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Only 13: The True Story of Lon
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Only 13: The True Story of Lon

3.19  ·  Rating details ·  232 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Lon's story is a bestseller in Thailand and within its genre worldwide, with translations in French, German, Swedish, Finnish and Russian, with Thai and Vietnamese translations on the way.

“My mother knows only two things: old men want to sleep with me,and she wants money.”
“I tried to kill myself twice, to see my father in heaven,to tell him he could stop looking f
Published January 31st 2013 by MPH Group Publishing (first published January 1st 2006)
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Average rating 3.19  · 
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Jul 28, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a very hard review to write due to my conflicting feelings about this book.

I'm giving it 2 stars ONLY due to the horrible writing involved. The topic of this book is very interesting and deserves to be not only exposed but explored deeper, I only wish someone with writing talents had written it. Someone was obviously not paying attention to her style of writing, every other sentence (and most were fragments) had an exclamation point, that got old very quickly. She also repeated and repea
Benjamin Stahl
At the risk of sounding chauvinistic, and offending every disadvantaged female that has fallen victim to the disgusting, seedy underbelly of man's nature ... What a fucking sop-story!!!
That's all this book is. And I'm not saying I commend the shit that goes on in Thailand, or the worldwide sex-trade in general.
I agree that it's terrible, and I would even go so far as to saying that I believe females are more capable, more intelligent, more moralistic, then most men are.
But for having said all
Jun 23, 2013 rated it did not like it
Repetitive, almost as if she's constantly singing her own praises. Poor writing, annoying lines like constantly reminding you on how gorgeous , young and petite Lon was. Doesn't even deserve a star, was annoyed throughout the whole book. ...more
Jen Bieck
A really scary book to read especially after living in Thailand. It's easy to turn a blind eye to the prostitution in thailand because it is so ugly to look at day after day--this book really painted a very real picture about how and why women from Isaan end up as bar-girls, and how desperately they will need societies help with their mental health issues after their career has ended. It also paints a picture of the cultural/family importance & connections that clearly most westerners do not and ...more
This book was given to me to read as i went on holiday to Thailand ... very very sad. Everywhere in Thailand i saw young beautiful girls with old men .. This is a gripping read to give you a bit of background about the lives of the girls and that everything is not just about smiles .. Thailand is so poor and i can understand why some girls have to do this.
Enzo Pollifroni
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
good read, amazing story, just can't believe what this girl went through and how she ended up.

i picked this book up at Bangkok Airport a few years ago, finally read it.
May 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
This is such a honest and heart breaking true story. Tell the story of this young girl that see only prostitution is the only way to survive and to gain back her family love. Born in the worst poverty condition making their culture worshiping money over everything. She's too young to explore and taking the responsibility on her own with nobody to guide and direct her to 'right' direction.

This is one true example how our experience, surrounding and culture make who we are. She do everything for m
Danial Tanvir
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this book told me a lot about thailand.
i actually bought it from a book shop in pattaya,thailand.
i read it in 3 to 4 days and i liked it,
it is actually about a 13 years old girl living in a village in the north of thailand and about how she lives in misery and in poverty.
she tries to run away to bangkok and her father is very loving,her brothers are allowed to study but she is treated badly because she is a girl.
she is then sent away to other cities in thailand such as bangkok and pattaya where
Sabrina Rutter
When I first started reading this book I thought that it was only going to be another book full of statistics on human trafficking. I was getting a little disappointed as I had thought I was going to read a personal story about someone in the sex trade in Thailand. I'm so glad that I kept reading!
At the beginning of the book Boontah a village girl from Isaan in Thailand tells a little about her childhood and then she explains the economics of her country allowing us to better understand why som
Josie Crimp
Sep 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thailand, biography
At times it's a very frustrating read, but this is one of the better and more honest books I've read about the sex trade in Thailand. I found myself getting upset with Lon at times in the later part of that book, but that in itself suggests that she's been up-front about her decisions and actions. It did help me to understand how difficult it can be to leave prostitution - whilst it's a job that leads you to have no self-value whatsoever, if it's the way you've made money it's also the way you'v ...more
Diana Võru
The book is about a darker and not so beautiful side of Thailand.

Definitely an eye-opener and an interesting topic to read. Also realised how much your life is written for you depending on just which part of the world you were born in.

Not a pretty story but a true and a very tragic story of a young Thai girl who becomes a prostitute. The book writes about the reasons of why Thai women and girls take such a path in their life.

