Wednesday, March 14, 2007



Description: (from Booklist)Lakshmi, 13, knows nothing about the world beyond her village shack in the Himalayas of Nepal, and when her family loses the little it has in a monsoon, she grabs a chance to work as a maid in the city so she can send money back home. What she doesn't know is that her stepfather has sold her into prostitution. She ends up in a brothel far across the border in the slums of Calcutta, locked up, beaten, starved, drugged, raped, "torn and bleeding," until she submits. In beautiful clear prose and free verse that remains true to the child's viewpoint, first-person, present-tense vignettes fill in Lakshmi's story. The brutality and cruelty are ever present ("I have been beaten here, / locked away, / violated a hundred times / and a hundred times more"), but not sensationalized. An unexpected act of kindness is heartbreaking ("I do not know a word / big enough to hold my sadness"). One haunting chapter brings home the truth of "Two Worlds": the workers love watching The Bold and the Beautiful on TV though in the real world, the world they know, a desperate prostitute may be approached to sell her own child. An unforgettable account of sexual slavery as it exists now.

Review: The subject matter of this book is not to be taken lightly. It is not a light hearted book. To be honest, there wasn't much to it. It was formatted as if it were a journal of experiences. I finished this book in about 2 hours total. It was interesting and sad, but nothing out of the ordinary. The book seems to have been given great reviews and all 15 reviews on were very positive. I think it was good, but perhaps a bit overrated.

Score: 3 out of 5

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