Sunday, August 09, 2009

Cannonball Read - Book 54

Here's your overview:

"In nineteenth-century China, in a remote Hunan county, a girl named Lily, at the tender age of seven, is paired with a laotong, an “old same,” in an emotional match that will last a lifetime. The laotong, Snow Flower, introduces herself by sending Lily a silk fan on which she’s written a poem in nu shu, a unique language that Chinese women created in order to communicate in secret, away from the influence of men. As the years pass, Lily and Snow Flower send messages on the fan and compose stories on handkerchiefs, reaching out of isolation to share their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments. Together they endure the agony of footbinding and reflect upon their arranged marriages, their loneliness, and the joys and tragedies of motherhood. The two find solace in their friendship, developing a bond that keeps their spirits alive. But when a misunderstanding arises, their relationship suddenly threatens to tear apart."

Here's the deal: I love historical fiction, particularly HF that centers around women. You can see that from checking out some of the other books I've liked this year, and three of my top ten of all time are FFHF (that's female-friendly historical fiction). But SFatSF was just overdone. Maybe it's that I don't really care about China. Or maybe it's just that it wasn't as good as Memoirs of a Geisha - yes, that's Japan in the '30s and '40s, this is China in the 1820s, but there were certain similarities that I couldn't get past and the comparison to MoaG was inevitable. Or maybe it's that, after reading this book, I felt compelled to learn more about footbinding and just saw a picture so disturbing that I almost barfed, right here at the computer. Whatever the reason, SFatSF just didn't live up to its potential.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan - B-

1 comment:

Jenny Jackson said...

Oh God, you googled footbinding? Yikes! I read that book last year and felt the same way - I was mostly compelled by the footbinding, because like you said, that shit is crazy.