Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I gave into temptation after seeing the ads for the movie all over Goodreads. Wow, what a story. I wouldn't say this was a hard story to read, but much of it is dreary. This book takes place during a time when women were only seen as vestibules to bear children--particularly sons. Other than that, their lives were "worthless," and they were often viewed as another mouth to feed for their husbands' families.
Living life under strict patriarchal codes, women were not allowed to air their grievances. They were encouraged to accept their lot in life and believe that everything that happened to them was their own doing, something they deserved. They were taught that they only achieved perfection through pain. However, these woman created a secret language used to convey their true feelings to one another.
This books follows the journey of two women whose spent their lives as loatongs (old sames)--women paired together to be the emotional pillars to each other that their husbands could not be for them. Their history together is painful, and their relationship poignantly illustrates the ever shifting face of female relationships.
Women, and our relationships with one another, are such complicated things. Even though this story takes place during a time long before women had many rights, some things remain true. Some of the same tricks they used then, we use now. We still share so many of the same fears, hopes, aspirations, etc. These things still affect us no matter our races, geographical locations, social statuses. Beautiful story.
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