Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sold by Patricia McCormick

Most days, 13-year-old Lakshmi spent time helping her mother carry water, grow vegetables, patch their leaky roof and try to keep their heads up despite crushing poverty. It doesn't help that her step-father takes any money they make and gambles it away. And then, after a particularly bad losing streak, he sells her.

She thinks that she's going to the city to work for her maid, like her best friend did not long ago. After a four-day journey from Nepal and into India, terrified but tough Lakshmi finds herself in a house of prostitution.

This is the story of her heart-rending journey, from simple country girl to brothel captive.

With rich descriptions (she calls the brothel keeper, better fed than any person Lakshmi had ever seen, "the mango woman" for her round face) by a naif plunged into a completely foreign world, the book captures the fear of a child sold into sexual slavery.

Students have recommended this one to me and I've always wanted to read it. Contrasts the natural beauty of Lakshmi's home and the harsh, strange world of brothel life with sensitivity.

Bibliothereapeutic value: Although Lakshmi is pitted against cruel strangers and a world that completely devalues women and girls, she maintains her pride and self-respect. This is a ripped-from-the-headlines tale that fully personalizes the serious, real-life problem of human trafficking.

McCormick, Patricia. Sold. New York, Hyperion, 2006.

ISBN: 0786851716. $15.99.

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