Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

Summary: The book Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See illustrates the story of two laotong  pairs, or two similar girls paired together during childhood, Lily and Snow Flower going through many adversities together throughout a peculiar time in Chinese history. Taking place in the Chinese province of Hunan, these two girls must make it through the difficulties of the Taiping Rebellion and the difficult processes of farming. They must bear the harshness of men at the time and their demanding lives, especially when the two girls live in an agricultural area. Being two females, they have sensitive and different personalities then men, but have a hard time expressing them. The two girls persist and make it through one of the hardest times in their province’s history by sticking together and communicating using merely silk fans and a language of their own in their remarkable story of two girls in unforgiving turmoil and the idea of true friendship. Nonetheless, such a glorious friendship begins to die as the two girls seek lives with different purposes in this novel of the battle of friendship and life.

Why I picked it up: I picked this novel up because it had a concise message and an informative historical taste to it. The novel seemed visual and emotionally touching because it was realistic and historical while still being fictional, especially how it described the dying friendship of two close girls.

Why I kept reading it: Although the book was at some points to elaborative on the friendship between the two girls, it was always intriguing to imagine how the girls would survive together from one adversity to the next. The book was easy to visualize especially, which made it better during the tense moments as the girls go through difficult times.

Who I would give it to next: I would give this book to anyone who enjoys realistic fiction, especially historical fiction and books with cinematic stories. Anyone who enjoys thrilling books with easy visualization would enjoy this book.

Reviewed by Ahmed E.