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Ties That Bind, Ties That Break

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3.81  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,236 Ratings  ·  250 Reviews
Set in China in 1900s the story of a young girl who defied tradition by refusing to have her feet bound and in doing so changed the course of her life forever.
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Published October 2nd 2003 by Puffin (first published January 1st 1999)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Julie S.
This young Chinese girl decides that she did not want to have her feet painfully bound, going against tradition. This novel takes us through her struggles and accomplishments that come as a result of this choice.

The main character was strong, so I found myself rooting for her quite early in the book. It is always nice to see strong female characters.

It was very interesting to see a book that dealt with Chinese culture without mocking it or being over-awed at it. This seemed to look at it through
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Paige_y
Sep 19, 2013 Paige_y rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ties That Bind, Ties That Break
By: Paige Y.
The title of my book is Ties That Bind, Ties That Break by Lensey Namioka. This book is definitely something worth reading, and I recommend this to anyone who loves reading historical fiction. The three main reasons I would recommend this book is one it gives the reader a different perspective of religion and how unreasonable or harsh it may be. Two, it is a very moving story with lots of detail that make it easy to follow. Three, it is very inspiring b
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Ariss
Dec 05, 2012 Ariss rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jessical
Sep 18, 2013 Jessical rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ties That Bind, Ties That Break
By: Jessica L
The title of my book is Ties That Bind, Ties That Break. This book is written by Lensey Namioka. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves historical fiction. The three main reasons why I would recommend this book are that the book was very emotional and moving, there were many adventures and struggles the characters go though, and lastly the storyline was very inspiring.
A very emotional time in the book was when the father of the main chara
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Linda Lipko
Feb 23, 2012 Linda Lipko rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, history
This book represents many things that I love about Young Adult fiction. There is depth of feeling, a large coming of age component, and a seriousness about the subject matter that is relative to all generations.

The setting is China in 1917 when there were incredibly strict social and cultural rules of tradition.
Wise beyond her age, high-spirited, spunky and stubborn five year old Allin is a member of a wealthy family wherein marriages are arranged according to socioeconomic standards.

The Tao fam
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Kristyn
Oct 14, 2007 Kristyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
This book is about the foot bindings in ancient China. Long ago when a girl was still very young she would have her foot bound. Foot binding was a tradition that crippled girls, but small feet was considered fashionable. If your feet were unbound you were looked down upon since only girls who were farmers or very poor had unbound feet. With unbound feet you were garanteed to not make a good marriage. In this book it tells the story of a girl named Tao Ailin who refused to have her feet bound. Ta ...more
W.H. Beck
Ailin, the third daughter of a wealthy Chinese family in Nanjing in 1911, is smart, headstrong, and slightly spoiled. When she is five, she fights at having her feet bound. Her mother and grandmother are horrified, while her older sister is sympathetic. Her father surprises them all.

"Ailin doesn't have to have her feet bound if she doesn't want it."

"She's too young to understand the consequences," said Mother.

"But I understand the consequences," said Father.

Indeed, her father does understand th
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Malaika
May 23, 2016 Malaika rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
So I just finished reading this for school, but I really like it! I love the main character's free spirit, and her freeness.... just how she pursues through a situation. Also, the main character Ailin is smart, clever, and I really like her. It is about Ailin, who would have to get her feet bound. Basically, the painful ancient Chinese tradition is when you push your toes onto the soul of your foot with a piece of cloth, which avoids your foot from growing. However, Ailin loves to run around, an ...more
Jaylin Saunders
Nov 21, 2014 Jaylin Saunders rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a very good book. I honestly dont see much wrong with the book. Maybe at the end there could have been something telling about what with her friends and family and how their future turned out for them. If you want a book where it is "Man vs. Society" then this book is for you.
Snigdha Thatikonda
4 out of 5 stars. This was an inspiring light read an I really enjoyed it! Loved Ailin's character. More detailed review to come.
Salsabrarian
Booktalk: Iâd like you to think about . . . your feet. What do they look like? Are they big feet? Are they small feet? Are they wide? Narrow?
Now that you have a picture of your feet in your heads, imagine that the kind of person you can marry depends on what your feet look like. Imagine that you could become a social outcast because of what your feet look like. Imagine that the only choices you had in life were to become a nun, a concubine, or a farmerâs wife because of what your feet look like.
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Nick
Mar 19, 2015 Nick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Destiny
Mar 05, 2015 Destiny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Destiny Chamard


