Audie Award Finalist, Package Design, 2014
Lakshmi is a thirteen-year-old girl who lives with her family in a small hut on a mountain in Nepal. Though she is desperately poor, her life is full of simple pleasures, like playing hopscotch with her best friend from school and having her mother brush her hair by the light of an oil lamp. But when the harsh Himalayan monsoons wash away all that remains of the family's crops, Lakshmi's stepfather says she must leave home and take a job to support her family. He introduces her to a glamorous stranger who tells her she will find her a job as a maid in the city. Glad to be able to help, Lakshmi journeys to India and arrives at "Happiness House" full of hope. But she soon learns the unthinkable truth: she has been sold into prostitution.
An old woman named Mumtaz rules the brothel with cruelty and cunning. She tells Lakshmi that she is trapped there until she can pay off her family's debt - then cheats Lakshmi of her meager earnings so that she can never leave. Lakshmi's life becomes a nightmare from which she cannot escape. Still, she lives by her mother's words - simply to endure is to triumph - and gradually, she forms friendships with the other girls that enable her to survive in this terrifying new world. Then the day comes when she must make a decision - will she risk everything for a chance to reclaim her life?
Written in spare and evocative vignettes, this powerful novel renders a world that is as unimaginable as it is real, and a girl who not only survives but triumphs.
©2006 Patricia McCormick (P)2012 Tantor
"Hard-hitting...poignant. The author beautifully balances the harshness of brothel life with the poignant relationships among its residents." (Publishers Weekly Starred Review)
Say something about yourself!
This is a sad but triumphant story about a sad state of affairs all over the world. Little children from desperately poor families selling their daughters and sons into slavery. Maybe they were deceived, maybe they knew full well what was going to happen to their offspring. The end was hopeful but I would have liked a few paragraphs on what happened.
The author was kindly vague about the sex, but sex is the purpose of this practice so it had to be there.
Credit worthy, though the price was perfect.
This is a story about young girls, barely out of puberty who are thrust into a world of sexual and physical abuse by both their handlers and customers. Their parents, desperate for money and often with hopes they are sending their children off into the world often do not know they have been duped and their children are headed into an unspeakable existence. People do evil things in the world all in pursuit of lining their pockets. It's a sad state of affairs where young children are sold into prostitution. I want to shame all of those people out there who have no qualms about supporting the industry of child prostitution.
Probably not. It wasn't a bad book but the story didn't build to an interesting climax. I get that it's an exposition of child prostitution but it ended too abruptly and was too short. Very good description and plays to all 5 senses.
She has an Indian accent so gave life to the little girl telling the story.
No, it would be too disturbing I think.
This is a short (only 3 1/2 hours) powerful story of a frighteningly real horror going on today in Nepal and India. Young girls in the mountains of Nepal are sold by their gullible, desperate parents into what they are told are good jobs as maids in good households in India. What they are really sold into is sexual slavery. They may be sold and resold as they are taken farther and farther into India until they reach a brothel where they are held in captivity and simply used until they sicken and either die or are simply turned out. This story is actually written for young adults, and while it is harsh in its telling of the truth, it's also a story of courage and resiliency and coming of age in a way American children can mostly not imagine.
Ms. Eyre narrates it beautifully, with exactly the right pacing.
I was spellbound, but it was not easy to listen to.
Her realization that she had been sold into a brothel and her sense of hopelessness.
This story is a scary reality and the injustice of it all left me feeling unsettled and angry. I also feel fortunate to be a woman born in the western world allowed freedoms that many woman in other parts of the world do not possess.
If a book has the ability to make a person look deep into their soul, and question if they are doing enough for their brothers and sisters in this world, this book certainly has that potential. For the past two days, I have been mesmerized by the story of this young girl, and what a horrible turn it took at the age of 12. To think that the children of Nepal are being sold and trafficked as human sex slaves in the year 2013 brings me to tears.
This book is just beautiful, the situations described in this book are so authentic, and will grip your heart with each turn of the page. At the end of the book, I found myself holding my breath, scared to breath,as this beautiful young girl finds her voice.
This is a must read for all women.
road show junkie
The story, the words, are far more profound coming through in the voice of the young girl sold into trafficking. Her hopeful start, her selfless thought in leaving her family behind to make things better for them. the horror at the realization of what has happened, the desperation at the hopelessness - and the glimmer of hope at the end. There needs to be a 2nd installment of this gripping story.
Left To Tell by Immaculee Ilibaagiza - a story of the Rwanda Genocide told by the survivor herself.
