I had mixed feelings about this book. I did like it. Very interesting about the culture. I agree with some reviews on the toughest thing to read is about the girls how their foot binding proceeds. Man that's tough!
Lily who is the narrator I believe her strengths were that she knew of the rules for a Chinese woman to abide by and did what was expected. She would think what she would have to do and do it. But on the other hand I believe the same was her weakness. Lily believed what she heard. She wanted to be loved, especially by her mother. So when someone paid attention like her "old same", she believed everything she was told. And that was forever.
I think there is a concept of "old sames". Women have been good friends for many years. Some will be there for each other, thick and thin. What I notice is that todays girls know more info on each others SO's than when I was young. It wouldn't take a second for them to get involved to make sure their friend has a back to lean on. No friend would be alone.
For me I never had a "old same" or a part of being a "sworn sister". I just wasn't that lucky. I wish I did maybe I wouldn't feel so alone at times.
I think Lily tells her story to Snow Flower so Lily feels less guilty about the way she treated Snow Flower toward the end. But I do believe the two did love each other. Certainly Snow Flower excepted her fate because of her father. And Lily understanding Snow Flower would be there for her for life but the level that she married into was a hard juggle for her to Snow Flower. But forgot there might be things going on in Snow Flower's life that of all Snow Flower needed someone to listen, and Lily forgot that.
I think Snow Flower would tell her story a bit differently. I think she would tell her story how she was jealous of Lily coming from a farmer's life to being the wife of a prominent family. But Snow Flower would always say she loved Lily and would stand with her. And did what was asked.
I must say when I was reading about Lily and Snow Flower as girls I did think that they were taking their relationship in a different direction. But I believe it really wasn't anything more than friendship. To think about it the culture the girls being "old sames " brings them very close, are curious about each other since they learn things that normally girls don't know.
That is a tough question, being a mother I don't know what I would do if I had to make the choice about my daughter doing foot binding on her. If it was this century, no I would let her choose. I don't think she would do this willingly, if it was part of tradition or not.
For me, yes I would be like Third Sister. First I have something wrong with my one side anyway. But my mother may not push to have foot binding done. She thought me worthless anyway. I was only good for what she wanted.
"Mother Love" pain-love. I believe true. My own mother raised all of us with a yard stick. What ever came out of her mouth if it gave me pain so be it. It would make me stronger. Wouldn't see it was hurting and I would do opposite. I got away from my mother as soon as I could.
Like Lily was doing to SnowFlower at the end.
For the most part Lily and Snow Flower showed their valve by stepping up to what was needed in their marriage for their families and friends.
We are still bound in some way. Families that are big tends to lean always toward that big family, forgetting about the other side. Work, is always demanding. Can't get anything without giving. The rules of our own culture such as women are expected to do things a certain way. Rules of the country, there is always something. If not in some ways life would be chaos.
Yes very much there are times in this day people take a e-mail, text, the wrong way. I too had that happen to me. And explaining sometimes makes it worse. And a response sometimes happens so off the wall. It is hurtful. Communication is very lack now a days.
Madame Wang I don't think she was a necessary evil. She was a strong business woman. Something that the Chinese women of that century needed. Wang might of gave off the impression of evil. But to keep economy and hopefully good matches kept the country going.
Today we have strong women. Same thing always looked as not knowing anything to being evil. A job needs to be done. A world needs to turn.
I give Snow Flower and the Secret Fan 5