Ties That Bind, Ties That Break

Ties That Bind, Ties That Break, is a book about a young girl named Ailin. Ailin lived in a small town called Nanjing. She had lived in with her family in one big house hold. Her Mother, 1st Sister and 2nd sister, Big Uncle, Father, and her grandmother. Although, in the book Ailin's father and grandmother had passed away because they got very sick. When both Ailin's father and grandmother had passed away, the new chief of the house was Big Uncle. B
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Christopher
Jan 11, 2016 Christopher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ailin, the youngest sister of two others is first put into a situation in which she is told to marry a boy that is seven year old boy, who firstly tells her the things he learns in private school. Ailin wishes to go to a private school and learn what this boy learns. Ailin's mother, grandmother, and amah(governess) then pressure Ailin to bound here feet to get married in order to get married properly. Ailin then grows older to then go to private school and has to drop out after her father dies a ...more
Cindy
Mar 30, 2016 Cindy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
*Warning for squeemish readers: there is a description of her sister's bound feet, the Christian couple she works for are intolerant of Confusism (sign of the times)*
3.5 It was a short book set in the time of China's republic. The main character is fighting the idea of having her feet bound and has to find another home after her father dies because she is considered unmarriageable. She works for an American missionary couple. I liked the man she married and that she stood up for herself. It was
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Miah
Apr 25, 2014 Miah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book for a class and i was put to read this book. Its nothing that i think i would personaly just pick up on my own to read, but it was a pretty good book. In this book all girls have to bind their feet and are put with a guy that they will grow up and marry. This little girl in this book is very different, she looks to run around and be free so her dad keeps pushing it off and making the mom and grandma wait to bind her feet. There are some exciting parts in this book and keep you w ...more
Gregandemy
Interesting story of a girl who resists the tradition of feet binding and how it affects her life. The story was good, characters were interesting and likeable. My problem with the book was how it is written. Huge parts of the story seem to be skipped over as if the author had limited pages or was in a rush to finish the book. I read on my kindle and honestly thought I had accidentally skipped sections of the book at times. She'd be telling one point and the very next paragraph could be starting ...more
Kathy Chung
Jun 20, 2016 Kathy Chung rated it it was ok
the beginning of this book did not leave me with a good impression. in page 8, San xiao jie is translated as Little Miss Three. that doesn't sound right. if am not mistaken, it should be 3rd little miss or 3rd little mistress.

After further reading, i find that the story is okay. Not outstanding but still interesting. suitable for young readers around the age of 10 and about. It is just touching the surface of what's happening in China around that period. it is good that the book is not heavy on
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Kellyf
Oct 08, 2014 Kellyf rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book is about Ailin fighting for her rights to not bind her feet.
Then she runs away from her family because she doesn't want to bind her feet.
Every girl has to bind there feet despite the fact it comes in the family tradition, only rich people can make thee feet small.

I especially liked when Ailin asked her sister if she could watch her sister bind her feet,
I liked that part because It would give Ailin the idea what it would it be like when its her turn to bind her feet.

