood in nineteenth-century China
I can't believe I waited so long to read this book. Shame on me. This book was wonderful, lyrical, entertaining - all the makings of a wonderful novel. I was transported to 19th century China as I read the words of Lily and her experiences with footbinding, marriage, and her lifelong friendship (laotong) with Snow Flower. Chinese women in this period of China's history lived a rather secluded life, almost always separated from men. They even had their own written language, nu shu, which is spotlighted throughout the novel.

The aspect of the novel that most affected me were the detailed descriptions of the footbinding process that most Chinese girls endured in the early years of their lives. This process was incredibly painful and basically handicapped the woman's movement for the rest of their lives.
Jeanine Wilson

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan was a wonderful, loving, and tragic story of friendship and betrayal that teaches the reader much about compassion and forgiveness. We felt that Snow Flower and the Secret Fan was a book that truly transcended time and culture. This plot, with two women at its center, encompasses the hurt, pain, anguish, and undying compassion two women felt for each other. The author’s ability to paint ‘true and clear’ pictures of her characters allows you to see into their soul; thus developing a deeper understanding of both the men and women portrayed in the book.

This is a memorable piece that allows you to experience feelings that you have faced either through your own life or the life of a loved one. After reading it, many of us were forced to rethink the experiences we’ve had in the 20th century and how they are reminiscent of the events shown in the book: dishonesty, betrayal, a desire to survive, illness. All of these ultimately ending up with a common denominator of devotion and forgiveness.

Many of us cried as we completed the book because we came to the realization that this would not be a happily ever after tale. "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" was a great story with twists and turns you might not anticipate. Through this book many can better understand how far women have come since the days of foot binding; it also shows us how far we have not come from sharing a sisterhood of secrets, compassion, betrayal, and unconditional love as sisters. This was an excellent story and we highly recommend it.
Su Lim

Chinese women's blood and tears
I can't sleep for three days after reading 'Snow Flower and the Secret Fan'. Lisa was able to tell the dynamics of the women's bondage as is. No right. No wrong. No religious connotation. I am deeply touched. I was really moved by Lisa's keen observation. She is able to write about it without being torn apart. I was born and raised in Taiwan. I can attest to the dynamics of the women's relationship which is true even in today's society. Lisa was able to analyze the boundary of men's world and the women's world. I don't even know the detail of binding the feet. My parents would not tell me about the old times, citing too painful to talk about. Now since women are reading the men's world , I still don't know the detail of the foot binding era, some of the tragedies also are brushed over in the literature because it's either too painful or too insignificant being a personal account, for both man and woman. Women's writing, of course, even less mentioned. Among my friends, who are from the similar background, would not be able to discuss the subject at length without because it's too painful and too depressing. Lisa spent a lot of time to get the oral history. Then she truthfully recorded it without self projection. This is a book that every Chinese woman should read. It's not a novel. It's an autobiography of blood and tears.
Brittany Honshul

This is a great book!!!
This is the best book I read about friendship...Snowflower seems like a very good friend...and mother...I just can't believe that she have those many babies die...truly sad...The children's deaths were saddening especially Beautiful Moons...I couldn't put it down. This book has to be on your summer reading list!!
Thank You!
Andrea Asher

An art customer had told me of this book and how she and her friend were loving it. I bought it two days later and began a journey that would completely fascinate and almost obliterate the next two weeks, as I had time to read.

Not only is this book a wonderful insight into historic families of rural Chinese in the 19th century,, it is a well rounded and beautifully written story of two best friends (Old Sames) and the un-veiling and winding path, their friendship took them. I cried some during, and also as it ended. This is one of those books, you don't want to end, and the mourning process that comes over you as you realize, it is coming to closure makes you sad as you know you are going to have to adjust now, to your own reality, and you would rather stay in China.

I bought this book for my Old Same and she read it while on a cruise and ran into a man reading it and enjoying it so much, his wife could not wait for him to finish it, so she might start her own journry into this wonderful world, of many tender and exciting moments.

We each now have Lisa See's new novel, Peony In Love, on pre-order with Amazon.com. and due out in July, 2007.

Lisa See's writing style is my favorite of all authors today.

Please do yourself a sweet favor, and go gently into yesterday in an old customed country. What a thrilling education!
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