The idyllic childhood scenes in her little village. The love that passed between her mother & grandmother and the child they obviously adored. It made the situation her step gather sold her into even more frightening.
A book club selection, again not one I might have picked up on my own - but I have been made a better person with wider opened eyes
This book started out a bit slow but it was interesting to learn about another culture. This book was valuable as it brings awareness to the horrors of human trafficking. It is hard to comprehend that this actually goes on in the world. I would have liked to know more of the story, what happens to the heroine after the end of the book, the continuation of her journey.
Super picky but in love with reading!!! I simply love good storytelling!
Short but oh so very sweet! I reccommend this book too anyone! I am super picky in picking books and alot of the books I end up buying I don't finish, but this one was not like that at all! It grabbed my attention from begginning to end! Simply superb!
I listen to and have recently started to write reviews. I've found the reviews have helped me to select books.
THE QUESTIONS CHANGED WHEN I SET MY COMPUTER ASIDE. THEREFORE, MY ANSWERS DO NOT COINCIDE WITH THE QUESTIONS. I USE A LOT OF THOUGHT WHEN ANSWERING SOME OF THESE REVIEWS AND THIS IN ONE OF THEM. THEREFORE, I WILL NOT CHANGE MY ANSWERS TO THE DIFFERENT QUESTIONS NOW PRESENTED TO ME.
The book has increased my interest in the subject matter. I knew that places such as Nepal existed but this book has made those places become real. Learning about Nepal, which is one of hundreds or more, only encourages me to learn more. I am now able to understand why men and women give their lives to helping those in desperate need. I will no longer watch commercials with disbelief of the suffering in other countries and their need for monetary help.
The author, Patricia McCormick, presents information that is interesting and insightful. Her novel is short but powerful. She made it possible for me to see the squalor that the most poor of the poor had to endure. I can see the swagger of the step-father who called himself a man. I can imagine what struggles the women and girls must have felt while trudging up the hill time and time again to bring water back down for cleaning, washing and drinking, only to go back up again because they needed more. My throat constricts when thinking of the drought that plagues Nepal and making their thirst real. I can only imagine how the hunger the family had to endure day to day because there was not enough rain or too much rain, that caused their crops to fail. I can even envision the selfish step-father stealing the cucumbers that Lakshmi had grown in hopes of making money. He stole them to get money to supplement his addiction, gambling. Watching Lakshmi leaving home in hopes of working and being able to send money home to her mother was both wrenching but hopeful. I felt the fear and sorrow that Lakshmi felt when she realized that she was being sold as a sexual slave and never being able to earn any money to send home. She also was aware that she would never see her home again and she was filled with sorrow. I can watch her struggle through the days, trying to survive as best as she knew how. I can see her mingling with the other women and being able to smile now and again. The sorrow in her heart when she knew that her friend's were being turned out into the streets, only to suffer more, made me want to weep. Being unable to trust was an emotion that stung my heart and mind to the core. This made Lakshmi hopeless putting thoughts of suicide running through her mind. Having the American's bring words of possible escape, that immersed her with both hope but also with fear that her life could even be worse, wrenched my mind and made my stomach lurch. The elation that came with her escape and the knowledge that she would survive with dignity did make me cry.
There was nothing wrong about the narrator's performance. Justine Eyre's performance was excellent. She was able to create character's that became real. I could see the face of the disreputable step-father who was no more useful to mankind then the dirt under your feet. The mother, who had to suffer the degradation that was her life, I saw and felt the unfortunate knowledge of what she knew her future would bring nothing but more despair. I could see the face of Lakshmi, when she became angered by the step-father that she knew to be useless. I can see her the day she left her home to go to the city. Her eyes were filled with anticipation of her future and also the future of her mother. She dreamed of sending the money she earned back home so that her family could dig out of the crumbling world of poverty that surrounded them. I can also see the fear, resignation and hope through the most devastating year of her young life living in a brothel as a "whore." The narrator brought the character's to life.
Horror at the way third world countries try to survive is merciless. They accept their hopelessness and try to make it through to another day. Life is not guaranteed to anyone and to have a newborn arrive is painful. Knowing this infant has more of a chance dying than living is their reality. I could continue forever and the words of despair would never stop. These men and women do not know any other reality. I now understand why America sends more money and supplies to these countries. If only I knew that the money and supplies were used to help those most in need and not the greedy becoming richer, I could truly believe in kindness. However, knowing that the leader's of these countries do not care only leaves me distrustful. If I could see our help given to those who need the help, than I would be able to become a believer in our generosity being used for its true purpose. Otherwise, I remain a skeptic.
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