Monday, July 31, 2006

Napoli, Donna Jo. Bound

Napoli, Donna Jo. Bound. Atheneum, 2004 [0-689-86175-3]
It is ancient China and Xing Xing's parents have died so she is bound to her stepmother. They live together in a cave with her step sister, Wei Ping who is suffering through the agony of having her feet bound. The story tells the horrors of what it was like to suffer through having your feet bound to make them small (and beautiful.) Xing Xing does the chores and fetches the water daily for her "family" who treat her like a servant. One day she finds a dress and pair of golden shoes hidden by her mother before shoe died. When Wei Ping and stepmother go off to the festival, Xing Xing puts on the dress and shoes and follows. Of course, by now you realize that is another of Napoli's fairy tale expansions. Just like in Cinderella, Xing Xing rushes home and loses a shoe and the local prince decides to marry whoever the shoe fits. In this 186 page book, like Napoli's others, you get wrapped up in the story before you realize it is a retelling of a fairy tale. China is one of the many cultures that have a Cinderella type story in their folklore. This book is good on many fronts, especially the depiction of what it must have been like to have your feet bound.


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