Annette Gonzalez's Reviews > Sold

Sold by Patricia McCormick
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Sep 20, 11

Read in December, 2009

I thought about what makes this book personal for me and I find that nothing that I have experienced in my own life directly correlated with the story of Lakshmi, a girl sold into slavery and prostitution at a very young age. However, you read about such a character and you can look at your own life and be reminded that some of your daily problems are nowhere near as dire and heartbreaking as what many have had to endure. In my teaching experiences I have had the wonderful opportunity to work with very large Indian-American population in our school community. These children come from a socio-economic group where they would never be assaulted by such dire circumstances. One student in particular, has spoken to me about returning after college to her ancestoral land of India to fight for women's rights. She and I both read this title at the same time, and while we both experienced differing levels of insight we were both moved by this heartwrenching story.

Lakshmi, is growing up in a very poor village in the Nepalese Himalayas. At the onset we realize that she is somewhat carefree, innocent and daydreaming of a better future for herself and family. Her mother works very hard to scrape by a living but her stepfather has gambled away what little money they have left. When a monsoon wipes out their crops, the stepfather makes a deal to sell Lakshmi into prostitution, telling her she will go to the city to work as a maid for a well-to-do family. It is then and there that we go on this downward spiral with Lakshmi as she realizes her dream of going to the big city will become an ultimate nightmare. Patricia McCormick tells the story in first person narrative and we, the readers, experience the emotional whirlwind that is now become Lakshmi's life. The story is written in free verse and the chapters are short and to the point. Yet, McCormick's writing style is always poignant and never preachy. As the reader, you begin to feel the helplessness of the situation as you read the descriptive and graphic language explaining our protagonist's situation. Yet, never does our author make any of the harshest scenes seem gratuitous. I applaud that remarkable use of imagery. There is near the end a glimmer of hope that belies what readers fear and that is for every one girl like Lakshmi that may find some chance at redemption there are so many others who will not. The depth of detail and characterization are very true to life and provide a very sad expose on the lives of these young girls. Patricia McCormick spent much time in India researching this book and we learn that though the names have changed the characters in the book are based on real persons.



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