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Bound

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3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  4,036 ratings  ·  440 reviews
YOUNG XING XING IS BOUND.Bound to her father's second wife and daughter after Xing Xing's father has passed away. Bound to a life of servitude as a young girl in ancient China, where the life of a woman is valued less than that of livestock. Bound to be alone and unmarried, with no parents to arrange for a suitable husband. Dubbed "Lazy One" by her stepmother, Xing Xing sp ...more
Paperback, 186 pages
Published August 1st 2006 by Simon Pulse (first published August 1st 2004)
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The Best Fairytales and Retellings
103rd out of 1,646 books — 6,991 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Lacey Louwagie
It's been so many years since I've read anything by Donna Jo Napoli -- I think more than a decade -- so I was pleased to find that she still "held up" after all this time, especially since I stopped reading her because I seem to have OD'd and found her books not "doing it" for me the same way they used to.

It's clear from Napoli's retellings that she has the utmost respect for her source material, and I admire that. She doesn't try too hard to find a "gimmick" or "twist" to make her retellings se
...more
Thomas
Bound is the story of fourteen-year-old Xing Xing, who lives with her evil stepmother and needy half-sister in a cave. Both of her parents are deceased and these two women are all the family she has left. Her half-sister, Wei-Ping, has bound feet and has high hopes for getting married. Her deceitful step-mom also wants Wei-Ping to get married to a decent man, and completely ignores the hopes and dreams of Xing Xing. In this retelling of a classic tale Xing Xing may be able to prove that she has ...more
Lily
My high school girls love this book because it retells Cinderella in a different culture and time period, but it's cheesy and stereotyped at best. Most of the novel chronicles the girl's miserable life with her stepmother, and the Cinderella part doesn't really come into play until the very end.
The title itself serves as a metaphor for the bound life that the main character leads, which parallels the symbol of a girl's bound feet in ancient China.
This book does give more complex personalitie
...more
Lexie
I freely admit my ignorance in Chinese history. What I do know is mostly gleened from Disney's Mulan, Katherine Patterson's novel (Rebels of the Heavenly Kingdom) and that which my coworkers at my job taught me for the Chinese New Year. My knowledge of the Cinderella tale, and its incarnations, is vastly larger however, but I had never come upon the Chinese tales (which according to the Postscript are some of the oldest known).

I have mixed feelings for this book; on the one hand the story moves
...more
Misty
3.5

This was the first thing I read by Napoli, and though it started strong and had a great sense of place, in some respects it was a letdown. Not completely, and I would still recommend it, but...
I'll just get right into it. I thought it had a very strong start. The Cinderella aspects were clear and the sense of place was beautiful. It was reinforced with the language, too, so that it didn't seem like a Western character and sensibilities dropped in an Eastern setting. Everything matched and fel
...more
Erin Howard
Jan 23, 2013 Erin Howard rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Young Adult
Rating: 3.5

Bound is a coming of age story with a Cinderella twist. Most reviews I have seen have put the shoe before the story, but this was truly not about Cinderella at its core. It was about Xing Xing, a not-quite-girl but not-quite-woman being raised by her stepmother in Ming Dynasty China with her older half-sister. Her father and mother had passed away, leaving her at the mercy of the dominant female of the household who had little respect or care for the young Xing Xing.

During this time i
...more
Christine
[originally reviewed on my blog the happily ever after... in February 2009.]

Bound is a stark, realistic retelling of the commonly known Cinderella type fairy tale. The setting of the story in ancient China, along with the historically accurate traditions of ancient Chinese culture help make this story incredibly realistic and offer the reader a stark look into the unfair expectations and treatment of women within the society. While the hardships faced by women during that time seem unjust and de
...more
Terry
This retelling of Cinderella is distinguished by Napoli's lyrical prose--her style is both descriptive and spare and the book almost feels like an extended poem. It's a joy to read, and easy to accomplish without stopping. At the same time, she doesn't sacrifice characterization--what's great about Bound is not only how developed the characters are, but also how complex their personalities and motivations are. For example, the stepmother is not completely evil; she is trapped in a difficult situ ...more
Melissa
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mkatherinejohnson
I really enjoyed this book. The imagery was cool and fresh, and the characters were very convincing. The plot was pretty awesome. The author did a good job of letting me feel with Xing Xing through its ups and downs.
Though the book isn't billed as one, it's a retelling of the classic Cinderella story. It's really impressive how, though the characters' personalities are basically the same as the generic Cinderella characters (Xing Xing is compassionate towards people in spite of the way they trea
...more
Melanti
A retelling of a VERY old Chinese variant of the Cinderella tale. Ye Xian -- wiki article

