Bound [NOOK Book]

Overview

In a novel based on Chinese Cinderella tales, fourteen-year-old stepchild Xing-Xing endures a life of neglect and servitude, as her stepmother cruelly mutilates her own child's feet so that she alone might marry well.

In a novel based on Chinese Cinderella tales, fourteen-year-old stepchild Xing-Xing endures a life of neglect and servitude, as her stepmother cruelly mutilates her own child's feet so that she alone might marry well. ...

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Bound

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Overview

In a novel based on Chinese Cinderella tales, fourteen-year-old stepchild Xing-Xing endures a life of neglect and servitude, as her stepmother cruelly mutilates her own child's feet so that she alone might marry well.

In a novel based on Chinese Cinderella tales, fourteen-year-old stepchild Xing-Xing endures a life of neglect and servitude, as her stepmother cruelly mutilates her own child's feet so that she alone might marry well.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this Cinderella story set in 14th-century China, "Napoli grants her heroine an independence that remains authentic to her time, and creates both an adventure and a coming-of-age story that will have readers racing to the finish," according to our Best Books citation. Ages 12-up. (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
KLIATT
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, November 2004: Xing Xing is the daughter of master potter Wu. With the death of her father, she lives with Stepmother and a half-sister, Wei Ping. Stepmother is hoping to arrange a marriage for Wei Ping, and has bound her feet in order to make her more desirable. The infection that develops means that Xing Xing must seek medical help from a traveling herbalist. In the process she leaves her village and is allowed to see more of the world than she had imagined. The story is filled with the tradition and culture of the early Chinese. The family lives in a cave and Xing Xing works to keep the household clean and well stocked with foods. She befriends a baby raccoon and a beautiful white fish. As she travels with the medical man, she learns about herbal medicines and uses her own ability to read and write to earn her way on a riverboat. Returning home, she helps to heal Wei Ping and finds a secret treasure that her mother had left for her. Taking her treasure and attending the cave festival, Xing Xing again sees the world for herself without family chaperones. The end of the story is the Chinese version of Cinderella, thought by many to be the earliest version of the popular fairy tale. KLIATT Codes: J--Recommended for junior high school students. 2004, Simon & Schuster, Pulse, 186p., $5.99.. Ages 12 to 15.
—Janis Flint-Ferguson
Children's Literature
After Xing Xing's beloved father dies, she is left in the care of his second wife, her cruel stepmother. Stepmother's one goal is to help her only daughter, Wei Ping, marry well. Although Wei Ping is already of marriageable age, Stepmother decides to bind her feet, a process that was usually begun in early childhood, to make the girl more attractive to potential suitors. Instead, the girl develops only debilitating pain and a life-threatening infection. While her stepsister heals, Xing Xing becomes the family servant, dressed in rags and secretly practicing the "three perfections"—painting, poetry, and calligraphy—which her father had valued and helped cultivate in her. As Xing Xing attempts to practice her art and evade her evil Stepmother, she finds solace from an unexpected source—a giant fish who may be the spirit of her late mother. Napoli's story bears a general resemblance both to traditional Western Cinderella stories and to the much older Chinese Cinderella tales. By placing her story in a specific time and place (northern China during the Ming Dynasty), Napoli also introduces historical details and themes about the value of women that add depth to the tale. Sophisticated readers will enjoy reading this novel alongside other global versions of the Cinderella tale, including Yeh-Shen, a Chinese Cinderella retelling for younger audiences. 2004, Simon & Schuster/Atheneum, Ages 10 to 14.
—Norah Piehl
VOYA
Napoli again illustrates her skill in recreating fairy tales in their original context as she did in Beast (Atheneum/S & S, 2000/VOYA October 2000). This novel tells the Cinderella story in a historical China setting, where women bind their feet to appear attractive. Xing Xing is the stepdaughter who waits on her stepmother and stepsister after her father dies. Her stepsister recently began binding her feet and can hardly walk or do anything because of the pain. Xing Xing believes her dead mother's spirit has come back to guide her own life in the form of a beautiful carp that swims in the river next to their home. After Xing Xing is sent to another village to find a medicine man who might give her something for her sister's feet, she gathers courage to break away from her oppressive stepmother. She then finds a note and beautiful garments and shoes from her mother hidden in the house and goes to the celebration in the square, where she meets a Prince. As unflinching as the Grimm brothers, Napoli clearly defines some of the horrors of the time. Xing Xing's stepmother cuts off some of the sister's toes after a raccoon bites them to even them out and make the feet even sexier in the hope of catching a husband. While readers might not pick the book up without some encouragement, Napoli's excellent writing will soon draw them into the story. This Cinderella story is unforgettable. VOYA CODES: 5Q 3P J S (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Will appeal with pushing; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2004, Atheneum/S & S, 192p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Amy Alessio
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-Napoli takes the elements of the traditional Chinese version of "Cinderella" and creates a powerful and moving story. Xing Xing is left to the mercy of her stepmother after the death of her father. Focusing on a good marriage for her own big-footed daughter, the woman binds the poor girl's feet even though she is past the usual age for this painful procedure. Xing Xing's only pleasure is her daily contact with a beautiful white carp in the pond where she draws water. To her, the fish seems to be the spirit of her mother helping her endure her difficult life. When the stepmother kills it, the girl is devastated, but she retrieves the bones from the garbage heap and, in the process of hiding them, discovers a green silk gown and gold slippers that belonged to her mother. Dressed in this rich garb, Xing Xing goes to the festival where she loses one slipper in her effort to escape detection. The slipper is eventually bought by an unconventional prince; when he finally finds its owner, Xing Xing considers her options and decides to marry him. Napoli retains the pattern of the traditional Chinese tale with only a few minor changes: she sets the story in the northern province of Shaanxi during the Ming dynasty rather than in a minority community in southern China. She fleshes out and enriches the story with well-rounded characters and with accurate information about a specific time and place in Chinese history; the result is a dramatic and masterful retelling.-Barbara Scotto, Michael Driscoll School, Brookline, MA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A strong, finely crafted version of Cinderella based mostly on old Chinese tales but with a sprinkling of details from Grimm. Xing Xing lives in a cave with Stepmother and Stepsister during the Ming Dynasty. Stepmother leaves Xing Xing's feet alone, but binds Wei Ping's feet to attract suitors. Fetching water at the pond, Xing Xing meets a uniquely beautiful carp who (she comes to realize) embodies her late mother. A venture out into the world to sell unripe figs and seek a doctor for Wei Ping's infected feet emboldens Xing Xing. When Stepmother sneakily kills the carp, Xing Xing reaches her final point of mental independence. Recognizable Cinderella motifs like honoring parental spirits, Wei Ping's brutally chopped-off toes, and a cave-festival where a golden shoe gets left behind weave easily together with the fleshed-out solidity of Napoli's realism. There seem to be no good options for Xing Xing's future, since she's not only dowry-less but overeducated for a girl; however, the ending has spark, resonance, and a relievingly appealing prince. Deliberate and satisfying. (author's note) (Fiction. YA)
From the Publisher
"A dramatic and masterful retelling." — School Library Journal, starred review

