Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"Bound" by Donna Jo Napoli (Book Review)

A Cinderella story set during China's Ming Dynasty, "Bound" is full of Chinese legends, beliefs, and customs interspersed in the daily life of Xing Xing Wu, her half-sister, Wei Ping, and Stepmother.  The author brings us into their cave dwelling and sits us down on the Wu khang as the bound feet of Wei Ping are tended to, but never discussed aloud.
Never feeling sorry for herself, humble and petite Xing Xing is a talented poet and calligrapher but is no more than a slave girl and afterthought to her stepmother.  We cheer for Xing Xing's fairy tale ending, coming away with some knowledge of ancient Chinese customs.
Fairy tales have been around since the first storyteller.  Sometimes fairy tales teach lessons about greed or expound on the virtues of honesty, humility, and basically doing the right thing.  The Walt Disney Empire made billions of dollars by bringing fairy tales to generations of children through animation and music. 
They teach us that not all bad things happen to good people and that bad people, unless willing to change, eventually get what they deserve.  But most of all, fairy tales give us hope.
The Cinderella story has always been my favorite, which may explain why I've watched Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman more times than I can remember.
Which tale is your favorite?  Why?