Sold tells the story of a 13-year-old Nepalese girl named Lakshmi, who lives in the hills of the
Himalayas with her family – that is, until a monsoon destroys the family's crops and thus, income. To help keep his gambling habit alive, Lakshmi's stepfather sells her into prostitution without her knowledge. She is told she is going to be a maid in the city and feels proud to help earn the money needed to buy her family the new tin roof their shack so desperately needs. After a long journey with her traffickers, she ends up alone in a brothel in Calcutta, India.
The story is written in short vignettes that capture Lakshmi's pride which turns to confusion, which turns to fear, which turns to hopelessness as she works as a sex slave to pay off the amount the brothel-keeper purchased her for. But when a chance of escape presents itself, will Lakshmi risk it all to try and reclaim what is left of her childhood, or will she keep welcoming men into her room to try and survive?
Sold isn't just Lakshmi's story – it's the story of millions of children forced into the hell that is human trafficking. McCormick's poignant writing has you feeling for the fictitious Lakshmi and the others trapped in the brothel. Even more profoundly, it makes you feel for all people who's real lives have been directly affected by forced prostitution.
Although this book was written by an American, McCormick's countless hours of research and interviews with girls like Lakshmi add a distinct layer of authenticity to her writing. Not only has this book seen massive amounts of success in the United States as a finalist for the 2006 National Book Award, but it has also been translated into local dialects of Nepali to help raise awareness about human trafficking.
I give this book:
A few months ago I was walking through Target when a face out of the corner of my eye caught my attention. I went over to the young girl with striking dark features and picked her up. "Sold," I read aloud as I ran my fingers across the image of the girl on the book's cover – the girl who had so easily grabbed me. I quickly read the back of the book and immediately put it in my shopping cart, knowing that the story would be just as gripping as the cover somehow felt. It was to my pleasant surprise that this book would later be one of the assigned readings for my Library Materials for Young Adults class.
Tessa Fox is the Early Literacy Librarian at the Kenosha Public Library. After working in the journalism and publishing fields, Tessa decided to dedicate her life to books and public librarianship, and went back to school to get her Master's in Library and Information Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she graduated in December 2016. Tessa has been working in public libraries since 2014. Disclaimer: The views expressed here are mine alone and do not reflect those of my employer.
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