"An adventure and a coming-of-age story that will have readers racing to the finish." — Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Deliberate and satisfying." — Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Strong, unforgettable characters." — Booklist, starred review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781439107195
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 6/20/2008
  • Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 196,048
  • Age range: 12 years
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Donna Jo Napoli is the acclaimed and award-winning author of many novels, both fantasies and contemporary stories. She won the Golden Kite Award for Stones in Water in 1997. Her novel Zel was named an American Bookseller Pick of the Lists, a Publishers Weekly Best Book, a Bulletin Blue Ribbon, and a School Library Journal Best Book, and a number of her novels have been selected as ALA Best Books. She is a professor of linguistics at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, where she lives with her husband. Visit her at DonnaJoNapoli.com.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapte One

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

It was answered: The sun glinted red. Only an instant and it was over, but there could be no doubt; her eyes had not played tricks: A white fish with red fins and golden eyes zipped past and under a lotus leaf. She laughed in delight.

"Lazy One, bring the firewood," came the distant call.

In the past year "Lazy One" had practically become Xing Xing's household name. She imagined her father's wife holding one hand above her eyes against the sun that was so bright today, it had already burned off the morning fog. She imagined her frowning in impatience, then ducking back into the shadows of the cave. The girl picked up the armful of wood she'd gathered and rushed back along the path. Her hair was tied in two hanging knots that thumped on her shoulders as she ran. Hurry, they drummed, hurry hurry. The cold dirt licked at her feet. Hurry hurry.

