Saturday, 12 September 2015

BOOK REVIEW : SNOW FLOWER AND THE SECRET FAN by LISA SEE



CHINA... A country with the highest population( at one point of time), the country with the fastest moving economy( till recently), a country which cannot claim to be best friends  with India, a country which is zinxed for Niraj( he fell sick both the times he went there...:)) ..So atleast my family has no plans ever to visit China... Not that not being able to go to China ever bothered me... But now after reading The Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See, I want to go there once and visit the places See talks about in her story and meet the natives who would share with me their experiences and their long lost stories about those forgotten times....
See has written a beautifully poignant story of a young girl and how her life moves ahead with the changing times and situations....
Lily is a third child born into a family of farmers... She is an unwanted child as girls were considered worthless during that time by the Chinese.. It was only boys who were desired and were supposed to seal a woman's fate in her husband's house and life. She craves for her mother's love and attention... This was the age of the acutely painful Foot Binding ( statistics claim that one out of every 10 girls died as a result of this inhuman practice) and Lily happily jumped into it, hoping to win her mother's love!! But it was not to be so as her mother was driven by her own demons and had her own motives and reasons for being the way she was!!!
She gets married and goes to live with her husband and his parents. Here, she learns how the other better half live and she quickly learns all the tricks and manners of the rich and soon becomes famous and admired and looked upon as Lady Lee.. The mistress of the Lee household. But between her marriage and the fame and modesty and maturity she acquires is a journey full of doubts, jealousy, love, insecurity, ego, pain, suffering and regrets...
Lily and her laotong Snow Flower...laotong  mCHINA... A country with the highest population( at one point of time), the country with the fastest moving economy( till recently), a country which cannot claim to be best friends  with India, a country which is zinxed for Niraj( he fell sick both the times he went there...:)) ..So atleast my family has no plans ever to visit China... Not that not being able to go to China ever bothered me... But now after reading The Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See, I want to go there once and visit the places See talks about in her story and meet the natives who would share with me their experiences and their long lost stories about those forgotten times....
See has written a beautifully poignant story of a young girl and how her life moves ahead with the changing times and situations....
Lily is a third child born into a family of farmers... She is an unwanted child as girls were considered worthless during that time by the Chinese.. It was only boys who were desired and were supposed to seal a woman's fate in her husband's house and life. She craves for her mother's love and attention... This was the age of the acutely painful Foot Binding ( statistics claim that one out of every 10 girls died as a result of this inhuman practice) and Lily happily jumped into it, hoping to win her mother's love!! But it was not to be so as her mother was driven by her own demons and had her own motives and reasons for being the way she was!!!
She gets married and goes to live with her husband and his parents. Here, she learns how the other better half live and she quickly learns all the tricks and manners of the rich and soon becomes famous and admired and looked upon as Lady Lee.. The mistress of the Lee household. But between her marriage and the fame and modesty and maturity she acquires is a journey full of doubts, jealousy, love, insecurity, ego, pain, suffering and regrets...
Lily and her laotong Snow flower...LAOTONG  meaning soul mates.. Friends for life.. One who is always there for the other.. In deeds, in actions, in prayers, in laughter, in joy!!! And the secret women's language NU SHU... A language meant only for women..an interesting method through which Chinese women shared their thoughts amongst themselves away from the prying eyes of men...
How interesting... I wish we had something like this too... We do have friends - some casual, some really close - our besties.. Though we share everything with our besties but its nothing like the LAOTONG of that era. And imagine a secret language which only we women could understand and use.. I am sure it would lead to a major revolution and an overhaul of power between men and women.. What say.. Atta girls!!!!
Another thing which really attracted me and I found very different are the terms See uses to describe the various chapters in Lilly's life...like the Daughter Days which talks about Lily's childhood,Hair -Pinning Days which talk about her betrothal and her marriage, Rice and Salt Days to talk about Lily becoming a mother and her mommy days and finally Sitting Quietly which talks about Lily in her last years when she has nothing but to look back into her life and remember all that took place in her life shaping it the way it is now...
I loved the story and could relate to certain incidents so well that I literally got tears in my eyes.....
I would say yes to this book because it gave me a beautiful chance to have a rare glimpse into a life so far fetched from ours, yet so similar in many ways...
Awesome!!!



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