Faith's Reviews > The Blue Notebook

The Blue Notebook by James Levine
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Aug 19, 09

Read in May, 2009

If a book can tear your heart out, then The Blue Notebook by James Levine M.D. is the book to do it. How can such a heartbreaking story be so beautiful?

This is the story of Batuk, a fifteen year old girl sold into sexual slavery at age nine. Batuk writes in the blue notebook between customers and tells us of her life. Her writing also reveals her own imagination, resillisance, wisdom and naivety. Batuk is an astute observer of others and we get to see some of what her world is like. Knowing nothing else,

she places no judgement on it, as this reader was inclined to do. Batuk is not the prostitue with the heart of gold or the jaded street hooker as often depicted in American fiction. She is a complex human being, obviously knowing more about sex the the average girl her age, but in other ways sheltered from the world outside. She is jaded to a certain amount of violence and resigned to her profession, but at the same time she hopes for a better life.

Batuk is such a charming girl and has such an interesting view of things, you'll want to keep reading. There are parts of this story where it is possible to forget the horror of Batuk's life. She still has the naivety and innocence of any other girl her age. Levine does a wonderful job of making her speak in very real voice. A few of her musings seem a bit more educated than expected, however, it's not impossible that her limited learning and her experiences would lead her to those thoughts.

Levine doesn't let the reader forget the dismal life Batuk lives for very long. Unfortunately, her profession does not attract 'Prince Charming' types. Readers get to see some of the worst people. We also get to see how sometimes abuse it perpetuated by the abused. The Blue Notebook is a look at one of those things we'd rather not think about and an eye opener to anyone who believes that all prostitutes choose their profession.

This is not a book for anyone who is struggling with the after effects of abuse. For others, I heartily recommend The Blue Notebook. It's a book that will stay with you long after you've returned it to the shelf.

From the cover of my advance copy 'All the U.S. proceeds for this novel will be donated to the International and National Centers for Missing and Exploited Children ( http://www.icmec.org.) ' This is another good reason to buy the book.
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