My favourite chara
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Leilab
Oct 10, 2014 Leilab rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is about a girl named Ailin and she refuses to get her feet bound, so her intended breaks their marriage agreement. At school Ailin learnt english, and her english teach had a friend in need for amah. So Ailin volunteered to help look after her children. Her employers were moving back to America and asked Ailin to come with them, that's how she met her husband James Zhao.
I especially liked the part when Ailin meets James Zhao because he is really nice to her.
My favourite character was
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Miwa
Oct 16, 2014 Miwa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is about a girl name Ailin who doesn't want to have her feet bound. She feels very strongly about her choice and she is determined to make it possible. In China women and men used to believe that women with bound feet were beautiful and attractive. I really liked the beginning of the book Ties That Bind, Ties That Break because it is about the present day, then she starts to talk about her past which leads to a different year. My favourite character is Ailin because she is brave and confident ...more
Arminzerella
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Heather
Apr 17, 2011 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This lovely little novel is evidence that a book does not have to be long to handle complex topics and interesting characters effectively. "Ties that Bind, Ties that Break" is a look at early 20th century China around the time of the 1911 Revolution, but the heart of the story itself is one young woman caught between the East and the West, the past and the future. One downside of the novel's compact length is that it often has to summarize things that a longer work would have room to flesh out, ...more
Rojo
Aug 03, 2011 Rojo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really, really liked this book. That may sound a little plain but I really do. The first time I've even heard of this book was in 8th grade when my friend was reading it and she sat next to me in science. So I looked at what she was reading and it was about foot binding in China and I was actually really interested in that. So from that day I was like, ok, one of these days I need to read this book. Then a couple days ago my school was having a free book thing so people could have something to ...more
Vicki
Mar 13, 2012 Vicki rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Usually, I don't read books like these, but when my friend recommended it, I decided to read it. Honestly I thought that the book was pretty good overall. The story takes place in China with a girl who leaves her family and heads for America because her feet were unbound. In China, it is tradition that a girl is to have her feet bound which is the binding of the feet to stop any more growth. It happens around when a girl is young so the arch isn't as developed, and the toes are bent back all the ...more
Corinne
The tale of Third Sister, Ailin, begins in turn of the century China. Even at the age of five, Ailin knows that having her feet bound will not give her the kind of life she wants – she’d no longer be free to run and play. As a coming of age story, we get to experience China first-hand as Ailin grows older and begins to suffer the consequences of her decision. With her family against her, Ailin has to find the courage to stand up to traditional Chinese culture and find her own way to be a woman.

T
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Mary
Apr 11, 2010 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the book Ties That Bind, Ties That Break, Tao Ailin, who was raised in a strict traditional Chinese family breaks the rules to become a modern woman of the new generation. Ever since she escaped the cruel tradition of binding a girl's feet, she has committed other what her grandmother would consider "rebellious" acts. After attending public school, and met her first "big-nose" foreigner, Ailin was exposed to the other side of the world and how females can be independent and just be as succes ...more
Kimberly Kennedy
This book was very entertaining to read. It was about a chinese girl rebelling against a chinese tradition to have her feet bound. Her sisters, amah, (which is like a nanny) her grandmother and her mother all have their feet bound. Her grandmother says it is unlady like to have unbound feet. The main character Ailin, had a marraige arranged for her but the boys mother that she was suppose to marry broke off the engagment because Ailin did not have her feet bound. I thought this was not right for ...more
Nayeli
May 30, 2009 Nayeli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Tao familiy which has 3 sisters and the youngest one sees how her older sisters feet are bound not been able to do anything they want. They dont have the possibility to walk or run as they wish they did because they have the feet bound. At the end Ailin left to the united states and gor married to James. They met when she was on her way to the United States in the boat. Alin decided to stay in the united states and stay with her husban. Life wasn't easy, but she was ready to live her life an ...more
Ashley H.
Nov 02, 2012 Ashley H. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ties That Bind, Ties That Break
Ties That Bind, Ties That Break is a novel about how the third sister in the Tao family, Ailin has watched the years of her sisters go through the painful, tortuous process of getting their feet bound and relearning how to walk. It takes place in China in 1911, it was the time when all the women followed this tradition. Ailin had always loved to play with her boy cousins, as well as her governess (her nanny.) From the start she had bent the rules and traditions an
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Namioka was born in Beijing, the daughter of linguist Yuenren Chao and physician Buwei Yang Chao. The family moved often in China. In 1937, the Chaos were living in Nanjing, and fled westward in the face of the Japanese Invasion. They eventually made their way to Hawaii, then Cambridge, Massachusetts. Namioka attended grade school in Cambridge and excelled at mathematics.

Namioka attended Universit
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“She’ll be five soon,’’ said Mother. ‘‘Most girls have it done even earlier. When Mrs. Liu saw Ailin the other day, she was shocked that her feet were still unbound. She also remarked on how spirited Ailin was. In other words, she found her spoiled and uncontrollable. Having Ailin’s feet bound would stop her from running around like a boy.’’ I looked at Little Brother, who was tottering up to a pot of chrysanthemums. In a few years he would be able to run around just like my cousins. Why was it all right for boys to run around but not for me? Father sighed. ‘‘Why can’t we wait a few years before deciding on the match with the Lius? I’ve never been keen on these early engagements.’’ He smiled. ‘‘Our marriage wasn’t arranged until you were fourteen, and it hasn’t turned out so badly, has it?” 1 likes
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