Thursday, November 20, 2008
Retelling of: Cinderella
Bound by Donna Jo Napoli.
This is a reworking of the fairy tale Cinderella set in Ancient China. This retelling is particularly thought provoking because it is not set in the typical European setting. Fourteen-year-old Xing Xing is a young girl who is bound and abused in many ways. Following the death of her mother, Xing Xing's father remarries and the young girl gains a stepmother and a stepsister, Wei Ping. A short time later tragedy strikes again when Xing Xing's father dies. The young girl is forced to work as a servant for her stepmother and stepsister. With only a gold and white carp for company in a pond near their home, whom Xing Xing believes is a reincarnation of her mother's spirit, the girl tries to maintain a sense of pride and strength. Xing Xing is bound by the cultural traditions of ancient China because without her parents to arrange a suitable match for marriage she cannot find a husband. She is also bound to forever be a servant in her own household, thus becoming an invisible part of Chinese society. However, Xing Xing is not the only girl that is forced into bondage. Her stepsister, Wei Ping, is forced by her mother to bind her feet to make them small and delicate, thus illustrating the girl's grace and desirability. One night at a celebratory festival all the stability that Xing Xing has sought to create could be gone with the loss of one slipper...
If you enjoyed this book by Donna Jo Napoli be sure to look into some of her other fairy tale retellings:
Beast is the story of Orasmyn, a Persian prince, who is transformed into a lion and can only regain his true form with the love of a woman.
Sirena is the story of a siren, or mermaid, who must earn the love of a human man to gain eternal life. She and her sisters sing to lure men to them. However, after a shipwreck, Sirena begins to rethink what she wants from her life and the way in which she wants to receive love.
Spinners is the tale of a young tailor that sought to impress his would be father-in-law by clothing his beloved in gold. He attempts to spin gold thread, but becomes crippled in the process and is rejected by his lover. Years later the daughter to his once-betrothed is singled out for her skills in spinning thread by a young king that hungers for gold.
Zel is the story of a young girl growing up and finding love in 16th century Switzerland. When Zel attracts the attentions of Konrad, a count's son, her mother becomes afraid that she will lose her daughter forever and imprisons the young woman in a tower. Can Konrad find his beloved and rescue her...read and find out!
To learn more about Donna Jo Napoli go her website!
Read an interview with Donna Jo Napoli!