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Words of a Bibliophile

"It's only words, and words are all I have, to take your heart away." —Bee Gees

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan - Lisa See

I liked the book better than the first Lisa See novel I've read, Peony in Love, though it took the story to a direction I didn't expect. The footbinding part was possibly the most gruesome I've read about the custom, but at the same time it's also the most truthful, presenting footbinding as it basically is: torture in the name of female objectification.

My first guess was that Snow Flower would be so poor that she would be forced to become a concubine or even lower, possibly in Lily's husband's family. I thought conflict would definitely arise if, say, Snow Flower becomes Lily's husband's concubine. But that didn't happen, and she merely stays in a class lower than Lily's.

(show spoiler)

 


Sometimes it appears to me that Snow Flower and Lily's relationship has lesbian undertones, especially during their moment of teenage exploration. But their conflict and eventual break of friendship were realistically portrayed. I also liked the way the story is told through the eyes of 80-year-old Lily, sitting quietly, recalling her past with greater wisdom.