Not the biggest fan of the writing style and I believe that such a s
Dulguun Battulga
Her life is the victim of a poor countries. She didn’t have a chance to study and play like a child. Poor countries’s population divided into a rich and a poor. Mostly average layers reduced than other good economic country. Thats why families have not enough salary to live and survive. Maybe only chance is teenagers become a machine of money for the families. A scary thing is government and parents know that and to allow...
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The title of the book was made me read it. I am giving 2 stars. Maybe, I was expected too much from this book. Lon's story have represented thousand of girls. Poor girl born in just wrong place. It was difficult to read because all this things happened in real life. Lon's mother blamed her for her father's death which pushed her to live sorrowful life. ...more
Lu Cy
Sep 06, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The name should be "deluded mind of a prostitute" no offence. But from the ay its written, since most of the book is by the character, it doest add up, amd i thought lon was a victim of sex trafficing,instead she chose prostitution by choice. Many comes from poor. Anyone in the right mind would agree. Kuat bullshit to market this book. Waste of time. ...more
Franziska Leitner
Honestly i don't want to give this books any stars because i don't think it's my right to judge a true story it feels not okay. But i think it is a good book that gives behind the scenes in thailand and it's important to listen to people who tell their story. ...more
Jan 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing book,which demonstrates the missery of a rural life in Thailand and the sexual exposion of teens in the country. This is definitely a must read.
Oct 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
From the beginning until the ending of the story, my hatred feeling to her family only increased and never decreased. I can’t believe there is such family exists in the world. The mother just asking money from her continuously and doesn’t bother about her daughter’s involvement in prostitution. What she only cares is the money and she asking more and more from her daughter. When one of the daughters decided to further her studies, she disagreed with the idea because she hopes to get more money i ...more
Stephanie Cheng
Oct 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I do not agree to the decisions that Lon made, it made me understand the rationale behind her actions. While she is criticized for inflicting upon herself the hardship especially when she was in England because her loyalty has always been with her family no matter how much they exploited her, we should still learn to respect her loyalty for her family. If we were to blame, I'd blame her family members instead who did not appreciate her. She wanted to provide her sister with education, how ...more
Georgiana Chelmu
Nice book, easy to read and very well anchored in today’s reality. A good insight into Thai culture and values.
At first, I didn’t know how to feel about this book. It gave me contradictory feelings of compassion and revulsion at the same time. I always disliked prostitutes as I always thought there is another choice. You always had and you will always have another choice. But this girl, so young, so afflicted and she’s only 13. What do you know when you are 13 and have nothing? Neither material
Jun 16, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sex, history, travel
I picked up this book during a trip to Pattaya. So, the writing is terrible. Just acknowledge that and move on. The writing is that of an uneducated person speaking in another language. It reads as an account told verbally, and parts of it are very repetitive. Look past that. The story is important. While we all know the sex trade exists and is prevalent in Thailand, Lon offers us a view into the lives of women who choose that lifestyle, why they do, and why they stay. You have to wonder a bit a ...more
Yuvarani Yuva
Nov 23, 2014 rated it liked it
A touching and heart-wrecking story. The pain of a 13-year old being forced into prostitution by poverty and society norm of discrimination towards female can be immensely felt. The sacrifice Lon had to make to feed her mother's greed and to keep her sisters from having same fate as hers is something to look up to. A worthy read to learn the journey of Lon.
However, this book could have been made better. The read was easy and repetitive. The author should have spent more time in elaborating the s
Patricia Doty
Apr 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An easy read but very sad story of an all too common occurrence in Thailand. This honest portrayal of the sex-tourist industry gives the reader an insight to not only what these young girls endure but also an understanding of the conditions under which they live giving them no other alternative for survival. I came away with a whole array of emotions and empathy for the plight of Lon and the thousands of other young girls who find themselves in her same situation.
Nov 27, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My sister picked this book up at the Phukett airport on our way home from our trip to Thailand. I was only able to read about half of it before I returned home. It is an autobiography of a young Thai girl who runs away at the age of 13 from her poor rural upbringing and becomes a child prostitute. Very disturbing and sad!
Mar 22, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-adults
Deeply disturbing and a story that needs to be told. That being said I think the writing was horrific. Although I was very interested in the story, I almost couldn't finish reading the book. I wish someone else had written Lon's story, so more people would hear it.
Although the writing is terrible, I would still recommend reading this book. It's a real eye opener.
Louise Marie
Dec 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am so glad that i read this book. I too picked it up on the way home from Phuket after going every year for 7 years prior for holidays and it was only until I read this book did I knowledge the issue, I knew it was there but ignored it. Yes it can read very poorly at times especially towards the end but that's the truth, she ended up messed up and the end of the book showed that. ...more
Aug 01, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This was another sad story about the plight of young girls (and boys) in Thailand. They are horribly abused and the sex slave trade continues to thrive. This book was not as well written as the India story (Behind Beautiful Forevers)but both shed light on a global problem.
Mar 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Moving story of a young girl who was forced into prostitution. Learning the things she had to go through made me sick most of the time but I personally feel the writer could have done a better job in putting her words. This would have been just another book if not for its heart-wrenching story.
Sep 27, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
To get an idea of how terrible this book is I would suggest reading the May 18, 2013 review by Benjamin Stahl. He described exactly what I wanted to say, but I would not have been able to word it quite as well as he.

I thought this look was amazing. I shows the inside of Thailand the rich and poor parts. Also tells about what happens to most of the girls in the poorer parts of Thailand. I also loved the photo they added showing her changing over time. Over all a truly breath taking book.
Goh Jiayin
A story being told by a lady whose love for family exceeds everything else, including her own happiness. Every one of us has a story and hers is about events that lead to her being a prostitute and its aftermath. I guess now we know some of the reasons on why they opt for this field.
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