Children's Fiction




Yep, Lawrence. (1996). Ribbons.  New York: G.P. Putnamís Sons.

Ribbons is a story about an eleven year old girl, Robin, who lives in Richmond district in the northwest corner of San Francisco.  Her parents are originally from Hong Kong and  moved to the U.S. before Robin was born.  Robin is a talented ballerina and the top student in Madame Oblamovís ballet class.  Her dream of becoming a professional ballerina is shattered when she is forced to give up her ballet lessons in order to save money to bring over her grandmother from Hong Kong before the 1997 handover.  Although her mom has two well-off younger brothers, she has taken up the entire financial burden of bringing her mother to the U.S.

Robin eagerly awaits  the day when she could return to her ballet class, and she practises hard on the concrete floor of the garage everyday.  She grows taller, and soon her toes are cramped, and she begins to feel pain when she dances.  Robin hides her injury worrying that her mother may stop her from practicing rather than buying her a pair of new shoes.  Finally, her grandmother arrives.  Robin has difficulty getting along with her.  Her grandmother is horrified when she sees Robinís pointe shoes and the state of her feet.  One day, Robin discovers about the bound feet of her grandmother, and she understands the latterís  reaction towards her  cramped feet.  This becomes their secret, and the two reconcile.  Grandmother thinks Robin should continue dancing, and is shocked to find out that Robin has had to sacrifice her ballet lessons in order to bring her over to America.  Robin is advised by the doctor to perform an operation on her feet in order to relieve her pain, but having the operation means that she will not be able to dance again.  Robin prefers to dance and endures the pain instead of having the operation.  Grandmother calls her sons, and they turn up with a new pair of pointe shoes for Robin, red lai-see for her family, and they invite grandmother to live with them in their big houses.  (FC)

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