Author- Patricia McCormick
Genre- Literary fiction, YA
Length- 278 pages
Synopsis (Amazon)- 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.
Review- Only after reading this did I realise it is considered YA. At first given the subject matter I was horrified, but actually, it is written in a fairly “tame” way. Provided you have no issue reading about the subject matter, the delivery won’t be a problem. This book isn’t graphic. It is very clear that forced prostitution is going on, it couldn’t be more clear, but there isn’t really a lot of description about it. Instead, how the main character feels about it all is the focus.
This is a very quick read, the structure means you can read big chunks without even really realising. The “chapters” are often only about a page long, sometimes shorter, even the paragraphs are very short. The writing is also very simplistic, making it very easy to follow.
The story is fairly straightforward but it is generally well done. The ending is a little abrupt but otherwise, I have no real complaints.
An adult isn’t likely to learn anything new in terms of facts from this book, but it may be a good way to teach teenagers about the topic.