But she was wrong. Stepmother had not gone inside. The woman shivered in the chill of spring, arms crossed over her chest. "Get inside, Lazy One." She yanked one of Xing Xing's hair knots as the girl raced past through the open door.

The air of the main cavern had changed already. While the roof was so thick that the temperature hardly varied from summer to winter, the quality of the air could change drastically. Right now it had grown clammy. Xing Xing knelt and fed tinder to the coals of the dying fire, then sticks, then the wood she'd just brought in. The door squeaked shut behind her. Stepmother didn't oil the hinges on purpose because the noise scared away demons. Xing Xing got to her feet and turned around to find Stepmother standing right there, her hands on her hips, her muscled arms cocked like wings.

"Wood doesn't grow from springs," said Stepmother.

Xing Xing knew this was Stepmother's way of asking why she'd come from the direction of the pond rather than the woods. She'd seen the beautiful pool fish twice now -- yesterday afternoon and again this morning. It was her secret. Stubbornness entered her. She looked in Stepmother's eyes without blinking.

"But water does." Stepmother hobbled over and picked up the water bucket and carrying pole. She hobbled back and put one in each of Xing Xing's hands. "Are you waiting for grass to grow under your feet?"

Xing Xing ran out the door again, leaving it open. She rushed through the buzz of the bees they kept in the hive on the side of their cave. Rush rush, buzz buzz.

"My daughter will wake soon," called Stepmother after her. "And hunger hurts."

Xing Xing returned to the pond, only too happily. She filled the bucket, then walked around the edge, looking. The thought of Stepmother's daughter waking and complaining of hunger quickened her pace.

It wasn't that her half sister would be truly hungry, not like the old beggar men who wandered the village, hands outstretched, and slept at night under the raised floor of the public pavilion. Rather, her half sister's stomach would simply have emptied of the meal she ate last night. But she felt so poorly these days that Xing Xing didn't want to allow even that small amount of extra discomfort. Besides, her complaints could result in a smack on the head for Xing Xing.

Xing Xing was practically running now.

The fish didn't show itself.
rd

Well, of course not. Secrets could never be rushed. They had to come of their own accord, on their own schedule. That way, when they came, they offered themselves as a gift.

Xing Xing leaned over the water, extending her right cheek till she could feel the wetness that hovered in the air close to the pond's surface. "Later," she sang. Then she stood and turned in a circle, lifting her chin so both her cheeks could brush the dry air. This was her way of caressing the spirit of her mother so that she could feel close by. She balanced the bucket on one end of the pole and put the other end over her shoulder, then walked home without spilling a drop.

Copyright © 2004 by Donna Jo Napoli
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 67 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(31)

4 Star

(21)

3 Star

(8)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 67 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 26, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    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. <BR/><BR/>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. <BR/><BR/>The story is told in the classic tale of Cinderella, with the wicked step-family and the prince trying to find the girl who the missing shoe fits. There is even a great mix of Chinese culture thrown in! I learned a lot about the old (and now mostly) unused tradition of binding a girl's feet. <BR/><BR/>I enjoyed BOUND because I really love the Cinderella story. Xing Xing becomes a character that you want to see succeed and a girl whom you want to find a suitable husband. You care what happens to her and want to know how she survives her mean stepmother.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 15, 2011

    Fantastic+Book

    This+book+is+a+great+international+chinese+cinderella+story

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2014

    Anonymous

    I read the epilog and it sounds like a sad Cinderella. Is it good?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 31, 2014

    It was ok not that crazy about the ending though

    It was ok not that crazy about the ending though

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2014

    Bound                                                          

    Bound                                                                 Simon Pulse, 2004,169 pages, $5.99
    Donna Jo Napoli                                           ISBN: 978-0-689-86178-9 or 0-689-86178-8
        Fourteen-year-old Xing Xing lives in ancient China and her life is literally &quot;bound&quot;. Bound by the old traditions of China where she must become the servant of her stepmother after her father's death. Bound to never find a husband because she has no parents to arrange her a suitable marriage. Xing Xing spends her days being a slave girl to her half-sister Wei Ping who is also bound, but in a different way. Wei Ping has her feet cruelly bound to make them small, a tradition in China, that symbolizes wealth. Xing Xing however does not complain about her role in the family and secretly feeds her passion of and gift of poetry and calligraphy. She secretly dreams of a different life of freedom, a life that seems so far away, that is until the village has its annual festival, a big celebration in which Xing Xing's stepmother hopes to find a husband for Wei Ping. Things are going to change however and greed in the end might threaten all that Xing Xing has built up for herself.
     
    I would recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction and who likes to get in with the story. This story is good for anyone to learn about the Chinese traditions or who just want a good book to read to pass time. The book Bound is very good and I would recommend this to all my friends.
     
    Aditya Kumar
    7th Grade
    Lawson Middle School
    Cupertino, CA

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2013

    Simple, but still wonderful

    Me, personally, I love fairy tales, even though I'm probably considered too old for them. I heard about this book from friends, and at the words "Chinese Cinderella(as my friend had referred to it)" I practically jumped. I love reading the different versions. The outcome was pretty predictable, but had a bit more elements, and was a bit different than the original. Still, I enjoyed it nonetheless, and i truly reccommend it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2013

    So so....

    Well sometimes it grabs me and other parts make me wany to fall asleep

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2013

    Good

    So far im on the part ehen she puts her dress back on

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2013

    Bound is a well ploted chinderella

    Bonund is a well ploted chinderella.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2012

    Average

    I wouldnt read this book again. It was ok but i basically had to force myself to finish it. Not a must read and it was very plain and simple.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2012

    Awesome book

    Love this book

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2012

    A wonderful story!!!!

    This was a beautiful story!!!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 28, 2012

    Short, sweet book

    Rather simple Cinderella story line but kept me entertained. Some supernatural elements that were a bit hard to believe but good insight into Chinese culture. Would have been better if the year of the story had been put into context.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2012

    Fantastic

    Must read!!!!! Very good mixed cinderella story

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  • Posted December 27, 2011

    Fairy Tale retelling. Recommend

    This is a very interesting true to life Cinderella story. It is a story of kindness, perseverance and self protection.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011

    Bound

    The story is really good. It reminded me of the cinderella story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2011

    Greatly recommended.

    In the book Bound, Xing Xing is forced to live with her dreaded step mother because of the death of her parents. Living in Ancient China where girls are valued less than animals, Xing Xing is faced with the callenge of taking care of her sister; who is going through the painful prcess in which her feet are bound. As Xing Xing struggles to find her importance in life, Donana Napoli does a great job writing this historical fiction. She makes you get attached to the characters and uses great deatial to make you feel like you are there. I would suggest this book to kids above the age of 9 because of some intense topics.

    By: Brenna N.

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  • Posted February 22, 2011

    Read it

    I found it to be a fun book to read one afternoon and I reall

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  • Posted December 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Recommended

    The book, Bound, retells the Cinderella story in a unique way from the perspective of a Chinese girl named Xing Xing, who's mother and father died when she was young and was left to live with her father's second wife and the wife's daughter. I felt this book was worth reading because the story inspires you to not give up on your dreams and to work hard at it. The story takes place in China and the reader will learn a lot about Chinese culture and traditions. One of their traditions was to bind the feet of young girls to keep them smaller because small feet were considered beautiful and a woman with small feet would have a better chance of getting married. Xing Xing's stepsister, Wei Ping, had her feet bound and it was Xing Xing's job to care for her feet. Her stepmother worked hard to insure that Wei Ping would get a husband but did nothing for Xing Xing. Xing Xing had to do all the work around the house and even though Xing Xing has a hard life, and is not given a lot of opportunities, she still stays positive and makes the most of what she does have for a better future. The story contains many Cinderella moments such as the prince and the shoe, which fits the girl, and the mean stepmother. I would recommend this book because Xing Xing provides a good example of someone who learns to stand up for herself and gains confidence.

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  • Posted July 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Smart

    Bound is definitely a good retelling of Cinderella. Its about a little chinese girl (Xing Xing -pronounced Sing Sing) is an basically an orphan, except for her stepmother... Not exactly evil, but totally rude. Not only do they make her clean, cook, and care for them, but they also make her feel bad about herself. They tell her shes not pretty, that no one will ever marry her and things like that. Her stepmother even calls her "Lazy One". Bound is Smart!

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 67 Customer Reviews

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