Monday, November 06, 2006

Ties that Bind, Ties that Break by Lensey Namioka

Ties that Bind, Ties that Break is a young adult novel about a Chinese girl who refuses to have her feet bound and must face the consequences of her decision. Read on the heels of Snowflower and the Secret Fan--thanks to the recommendation of my lovely friend, Eileen-- Ties that Bind is a quick read at only 154 pages, but still fascinating and informative . . . and it probably deserves not to end up being compared to Snowflower. However, I can't help it. I did just read Snowflower recently, after all, and it was the fascination with a culture which I knew little about that spawned my interest.

And, so I can tell you that Lily of Snowflower and Ailin of Ties were very different people, although both characters came from wealthy families. Born in different centuries, it would be easy to think that Ailin had it fairly easy. Lily would have likely ended up a concubine or worse if she had not been forced to have her feet bound - possibly dead. Ailin was threatened (to say more would divulge too much), but because she lived just after the turn of the 20th century and a revolution was occuring during the story, she had what I guess you could call the leeway to rebel. Times were changing, after all. I found Ailin a very courageous character and would have liked to read a more in-depth version of her story.


Nano report: Hit a brick wall in the morning and couldn't keep my eyes open, went back to sleep, stared at the screen, wrote for a while and . . . lo and behold, I made it to my day's goal. Wahoo! Not that anything is actually happening in my so-called novel, but I'm having fun as long as the little bars on my profile page keep rising.

Currently reading: The Invention of Solitude by Paul Auster . . . and that other book we won't mention.

Just walked into the house: Small Island by Andrea Levy

Back to work on the writing or off to bed? That is the question.


  1. Sounds like you're doing great with your writing! Hang in there. :)

    I read Small Island this summer and it took me quite a while to get interested, but I wound up really enjoying it. You can read my non-spoiler review here if you like.

  2. Good morning, Les. :)

    Yes, the writing is going pretty well. I've got 25% of the required word count and it's only Day 7, so it looks good. Now and then, though, I do just stop and think, "Good grief. I have no idea where this is headed." It helps to take a walk or sleep on it. LOL

    I've read your review on Small Island; in fact, your review piqued my interest and I forgot to put it on my wish list at the time, but then I saw another positive review (I know not where) and remembered. It only took a few weeks for a copy to become available and it looks nearly new. I love Paperback Swap. :)

  3. there are just not enough hours in the day...
    and i want to spend most of them in bed.

  4. Sounds like your writing is going well! Way to go.
    It took me a while to get into Small Island too, but it's worth reading. Hope you enjoy it.

  5. Bookfool, I enjoyed your review. Having read Snowflower, I think I would enjoy reading Ties. It so heartbreaking to think of what these very your girls had to endure at the hands of their own mothers. It must have be horrible for the mothers, too.

  6. I'm with Angela. I need more hours in the day for my blogging, reading, exercising, housework, etc., etc.!

    I may just have to check into Paperback Swap. I have quite a few books that I don't want to keep now that I've read/attempted to read them...

  7. Angela,

    Yep, there just aren't enough hours in the day!! :)


    The writing has gone much better than expected, considering the fact that I have such a weak storyline. Thanks for chiming in about Small Island. I'll try to be patient with it - maybe should read something a little more fast-paced, first, so I'll be in the mood for a slower read.


    Ties is very, very short because it's a YA book, so it doesn't have the depth of Snowflower. But, it was another fascinating look at life as a Chinese girl. The whole foot binding thing just boggles my mind and I enjoyed reading a slightly different perspective.


    I'm a big fan of Paperback Swap and highly recommend it. It's probably saved me a good bit of pocket money being able to just trade and I've managed to get rid of quite a few books that I no longer want or need.

  8. Anonymous8:02 AM

    Thanks for the review, bookfool, this (Ties that Bind...) is definitely going on my reading list for later.

    Also, glad your writing is going well, yay!

    I recently read "Small Island" and as a bonus I also listened to the dramatized version on BBC's Radio 4 - it was such a treat, so beautifully done! How I wish the BBC would keep their program archives for more than 7 days. They have fabulous book-related readings, dramas and interviews.

  9. Hi Lotus!

    I hope you like Ties that Bind. I emphasize that it's brief because I would have liked more depth, but a heroine willing to stand up for what she believes, even if it means a harder life, is a good one in my opinion.

    And, thanks. I'm still plugging away on the writing and having fun!

    I don't know if we can get BBC radio, but I'll have to check into that. That sounds like my kind of radio content! It would have been fun to hear Small Island dramatized. And, I happen to be a fan of all things British; I love it when my husband turns on the public broadcasting channel and BBC's world report is on. British radio and TV are so very different from broadcasts in the U.S.

  10. I have already have Snowflower on the TBR list. Looks like I'll need to add Ties as well. Thanks for the review.

  11. Framed,

    I hope you enjoy Snowflower and Ties! I thought I was just about the last person on the planet to get to Snowflower, so it's been nice hearing from others who didn't jump on the Snowflower bandwagon immediately! LOL

  12. I have Snowflower in my stacks (bought it about a year ago - loaned it to a friend - got it back - put it back in my stacks!) I was waiting for the hype to settle down. Should have done the same with THAT book. :)

  13. Might have helped, Les. I didn't pay attention to the hype about Snowflower although I read a review in which it sounded interesting. Maybe that's a good thing.


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