Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
If you have ever regretted the loss of a dear friendship then you will love this book.
Just like Lily from Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, I’ve been searching for a best girlfriend for as long as I can remember. There are many reasons to explain my thirst for an intimate friendship. The most obvious reason is my lack of sisters and childhood insecurities. My family migrated from Saigon when I was seven. In Australia, I started school in Grade 2, knowing only a dozen or so English words, which naturally made me an easy target for teasing. The school yard was a lonely place for me.
I needed someone to share my secrets, fears and laughs. Like Lily, I was lucky enough to have my wish granted. I bonded with my friend over a shared stovetop in Year 9 Home Economics. From then, we were inseparable, and would have remained so forever, if Fate and my selfishness had not spoiled things. I did not have Snow Flower’s spirit of generosity. My friend met the love of her life during our first year at university, whilst I started falling for a series of wrong men. I didn’t meet my husband until I was almost thirty. As the years passed, I found it harder and harder to confide in her. I struggled to relate to her, pushing her away, and telling myself that she no longer understood me—even though deep down I knew this was only an excuse.
A similar scenario played out between Lily and Snow Flower, with the difference being Lily’s good fortune made her heart rigid and insensitive to Snow Flower’s sufferings, leading her to a devastating misunderstanding.
My friend was not like Lily. She stood by me. But I let her down many times. Now, I think about her often, sometimes daily. I hope when she returns home from overseas, we’ll have another chance to be close. I’m not sure if the damage can be mended. But I still care deeply for her.
Lily and Snow Flower’s story, and my feelings of regret, inspired me to write ‘Little Flower,’ my novel-in-progress. It is a story about a slave girl in Old China who wants her freedom, but her mistress, who claims to be her best friend, refuses to let her go.
The following blurb of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, is taken from Book Depository:
Lily is the daughter of a humble farmer, and to her family she is just another expensive mouth to feed. Then the local matchmaker delivers startling news: if Lily’s feet are bound properly, they will be flawless. In nineteenth-century China, where a woman’s eligibility is judged by the shape and size of her feet, this is extraordinary good luck. Lily now has the power to make a good marriage and change the fortunes of her family. To prepare for her new life, she must undergo the agonies of footbinding, learn nu shu, the famed secret women’s writing, and make a very special friend, Snow Flower. But a bitter reversal of fortune is about to change everything.