Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Book Review: Sold by Patricia McCormick {Non-Fiction November}

Book: Sold

Author: Patricia McCormick

Pages: 227

Publisher: Walker Books

Read On: Paperback

How Long it Took Me To Read: 2 days

Plot Summary: Thirteen-year-old Lakshmi lives with her family in a small hut on a mountain in Nepal. Though they are desperately poor, Lakshmi’s life is full of simple pleasures: playing hopscotch with her best friend, looking after her black-and-white speckled goat, having her mother brush her hair by the light of an oil lamp. But when Lakshmi’s family lose all that remains of their crops in a monsoon, her stepfather says she must leave home and take a job in the city. Lakshmi undertakes the long journey to India full of hope for her new life, proud to be able to earn, daring to hope that she will make enough money to make her mother proud too. Then she learns the unthinkable truth: for 10,000 rupees she has been sold into prostitution.

General Thoughts: I am trying to read as much non-fiction as I can manage in the month of November for Non-fiction November. I am mostly and largely a fiction reader and lover. But there is always room to read more varied books.

This book in particular I've wanted to read for a long time, ever since I first heard of it in 2014 I think, but for some reason I had a hard time getting my hands on it. I finally spotted it in Kitab Khana on Saturday and I had to get it. I started reading it pretty much immediately.

Things I Liked: 

1. The writing was absolutely beautiful and such a delight to read. The best part was that this lyrical and poignant writing style made this book seem very unlike usual non-fiction reads.

2. This book is so important. We need to know more and learn more about this growing epidemic of sex trafficking and sexual slavery that effects so many girls and women. It is high time the world woke up to the exploitation and human rights violations these girls endure and we need to help in any which way we can. The first step to help and make a difference is to understand and learn as much as we can about the situation these girls find themselves in. The best way to learn and fully grasp these situations is to know of their lives. To see their misfortunes. I absolutely loved learning more and immersing myself in this world- as difficult and painful as it was.

3. I loved that this book showed so much of Lakshmi's life before she enters the murky world of sex trade. We see her life in her little village and it's people and the rhythm of her daily life. This makes you connect with Lakshmi from the very beginning and you get to know her and dreams and aspirations very well. We get to meet her mother, a woman working so hard to make ends meet and provide for her daughter and baby son. This makes us get to know Lakshmi's life inside out.

4. Apart from getting us to connect with Lakshmi, this detailed delve into her backstory explains plainly how your life goes from normal  to terrifying in a matter of moments. It makes its amply clear how poverty, drought and illness make people vulnerable to making poor decisions.

5. I loved Lakshmi, she is such a wonderful character, full of heart and hope and little dreams. Her simple hill life and her aspirations for the future will break your heart. You desperately want her to escape her hellish life in the brothel and make it back to her Ama and her baby brother.

6. The life in the brothel is told with unflinching honesty, yet it isn't graphic. It will move you, shock you and leave you numb (especially as a woman) but it paints a clear picture of the life of the women living and working there.

7. This book had me from the word go, I was hooked and pulled into this world from the first page. I couldn't put it down. It is an engaging and intense in parts and gripping.

8. The women in the brothel- Monica, Pushpa, Anita and the horrible, cruel and abusive Mumtaz are all so well etched out and we also get to know some of their back stories and get a glimpse into their lives. I really liked getting these additional stories.

9. I also loved and really appreciated that there were some light moments and some camaraderie shown between the women at the brothel. Life, even as it's hardest can come with little respites and some laughs. It doesn't reduce the suffering considerably but life is always a mixed bag, even in hellish circumstances life throws you some joy now and again.

10. The ending did take me by surprise, I was expecting a few more pages and a proper and neat closer but there wasn't there. I will admit for a moment it did bum me out a little. But once I finished the book I realised that it was perhaps the best kind of ending for a book like this. It leaves certain things to your own interpretation and imagination and I for one, imagine Lakshmi living a happy life. Normally, I am not one for open ended books, but this one I think it makes sense.

Rating: 5/5

I cannot recommend this book enough! It was a fantastic, insightful and heart-breaking and eye opening read. So good! Read it NOW!

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