Well worth the read; a tremendously moving novel.

While it’s heartbreaking, Sold is one of those books everyone should read. It’s the type of story that wakes you up to the shit that happens to people in this world.

This is the story of a little 13-year-old girl from Nepal, named Lakshmi, and what happens to her after her family is tricked into selling her into a prostitution ring from India. It’s not a nice story. It’s horrible. But it’s also compelling.

Technically, it’s told in short vignettes. Very short. Some chapters are only a sentence long. So it reads quickly. And unlike Punch Line – which is also told in vignettes – Sold really holds together as a single coherent story. There’s an overarching narrative – as wretched as it is – and the author, Patricia McCormick, sends you with Lakshmi to watch as she comes to understand the life she’s been led into: from thinking she’s merely going to the city work as a maid, being taken to another country altogether and losing any hope of being able to find her village again, and finally coming to the brothel where she’s essentially made to sleep with men against her will to keep the madam in expensive clothes.

The Madam, Mumtaz, is reprehensible. I picture her as Ursula from The Little Mermaid, only this isn’t Disney and the horrible things she does are not mere cartoon violence. And it’s made all the more disheartening because, even if Mumtaz might eventually gets her comeuppance, you just know there are thousands of others just like her ready to make their lives on the backs of others.

After all, this book is based on true stories. While it’s not one person’s life, the author did go to Calcutta to speak with sex workers and women who have been rescued form the sex industry. As a result, the book is wonderfully well-written. It’s just under 300 pages, but it reads like a breeze. and yet it’s so lush. It’s like poetry in a way – the language is so evocative of not only sights and sounds, but the emotion that Lakshmi is feeling. Her fear and her suffering.

I wanted to read this book because it’s tied to the work I do. The organization I work for has had some experience in trying to stop human trafficking in Nepal at the Indian border. But despite the fact that I’ve heard descriptions of these horrors before, it’s never hit me exactly what these girls must endure. This book makes it clear, and in all it’s horrid truth.

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4 responses »

  1. margotinto says:

    Well, you've convinced me. I'm going to do a search and see if I can get it thru the Miss. library system.

  2. Lex says:

    Great write-up/review on a book that's … well… challenging! I'll get it on the <a href="http://minibookexpo.unsweetened.ca&quot; rel="tag">minibookexpo</a> page asap. Though I guess now I'll have to write up that one I read too.

  3. Wow, I’ll add it to my to-read list. Interesting that it relates to your work and puts it into perspective for you. How did you come to hear about it?

    • RoC(k)r says:

      Oh….did that come up as a recently published post? I actually wrote that review back when my blog was on Vox! I just revised it a bit this week because when WordPress imported it from Vox the image didn’t look right.

      Still – it’s a good book and worth reading. Put it on your list. I don’t think I have a physical copy anymore or I would have loaned it to you.

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