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on 28 February 2004
Ties That Bind, Ties That Break is by Lensey Namioka
This book is about a Chinese girl, set during the revolution of China. The girl, who is called Ailin, is against the ancient tradition of having her feet bound which immediately makes her future husband's family break off the engagement. After her father and grandmother die of a lung disease (two of the three people she loves most) she leaves her home and goes to work for an American family as a nanny. Then the family ask her to go to America with them.
In this book I really liked the way the author blended in so much fact with fiction, like when Ailin’s older sister (the third person she loves most) shows Ailin her moths and the silk cocoons that they spin .Ailin’s older sister embroiders with the silk from these cocoons .I also liked the teaching methods for girls in that dynasty. Even though I really liked this book there is one criticism I have to make which is I found the end. in which Ailin goes to America, finds her true love and starts a business with him, I found this a bit too far-fetched for my liking.
Although this book had a brilliant beginning and middle I found the end unrealistic, however I would recommend this book to anyone from7-12. Overall this was one of the best books I have ever read because it taught me a lot about ancient Chinese culture and some of their beautifultraditions, nine and a half out of ten.
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on 27 July 2008
This book is about a chinese girl who does not want to have her feet bound as is the old custom. The book made me take an interest in foreign countries history and customs. I liked the way the author blended the true cruelty of the custom with the fiction. I also liked the way the author told about the pain and did not try to pretend it did not hurt. I would reccomend it to girls aged 8 to 16. Also adults might enjoy it for the history.
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VINE VOICEon 23 April 2007
An easily read, informative, young adult book, set in China early in the 20th century.

The description of Second Sister's unbound feet, 3 inches long, with the smaller toes wrapped under the foot, will be the image that stays with me from this book.

Ailin is lucky, her father senses change ahead and does not insist that her feet are bound like her older sisters - but is this lucky? As a result her marriage prospects are nil and her future is insecure.

Her ambition to become a teacher is also shattered when her father dies of tuberculosis.

But Ailin is a strong, determined character and she finds solutions of her own.

I agree with the previous reviewer that the last part of the book is a little far fetched, I also felt it was a bit rushed. Perhaps with a little more explanation it might have seemed a bit more believable.

In spite of this I would highly recommend this book, interesting both historically and culturally.
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on 24 March 2014
Ties that Bind, Ties that Break is a historical fiction set in 20th century China. Ailin, is the determined, headstrong protagonist in the novel, although she is only 7 years old when we first meet her. Even in her early years, she had been exposed to strong cultural and political change, making her rebel against the ancient tradition of foot binding, which many a child before her had been a victim of. The novel follows her life right up to her marriage.

I really enjoyed this book, as it opened my eyes to foreign cultures and history. It also explores issues that occur everyday even outside of China, for example, death, financial problems, peer pressure etc, etc.

I would recommend this book for everyone who has interest in other cultures. It's heart warming, eye-opening, and one that's sure to grab your attention.
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on 20 March 2011
This book is simply written, but teaches us about the trials and tribulations that faced Chinese women for centuries before. It is set in modern day America, and is definitely worth reading.
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