Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Flowers in China

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
I haven't actually read that many books that take place in China, but everything I have read I've really enjoyed. I was assigned to read Pearl S. Buck's The Good Earth in middle school, which I enjoyed so much I went on to read the sequels. A few months ago a read another of Lisa See's books, Shanghai Girls, which while only part of it takes place in China itself it is still about the Chinese culture and traditions. With this background I was expecting to enjoy this book as well, and I'm happy to say I wasn't let down.

Lily is a young girl being raised by a farmer in the remote Hunan county. At 7-years-old she is lucky enough to enter a contract of lifelong friendship, a laotong, with another young girl Snow Flower. She receives her first message from Snow Flower on a fan, which they then use to record the history of the friends the highs and lows of their lives both together and apart.

Simply put, I loved this book. Yes, I enjoy the characters and their hurdles and triumphs, but I think I enjoyed learning most about the various traditions and the culture of China in the mid-1800s. As you might expect foot binding in definitely present here, and I couldn't help but be fascinated at the process and all the details provided of just how it actually happened.

Another tradition the is almost central to the novel is nu shu, the language that Lily and Snow Flower use to write to one another. It is believed to be the only written language developed for women only as a way to write secretly amongst themselves without their husbands' knowledge.

I'm definitely glad I was able to pick this book up, and after reading (and enjoying) two of Lisa See's books I've definitely planning on reading the rest. And not only that, Im hoping to be able to see the movie version of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan when its released later this summer.


Disclosure: I was provided this book through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.


  1. I have her books on my tbr list but haven't read any of them yet. I hope to get one of them this summer!

  2. I just saw the trailer for the movie adaptation and it totally made me want to read the book! I'm glad you enjoyed it! :)

  3. I want to read this book! Have you read Memoirs of a Geisha? Its been awhile since I read it but I loved it!

  4. I loved this one as well. The only one I didn't like so much was Peony in Love. Shanghai Girls was amazing!