Front Cover
Front Cover
Catherine Called Birdy
by Karen Cushman

(Below is not a review of Catherine Called Birdy but of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. This is just a sample of a book review.)
Enter a mysterious and riveting world -- the world of Chinese women in the late ninteenth century, complete with foot bindings and the upstairs rooms where women spent their lives. During these times, some women used secret writings to communicate with their "old sames", life-long friends chosen in a contract arranged between families. Lily is now an old woman, relegated to a corner of the “women's room” where she reminisces about her life and dear old same, Snow Flower. Throughout childhood, marriage, motherhood and old age, the women share messages of love and support on a secret fan. Lisa See's straightforward writing style is so realistic that the characters seem lifelike to the reader and the story remains vivid long after the book is finished.
Reviewed by //Susan G.//, Myers Park Branch (

I learned about the aspect of foot-binding in Chinese women that inspired me to learn more about why these women would hurt themselves and live a limited life due to the deformity of their feet. It also inspired me to research about any Chinese women who are alive today with their feet bound. It also helped provide me with a window into the Chinese women’s culture and expectations. I think a 7th grader would enjoy reading this book as it is fast-paced, interesting and very realistic.

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