Monday, April 4, 2011
A Reflection on Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
Spoiler Rating: 3/5 No major spoilers, but read at your own risk.
As I mentioned in the Introductions post, I don't like to view these blurbs as reviews but as reflections. Such a commitment is that much easier when the writing is flawless, brilliant, and above critique. (Okay, that did sound a bit like a review, but that's as much as I'll ever say.) That being said, I was absolutely moved by this novel.
You know how there are characters that you get attached to in a book, and by the end you feel like they're your best friend? Lily is that character. You follow her as she recounts her life of sorrow and tragedy, friendship and betrayal. She takes you to 19th century China with vivid images of the culture and society and the secret language of Nushu. You find yourself stepping into a different time and place with such ease and familiarity that we all seek in a book.
Lily's friendship with Snow Flower is one of the most highly regarded relationships that one could have in their culture. They were matched at a young age, and their lives are forever intertwined. Together, they encounter deaths of loved ones, footbinding, marriage, famines, and war.
My heart broke many times during this novel. I usually get emotionally invested in whatever book I'm reading, but the tragedy and sorrow of reality in this piece was especially moving. It is written as Lily's reflection of her whole life (which you learn within the first couple pages), and this perspective added another emotional element. It made me think of what I would say when I'm old and trying to write a story about my life. What things would stand out? What events would matter? What would I regret? I'm glad that I was able to take a step back, and see my life through Lily's eyes.
This book is for you if: you like learning about different times and cultures, and if you are moved by the power of friendship.