I really enjoyed this variant of the story and I thought Naploi did a wonderful job of working in some traditional Chinese beliefs that weren't explicitly part of the Ye Xian tale or at least the versions of Ye Xian that I've found so far don't explicitly link the beliefs, though they might well have been implicitly linked by the people of that era.

I really liked how Napoli pulled in the belief of ancestor
...more
Addie
Another for YA Lit. class. Post from class is below.
I choose to read Bound by Donna Jo Napoli. This book is a retelling of the Cinderella story. This version of the story takes place in China, but the author notes that she made a few changes to the traditional Chinese story. Though the plot remains much the same, she differed in three areas: time period- it is in the Ming dynasty rather than the Qin or Han; location- takes place in a northern rather than a southern province; and community- it is
...more
Izzy
Pretty cover! I'd like to see something incorporating the whole thing with being bound, but it's very nice regardless.

I had mixed feelings on this one. I'm generally not the biggest fan of books based on fairy tales, especially those that try to make them modern fairy tales. Although this one took place in the past, it was rather predictable. I understand that might be the point of basing a book on a fairy tale in the first place, but I didn't find any places whatsoever where there was a plot tw
...more
Jodi
Jan 01, 2009 Jodi rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Young adult women
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cat Conner
Apr 26, 2010 Cat Conner rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fairy tale fans.
Don't let the cover of this book fool you, for it did me. One might think that this is a novel about foot binding in China. While foot binding is an element of the novel, the word "bound" comes to take on several meanings.
"Bound" centers around Xing Xing. Xing Xing has recently experienced the death of her father and her mother died when she was seven. Xing Xing is now fourteen and lives with her stepmother and half-sister in a cave home in Ming China. Xing Xing had a close relationship with her
...more
Chris
Napoli, Donna Jo. Bound (2004)
Boundis a novel based on a Chinese version of the Cinderella story. It is the story of Xing Xing, a young girl living with her stepmother and half-sister in ancient China. Since her father’s death, she has become the household slave. As her stepmother binds her daughter’s feet in hopes of a marriage prospect , Xing Xingrealizes that she is bound to a life of servitude and neglect with no possibilities of marriage and a life ofher own. I have mixed feeling about this
...more
Cristina
Text Summary
Xing Xing, a teenage girl living during the Ming Dynasty, is bound...
to a life of servitude and loneliness now that her father and mother have passed on. She is left in the “care” of her stepmother, who shows no care for Xing Xing at all. Xing Xing is expected to complete all chores around the cave, including cooking and cleaning, and ironically Stepmother still refers to Xing Xing as “Lazy One.” All of the care and attention is given to Xing Xing’s stepsister, Wei Ping, who is bein
...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Taylor Rector for TeensReadToo.com

Xing Xing is a young woman who is treated like the classic lower class stepchild in Donna Jo Napoli's BOUND.

Her mother died when she was very young and her father then remarried. The woman that takes care of her (if you want to call it that) is her father's new wife. Xing Xing has a stepsister who has bound feet and can't walk, so she is treated by her stepmother as though she were a maid.

The story is told in the classic tale of Cinderella, with th
...more
Dana
This story is an ancient Chinese re-telling of the story of Cinderella. Xing Xing is bound to her dead father's second wife and her daughter Wei Ping. It is a life of servitude and tied by bonds of family and culture. Girls in this position can expect nothing and are treated little more than slaves.

