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Ties That Bind, Ties That Break

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  2,372 Ratings  ·  259 Reviews
Third Sister in the Tao family, Ailin has watched her two older sisters go through the painful process of having their feet bound. In China in 1911, all the women of good families follow this ancient tradition. But Ailin loves to run away from her governess and play games with her male cousins. Knowing she will never run again once her feet are bound, Ailin rebels and refu ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published November 14th 2000 by Laurel Leaf (first published January 1st 1999)
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Julie S.
Jul 25, 2010 Julie S. rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 18, 2013 Paige_y rated it really liked it
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
Sep 18, 2013 Jessical rated it really liked it
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
Dec 05, 2012 Ariss rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Linda Lipko
Feb 23, 2012 Linda Lipko rated it really liked it
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
Oct 14, 2007 Kristyn rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 01, 2009 W.H. Beck rated it liked it
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
May 08, 2016 Malaika rated it liked it
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
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.
Jan 01, 2017 Liz rated it liked it
An interesting read of China and foot binding culture. It was, however, a bit annoying to read most of the story through the eyes of a child.
Mar 05, 2015 Destiny rated it really liked it
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
Oct 04, 2016 Sboysen rated it liked it
This was a very quick read. It had fascinating parallels to our experience in China and to my experience living and studying in Japan.
Mar 19, 2015 Nick rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Ariana Mcmillan
Oct 01, 2012 Ariana Mcmillan rated it liked it
Lensey Namioka tells an intriguing story of a young girl and her struggle through traditions and her life in China during the time of the revolution. After seeing her childhood fiance Liu Hanwei again, Ailin Tao begins to reflect on her life leading up to this point in her life, and how she became the wife of a Chinese restaurant owner in San Francisco.

In this novel, Namioka discusses many problems, one being change, which I believe to be one of the main conflicts in this story. Even though it m
Sep 17, 2013 Alicem rated it really liked it
Ties That Bind Ties That Break
By: Alice author: Lensay Namioka
I would rate Ties That Bind Ties That break at a 4.5. The first reason is that a little five year old girl breaks tradition, It was little weird or gross in a way, it was nice because her father would always stand up for if she did or didn’t want to do something
She didn’t like the idea of being engaged at such a young age. “I saw the strips of cloth neatly folded on my bed, and I guessed what would happen ‘NO, NO!’ I cried. I don’t
Sep 24, 2012 Rwerman rated it really liked it
Shelves: quarter-1
By pasting this statement, I am indicating that I read the book, and the information on this page is accurate.

Ties That Bind, Ties That Break is an empowering story about a girl who finds purpose in life. Allin is a young girl in a wealthy chinese family. She refuses to get her feet bound, so her engagement with a fellow child is broken. When her father dies, her pushy uncle is the new head of the family, therefore makes all the decisions. Allin has minimal choices with what to do with her life
Benny Chainz
Feb 22, 2013 Benny Chainz rated it really liked it
Book review: Ties That Bind, Ties That Break

Before reading the book, I felt that it was going to be a book, which had some vocabulary, which I am going to spend a lot of time searching from the dictionary while reading the book. However after reading it, this book has good vocabulary, which is easy to recognize, and thrills the reader to read on.

The book talks about a strong will Chinese girl named, Ailin having the courage to not have her feet bound, which results to excruciating pain upon bo
Ashley H.
Sep 24, 2012 Ashley H. rated it it was amazing
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 13, 2013 Courtney rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Booktalk: I’d 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 farmer’s wife because of what your feet look l
Mar 13, 2012 Vicki rated it liked it
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
Apr 06, 2010 Mary rated it it was amazing
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
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.

Apr 16, 2011 Heather rated it really liked it
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
Apr 28, 2009 Nayeli rated it really liked it
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
Aug 03, 2011 Rojo rated it it was amazing
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
Salima Korri
Apr 19, 2013 Salima Korri rated it liked it
Considering this is such a short book, I was a little bit dissapointed that it was targeted for Young Adult because it written too simply and plainly.

I think the main aim of this story was to focus on China as a whole and what this country thought about Women. There was a lot of cultural reference but not so much on the story. It was rather a very basic story in fact and there wasn't a lot of emotions or descriptions. I even found it a little bit weird that a five year old girl understood the me
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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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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