So today I FINALLY finished reading Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. Although it’s a best seller and recently was made into a film, I’d never heard of the novel until my book club decided to read it. Although I was out of town for the meeting where they discussed this book, I decided to read it anyway since many of the women had recommended the novel.
I say finally because this book took me much longer to read than I had anticipated. It’s under 300 pages so I figured I would fly through it like some of the other books I’d read this summer, but no such luck. Lisa See’s writing is very descriptive and required me to read more slowly to fully understand what she was saying and what was happening. The phrases she uses are different from most american writers, so it took a lot more concentration to understand.
What I enjoyed most about this book was learning about a completely different culture, and not only that but learning about that culture from the point of view of a woman. It is well known that women are not as valuable in China, especially girls, and therefore it was interesting to learn what it was like to grow up as a woman in China.
The story takes place in a remote village in 19th century China and describes two young girls who become friends for life through a matchmaker. The book chronicles their lives from around the age of 5 until their deaths, describing all the rituals they go through to become the perfect wives.
The relationship between the two women changes throughout the story (as any friendship should) but their dedication to their laotong match with one another is a lesson that we can all learn from; that they must love each other no matter what their circumstances. The main character, from whose point of view the story is told, learns some important lessons about what it means to be a true friend.
Although not a thriller, this book was insightful and beautifully written, teaching the reader lessons not only about Chinese culture but about female friendship and learning to accept people as they are and love them anyway.
I finished the book while riding the bus back from lunch with my cousin! Since I enjoyed Hannah’s Bretzel so much I suggest that we eat there, and it was just around the corner from her office! My cousin ordered Hannah’s Club, which I got last time, and I ordered the half salad sandwich combo again, but this time with the Organic Roasted Tofu sandwich, which had vine tomatoes, alfalfa sprouts, romaine hearts, red onion, avocado and roasted pepper coulis on organic bretzel baguette. I asked for it on the whole grain baguette because I wanted to taste that type of bread, but I must say I preferred the bretzel bread.
While at lunch, my cousin and I talked a lot about how she’s had difficulty living a healthy lifestyle since she works full time and has three boys at home. Although she loves spinning, she hasn’t been going since she spends the time she has in the evening with her sons. Although I could tell her that the way I lost weight was calorie counting and working out, this method is more difficult for her because of her time constraints. It’s hard to sit down to a nice dinner when you’re also trying to spend time with your kids before they go to bed!
While we were talking, my cousin came up with the great idea that I should look at smaller things that people do that may be unhealthy, and come up with ways to turn those things around. If people make these changes little by little, it will help in developing a more healthy lifestyle!
Hopefully in my next post I’ll be able to tackle the issue of diet soda, so put down that diet coke (ahem, Michele…) and grab a water bottle (reusable, of course) and you will soon learn why!