Wei Ping's feet were bound immediately after her father's death and are extremely painful. Her father did not agree with this practice but her mother wants to negotiate a good marriage for her and see
...more
Roxanne Hsu Feldman
Reading this retelling of the “Chinese Cinderella” story was a painful experience for me. I could not even tell if it is well told, as stories go, because I was so distracted by all the inaccuracies in Napoli’s portrayal of Chinese cultures, customs, characters, and philosophies.Here are some examples of my understanding that does not coincide with Napoli’s text. Granted, I need to do more research and see if maybe my understanding is not universally correct.. A second wife of a man is not the “ ...more
Yang-Ha Kim
Very interesting historical fiction, mixing it with the tale of Cinderella. Though short, it is filled with facts of Ancient China and explains its story through the mind of a compassinate Chinese girl, including poems. It's one of my favorites.
Xing Xing, named "Stars" from her beloved dececsed mother, now serves her stepmother and her half sister after her father dies. Bound and in pain, her step sister Wei Pang lives a life only of being served and only with the goal of being married to a rich
...more
Asenath
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tortla
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Leslie
Napoli may be overlooked in the "new" rush of retold fairytales, but that would be a shame. This reworking of the Chinese version of Cinderella keeps the reader gripped from the very first page. It's even possible to not realize that this is a Cinderella story until midway through the book - Napoli's lovely prose brings Xing Xing, a peasant at the beginning of the Ming dynasty, to life. Both her sorrow at the loss of her father and mother and her joy in the natural world around her highlight Xin ...more
Gillian Strothenke
The book Bound is a story that relates to a Cinderella tale. The main character is a young woman named Xing Xing, and she was bound to her father's daughter and second wife after Xing Xing's father passed away. Xing Xing was living a life of a slave to her stepmother and sister, and was destined to live a life of an unmarried woman. The author of this book really went back into Chinese history to when woman were treated as if they were livestock, and that woman needed to be petit and fit for mar ...more
Sarah
I really liked this retelling, but the reason I give it four stars instead of five is not because of the writing, but rather because the Cinderella part of the story doesn't come into the plot until literally 20 pages from the end of the book. I wish Napoli had gotten rid of the unnecessary chapters with that doctor guy and concentrated more on the climax. I mean they were interesting and I would have been okay with it had the doctor somehow come back into the story or if the book had been longe ...more
Vanessa
I remember reading this book when I was in the sixth grade. Now, going back into it and reading it all over again I seen it way less brutal than I thought it was at thirteen. There is some scenes of unflinching gore involving the harming of an animal which might make some with a sensitive heart like myself feel sick to their stomach. Although, in the book's defense they are living in dire and older times so their actions towards other animals and people are often less planned out and empathetic. ...more
Summer Turner
I truly enjoy reading different versions of well-known stories. So I was excited to read this Chinese Cinderella story. I did like it, but it seemed to move a little slow for me for 95% of the book, then all of a sudden everything was wrapping up and it was over.

However, I loved learning about the culture of China at the beginning of the Ming Dynasty. And especially the culture in the small villages where Xing Xing lived and visited. I appreciated Xing Xing, the relationships she had with her ha
...more
Madeline
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Angelique Wilkes
This book is a retelling of the Cinderella story. This version of the story takes place in China, but the author notes that she made a few changes to the traditional Chinese story. Though the plot remains much the same, she differed in three areas: time period- it is in the Ming dynasty rather than the Qin or Han; location- takes place in a northern rather than a southern province; and community- it is in an ordinary rather than a minority community. The plot differs from the Disneyfied version ...more
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Into the Forest: Bound Spolier Free 10 7 May 19, 2015 08:52AM  
Into the Forest: Bound Spoilers 9 5 May 18, 2015 06:01PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Correct Page Numbering for "Bound" 4 55 Feb 04, 2014 10:07PM  
6DRAKE: 2 book project 1 4 Nov 15, 2013 03:35PM  
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From her website:

Donna Jo Napoli is both a linguist and a writer of children's and YA fiction.

Donna Jo has five children. She dreams of moving to the woods and becoming a naturalist. She loves to garden and bake bread.

At various times her house and yard have been filled with dogs, cats, birds, and rabbits. For thirteen years she had a cat named Taxi, and liked to go outside and call, "Taxi!" to
...more
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