Saturday, June 06, 2009

Bound (MG, YA)

Napoli, Donna Jo. 2004. Bound. 186 pages.

Xing Xing squatted by the water, silent and unmoving. Her stillness was a prayer.

I had a few issues with Bound. It went places I didn't want to go--a girl killing blind, baby racoons (kits) for dinner, oozing foot sores on an older sister, a pet racoon attacking said sores and biting off toes, etc. But for those with less sensitive sensibilities, Bound could be a charming Chinese Cinderella.

Set in ancient China, Bound is the story of Xing Xing, a young girl who is bound to her step-mother (well, her father's second wife). She is called "The Lazy One" and ordered to wait on her stepmother and older sister (half-sister). She fetches the water, chops the wood, tends the fire, cooks the meals, empties the chamber pot, cleans their cave, etc. Menial tasks to be sure. And while the stepmother does make her work, this stepmother isn't quite as cruel (in some ways) as the traditional story goes. (In other ways, however, she's worse.) Her older sister, Wei Ping is little better than a cripple. Her bound feet are not only painful but infected. She's in constant pain, her mother is in denial about the situation, and she's generally cranky. Not that I'd blame her. If my feet were bound, I had multiple infections and sores and oozing spots, I'd be full-out cranky too.

The home is brightened up for a little while when Xing Xing brings home a baby racoon (a kit) born blind. She'd murdered his two siblings for dinner. And her mother is skinning them as Wei Ping begins exclaiming about how wonderful it would be to have a cute little pet. She also brings home a fish. Wei Ping loves her new pets. And as they begin to grow, her mood begins to lighten. (She eventually sets the fish free when it grows too big for the bucket/bowl. You don't want to know about the raccoon. Trust me.)

But circumstances don't stay light for long. After a few too many graphic scenes (at least for me) Xing Xing is sent along with some green, unripened figs (or some other fruit like that) to fetch a traveling doctor. She does. And she learns much along the way. She returns with the knowledge of how to help her sister's feet heal--at least temporarily. (I'm not sure how healthy bound feet can ever be.)

Anyway, this being a Cinderella-tale, you know where the story is heading. It is an interesting novel. I thought it was well done, in a way. I just didn't want to go many of the places it went.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Anonymous,  10:34 AM  

I had never heard of this one, but your review makes me curious about it. The subject certainly is interesting - although, in a way, horrible. Anyway, I'm taking note of this one. Thanks!

Zibilee 1:38 PM  

I have been wanting to read this one for awhile, but haven't gotten around to it. I am excited that you reviewed it, and think that based on your description, it would make an interesting and sort of dark read.

Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge
Linked to sign up page

Family Tree Reading Challenge

Family Tree Reading Challenge
Link to sign-up page

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge
Linked To Sign Up Page

2018 Charity Challenge (Sign Up)

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge
Link to sign up page

2018 Picture Book Challenge

2018 Picture Book Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge
click image to go to sign up post

Good Rules Cheat List

Board books and picture books = new is anything published after 2013
Early readers and chapter books = new is anything published after 2013
Contemporary (general/realistic) = new is anything published after 2007
Speculative fiction (sci-fi/fantasy = new is anything published after 2007
Classics = anything published before 1968
Historical fiction = new is anything published after 2007
Mysteries = new is anything published after 1988
Nonfiction = new is anything published after 2007
Christian books = new is anything published after 2000
Bibles = new is anything published after 1989

My Blog List

(Old) Challenge Participants

Becky's Hosting These Challenges

100 Books Project: Fill in the Gaps

Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP