Rebecca struggles for freedom. She wants to get rid of her burned skin--a constant reminder of how freakish she looks. She remembers her first "so-called cosmetic surgery... At age eleven-and-half. Yes, sir. Cosmetic. Because nobody ever died from looking hideous." (p. 13)
And she wants to get rid of her time-consuming and emotionally-draining responsibility for Joy. Rebecca, not their father, is the one who makes sure Joy gets to work. Rebecca is the younger sister who sticks up for her big sister when Joy is called a "retard." Their father, Rebecca concludes, is his own god.
One evening Joy urges Rebecca to come folk-dancing with her.
"I'll hold your hand," Joy says. "I'll never leave you."
That's what I'm afraid of sometimes. I don't want us to be like a binary star system--circling each other forever. (p. 6)Rebecca wants desperately to go to medical school so she can return to India and help impoverished children. Hand in hand with this desire is her yearning to fling off the burden of always watching over Joy.
Rebecca helps Joy become more independent which relieves her of some of the responsibility she inherited after their mother's death. But as a result, Joy spends more and more time with a man from work and gets pregnant. Although Joy feels letdown by her boyfriend who wants no part of being a father, she quickly becomes attached to her unborn child. Rebecca sees the baby as one more obstacle to her leaving home for medical school and takes Joy to an abortion clinic.
At the abortion clinic Rebecca removes the ultrasound gel from Joy's belly and remembers her burn treatment.
They soaked me in a warm tub and my dead skin would peel off. What didn't come off had to be scrubbed off. They'd hold me down and rub away the stinking flesh. The nurses always said they knew I didn't have inhalation injuries because of my strong lungs. I wonder how I survived as I scrape the paper towel over Joy's beautiful belly one last time. She doesn't realize how lucky she is the pregnancy is not permanent. She can return to her normal life after this crisis is over. I have not been so fortunate. The massive burns have changed me and my life forever. I'm not even the same person I used to be. (p. 94)
Joy rejects abortion--much to Rebecca's and their father's disapproval. But gradually, Rebecca changes her mind as the unborn child becomes more real to the family. The three return to India to visit a beloved grandmother. In the familiar country of her birth, Rebecca thinks about why her mother put her up for adoption. After she considers the possible scenarios she concludes, "Whatever the cause she didn't want me. But at least she didn't deny me my life." (p. 165)
The dichotomy between Rebecca's high intelligence but deformed body, and Joy's simplistic thinking yet voluptuous body runs throughout the book. An additional thread is the mystery of the events surrounding Rebecca's accident. The reader discovers bits and pieces of what happened when Rebecca was 11--but the true story is not revealed until close to the end.
This beautifully written story shows a realistic portrayal of a young adult facing many personal, family, cultural, and moral dilemmas. The satisfactory ending--including the father's change of heart and accepting responsibility for Joy's future--will leave the reader feeling hopeful for Rebecca, Joy and her baby, and their family.
In our present socio-political climate, I applaud Vijaya Bodach for her brave pro-life position. I hope Bound will be a meaningful tool that counselors will use with young women experiencing an unwanted pregnancy.
Next week I'm interviewing Vijaya about the backstory to Bound. Leave a comment this week and I'll enter your name once. Leave me another one next week and you'll be in twice. Winner will be chosen on February 8th. Please leave me your email address if you are new to my blog.
A very intriguing review of BOUND, Carol. You make me want to purchase a copy and read it cover to cover.
Thanks for this great review, Carol. And Vijaya, this is an amazing story and I can't wait to read it! Kudos to you for taking on some difficult subjects.
This sounds like a book to be read, savored and perhaps shared in a book club. And yes, very appropriate for teens who are facing unplanned pregnancies.
Thanks for sharing.
"To be honest I thought, is all that drama necessary in one novel?" I'm laughing so hard. You should see my historical...
Carol, thank you for this wonderful review: three for three want to read it!!! Sandra, Linda, and Connie, Enjoy! And I really hope book clubs pick it up. I look forward to shoptalk later.
I've read Vijaya's book and thought you did an excellent job with your review, Carol. I agree with your comment--"This beautifully written story shows a realistic portrayal of a young adult facing many personal, family, cultural, and moral dilemmas."--and highly recommend the book.
thanks Linda, Evelyn, Connie, and Sandra. Evelyn if you want to be in the giveaway you need to leave me your email address. Glad you enjoyed this excellent book also.
This sounds like a very interesting and thought provoking read.
It really is, Donna! Thanks for stopping by. I'll enter your name in the giveaway.
I loved this book, too. Thank you for this well articulated review.
Thank you, Mirka. It's nice to hear from you!
This sounds like an important book.
Wow. This sounds like a very hard book to read, but an important one. Thanks for telling me about it. I will pass on the drawing since I won so recently.
Add my name to the list of those who want to read this book! Thank you Vijaya for a book that will challenge the reader.
Gretchen and Theresa- This is an important book and I'll add your names to the giveaway list.
This book sounds quite interesting. Would love a copy to read and then put in our church library! email@example.com
Thanks, Kathy. That's a great idea. You're in!
This sounds amazing! I'm already attached to the characters I met in the excerpts!
--Sarah8778 at aol dot com
This sounds like a powerful story.
Ev and Mirka, thank you for stopping by and sharing your love of the book.
Donna, Theresa, Gretchen, Kathy, Sarah, and GrannyJo, thank you for your interest. Carol really knows how to whet the appetite.
Thanks Sarah and Jo. This is a book you don't want to miss.
It sounds like a read that will keep your attention.
Unbelievable woven plot through cultural, societal and family issues. This sounds like a great read.
Thanks Jan and Deborah, for leaving comments. It is a great read!
This sounds like a wonderful, stirring sort of read! Can't wait to pick it up! My email is firstname.lastname@example.org, I'd love to be entered in the giveaway :)
A YA book that tackles serious contemporary issues, demonstrates empathy for those experiencing emotional and physical distress and family crises, and encourages young people to persevere, confront difficulties, and find grace to heal. This book fills a need for realistic stories that don't sugar coat problems but encourage hope, forgiveness, and reconciliation.
Yes, indeed Deborah!
Oh, this looks like an interesting book! I'd like to be entered. My email is keturahskorner(at)gmail(dot)com
Keturah @ keturahskorner.blogspot.com
Thank you all so much for the lovely comments Jan, Deborah A, Cadence, Deborah D. and Keturah--my hope is for you to forget your own lives for a few hours and then carry Joy and Rebecca in your hearts, pondering their questions. Have a great weekend!
Thanks Keturah. You're in!
I am so heartened by the responses, I'm going to print out these comments so that I can look at them whenever the writing is tough. Thank you!
Thanks for this review! the story sounds very dramatic but, life is so much like that at times, right? I am sure the characters and their personal struggles will be encouraging for many readers of any age as they seek answers like those characters in , Bound.
Thanks, Diane. Yes--life often is very dramatic!
Looking forward to reading this! Wonderful review of Bound, Vijaya. :)
Thanks, Vicki. Make sure you leave your email address in case you win!
Thank you Vicki!
Who was the lucky winner?
I added two more posts, Kathy, on Vijaya's journey (check them out!) so I'm packing a winner on Thursday. Your name is on the list!
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