Being a bibliophile, I don’t know how to explain the attraction of choosing one book from the rest. There are books that you need to read, other suggested by friends, mostly were popular by demand, but there are few books that once you’ve seen and read the synopsis you fell in love with it. It talks to you in a different way that you can’t wait to read it, and cherish every word, the feelings derived from what you read, the texture of the paper or the scent of ink from a newly opened book; and prolonging the romance of reading it because you don’t want to end the story. These are the feelings I experienced when heard about Lisa See’s “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.” I think I seen the movie trailer first, watched the movie but totally fallen for the book.
The book got my attention because of its mysterious cover photo. The title is strong enough to insight curiosity. After reading the general description, the story promise a journey of friendship between two girls matched to be soul sisters for their entire lifetime. That idea captivated me to read and absorb the life of Lily and Snow Flower; and the secret letters that detailed their bond as friends, enduring hardship of being women in a man’s world. Both of them felt neglect and despair of being a girl confined in customs and traditions; finding and proving their worth through giving birth to a healthy male child; and a life-long commitment to fulfill their promise to each other as “Laotong.”
As I read the book, and felt their struggles I can’t help to relate with their problems. Predicaments that are still present in our modern day society. The fictional but historically base situations presented in the book, being second class citizen; narrates the same emotional dilemma that any thriving women in our present time are experiencing. Their sufferings and how they express it, somehow reflects the feelings I can’t convey on my own. Their words to pacify their own emotions and fears, gave way for me to feel and understand the feelings I can’t manage to control. The story of two sisters, comforting each other, who lived in a different time and place, gave me encouragement that whatever I’m feeling now they already felt and survived it.
There are so many quotes from the book to associate with; women trying to prove themselves as an equal contributor of the community. There are also heartfelt statements of women helping and supporting each other through difficult times of testing; and the painful truth of how women endure the contriving feeling of setting aside emotions to fulfill their duties. The opportunity of rearing and nurturing the future leaders of the society is the greatest blessings that give honor and glory to all women that no man can’t deny.
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan Quotes:
“For my entire life I longed for love. I knew it was not right for me- as a girl and later as a woman- to want or expect it, but I did, and this unjustified desire has been at the root of every problem I have experienced in my life.” Page 3
“When I knew I couldn’t suffer moment of pain, and tears fell on my bloody bindings, my mother spoke softly into my ear, encouraging me to go one more hour, one more day, one more week, reminding me of the rewards I would have if I carried on a little longer. In this way, she taught me how to endure- not just the physical trials of footbinding and childbearing but the more torturous pain of the heart, mind and soul… This type of mother love teng ai. The first character mean pain; the second means love. That is a mother’s love.” Page 3-4
“This is a joining of two hearts that cannot be torn apart by distance, disagreement, loneliness, better marriage position or by letting other girls-and later women- come between you.” Page 52
Reading the book also made me reflect the positive side of being a middle child. I have an elder sister to look-up too and a younger brother to look upon. I also find it amazing that my age gap towards my two siblings worked to my advantage. Having a one year gap between me and my elder sister, gives me the comforting feeling of having someone with me through life. While having a six year gap between me and my younger brother gives me enough experience to ensure he has a better life compared to me; giving him the things I long to have; allowances for his development; enough distance to let him discover his own; most importantly, to impart all that I have learned to him. The party of three siblings somehow gave me and my sister the chance to be a parent to our younger brother. Unconsciously playing to be mother and father when our parents are not around, talking about how to deal with our brother, and adhering what is the best approach and the most effective means to ensure his welfare. As we continue to grow together the issues we face intensify, and our roles are dynamically changing, depending on the situation, but the bond we had continues to hold us together, no matter what happens. Never letting go of each other, no matter how uncertain the present time is or the unpredictability of the future. The leadership and guidance comes from the eldest child, our sweetest sister who remains to be a lovable baby as her wisdom and age graces upon us.
The over-all experience after reading the book, makes me believe in soul mates, life-long commitment, and hope. That no matter what happens a true relationship will prosper despite all opposing circumstances that challenges two hearts that beats the same. Love can survive even if love is chaotic and difficult to understand. It will find reasons to hold on even thou it is much convenient to forget and break the promise of being together. Love ordained by God will prevail against any hindrance to fulfill what is destined by the heavens. The friendship between two women, withstanding the test of changing times will transcend beyond the years of their lives. The kind of love that inspires beyond their life time, affecting the people around them, and will be pass-on to their children.
The romanticism of reading a book from the first page to the last, connects me to the characters in story and to the writer. The story became a medium to unite the hearts and minds of two living person, using the fictional people as an instrument of communion. Communicated through words and phrases that magically enthralls both the reader and author. It’s a kind of story journey that makes me feel, question myself, evaluate belief and ideas to attain enlightenment. It’s a kind of feeling that makes you fall madly in-love without breaking your heart unless you don’t agree with the story ending. Regardless of the ending, the reader and writer attain a certain level of oneness, an invisible strong connection with someone from a great distance.
I hope people will have this kind of feeling when reading their favorite book. At the end of reading it, they end-up being owned by the book they bought. Re-reading it again, will make you fall in love more because reliving the memories of first time reading it, and discovering new insights for the second repetition of the story journey. A never ending romance with book, binding long distance relationship between writers and readers. It’s like truly loving someone by heart and soul even if you never met them.
There is also a film adaptation of this book with the same title. Fox Searchlight acquired this film.
The people who worked to produce film are the following; Wayne Wang directed the film, Produced by Florence Sloan, Wendi Murdoch, and Hugo Shong. Angela Workman, Ronald Bass and Micheal Ray wrote the movie Script.
Here Is the link of the movie: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan