Monday, November 10, 2008

Sold (disturbing, haunting... unforgettable)

Sold by Patricia McCormick is a novel told in free verse about the horrors of the international sex trade. It's also on the Abraham Lincoln Illinois High School Book Award list and the Read for a Lifetime list for this year. It is told from the point of view of Lakshmi, a thirteen year old Nepali girl from the mountains of the Himalayas, who is sold by her stepfather to pay off his gambling debts. She thinks she is going to the "big city"to work as a maid for a wealthy family in order to send money home to support her baby brother and to buy a tin roof for her family's mud hut. In reality, she has been sold to one of several middlemen, who sells her to another middleman, who smuggles her across the border into India and sells her to a brothel in the city of Calcutta. Once she arrives in the brothel, she is locked into a small, dirty room, is drugged into compliance, and is forced to have sex with customer after customer, until she loses the will to struggle. Once she stops resisting, she is allowed to live in the brothel among the other prostitutes, with whom she forges hesitant friendships. She sees much horror (girls contracting AIDS and being thrown out into the streets, girls being brutally punished for resisting, and the futility of trying to pay off their "debts" to the brothel's madame). She also experiences small acts of kindness and, ultimately, is one of the lucky ones (relatively speaking). This book is NOT easy to read (it's a fast read, but its subject matter makes it not an easy one). I read it before bed each night, which may not have been the smartest thing to do, but I feel that it is so important that I bought a copy for myself so that I can loan it to friends and family members. Because of its importance, its free verse style, and its haunting beauty, I'm giving Sold 4 out of 4 Bananas.

5 comments:

Sophmore Staci said...

Yikes. This book seems really hard of a read, as you said, because of the content. Though, if you're mature, like me, of course, it probably wouldn't be too hard to finish. :]
That's terrible. I can even imagine how hard it might have been for that poor girl to sleep at night, knowing all the things she was doing with other people. Very sad...
I've only read one book that had to do with brothels, and that would be Candy. I can't remember the author, but, it's a verrry good book. :]

Mrs. Duell said...

Thanks for your comment, sophomore staci. Let me know if you read it. I think you're right, that it does require a mature reader to handle the subject matter, but I really loved that it was written in a free verse format. It was so simple and beautiful to read and so was a really nice balance to the ugliness of the subject matter.

Sophmore Staci said...

Will do! If I read it, of course. I've been trying so hard to fit all the books I've been meaning to read lately in with my agenda. Like Breaking Dawn, in the Twilight series.. But, right now, I'm reading Carrie. Though, it is a very popular old-ish movie, the book is waaay better. The way that it looks at Carrie's perspective, even as if you are inside her head at times, I love it.
I would think it would be interesting if you reviewed a Stephen King book..
Hint. Hint. :3

Mrs. Duell said...

Hmm, that sounds like a challenge, Sophomore Staci! Do you have a specific Stephen King book you'd like me to review? *Carrie*, or something else?

Sophmore Staci said...

Hm. Well, I just finished reading Carrie. It was amazing, of course. :] Though, on which one would I like to be reviewed by Stephen King..? I have no idea.
I think, since I haven't read any other of his books besides Carrie.. I would be fine with any of them, to be honest. You are the expert here. I'm positive any book you choose to review will be worth the time to read and comment. :]