Snowflower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
This novel reads like an Amy Tan story with its vivid Asian imagery and strong female-dominated plot. Expertly written, this story within a story captures the deep friendship between two young girls as they struggle their way through customs and traditions in becoming proper grown women.
This book's description of footbinding was like nothing I'd ever heard. Did you know that mothers wrapped their baby's girls' feet and made them walk on it for days until the bones would break and settle? I learned that 1 in 10 girls died from infection incurred from improper binding techniques.
One of my favorite parts of the story is when the main character realizes that her heart is like a black shriveled mushroom. That she's really evil and dark on the inside. Unfortunately, after this revelation, she tries to work away her penitence instead of accepting the forgiveness that was freely offered to her. The ending makes it sound like she made peace with herself through her acts of remorse, but you and I both know that "shriveled mushroom" hearts won't change by any means other than Jesus's grace imparted to us.