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Agony, Beauty, Mystery….what more could you ask for?

This book has been sitting on my shelf for some time now.

Waiting for the right time to be read.

the title seeming somewhat like a fable you’d be forced to read in a 5th grade excelled reading class is what I think kept me from picking it up sooner

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

a novel


Lisa See

Lily’s life story begins with her as a widow who is 80 years old reflecting on her life


her life of having a best friend, Snow Flower

The story takes place in china

Tortured by

foot binding at the age of 7( your feet will ache as you read this part of the book)


being matched with a” laotong” which means “old same”

Lily at a young age is matched with snowflower, who from birth had  much in common


she and snowflower are, at young ages, matched with husbands,

this story takes her through the life of her family her “natal” family and then her “husbands” family

woven together with the  agony of misogyny, and women’s rights(of which there were little unless you were the matriarch), horrifically defined deaths

and beautifully blended with a friendship for the ages, a secret language shared only by some women “nu shu”

intertwined with the poetry of two young girls coming of age sharing their secrets in decorative form on a fan.

“I am old enough to know only too well my good and bad qualities, which were often one and the same. For my entire life I longed for love. I knew it was not right for me – as a girl and later as a woman – to want or expect it, but I did, and this unjustified desire has been at the root of every problem I have experienced in my life.”
― Lisa SeeSnow Flower and the Secret Fan

and finally the quote that encompasses the necessity of a secret writing and a secret fan that only women could understand:

“My Writing is soaked with the tears of my heart,

An invisible rebellion that no man can see

Let our life stories become tragic art.

Oh, Mama, oh, sisters, hear me, hear me.”

(Lisa See, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan)

Of course like most authors please visit her website:

Lisa See

read more about the Secret Fan and about the Author

her site contains links for teachers and guides for questions etc…

and finally

buy the book…what are you waiting for??

OH and if like me the deep fried taro idea sounds intriguing….on her site is a recipe!

About ellasurreau

I was first grade religious education catechist I have been teaching for 20 years I have a BA in Religious Studies I have continued taking classes in religious studies since graduating. I grew up Methodist, and became catholic after marrying.

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