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Sold | [Patricia McCormick]

Sold

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

"Hard-hitting...poignant. The author beautifully balances the harshness of brothel life with the poignant relationships among its residents." (Publishers Weekly Starred Review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (706 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Deborah Ham Lake, MN, United States 08-25-13
    Deborah Ham Lake, MN, United States 08-25-13
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    "Interesting"

    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.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jessica SANDYVILLE, WV, United States 08-04-13
    jessica SANDYVILLE, WV, United States 08-04-13

    Super picky but in love with reading!!! I simply love good storytelling!

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    ""Utterly Beautiful""

    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!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pamela Dale Foster Sykesville, MD 06-23-13
    Pamela Dale Foster Sykesville, MD 06-23-13 Member Since 2011

    I listen to and have recently started to write reviews. I've found the reviews have helped me to select books.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Struggle Against Inhumanity"
    If you could sum up Sold in three words, what would they be?

    Injustice-Fear-Hope

    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.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    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.


    What about Justine Eyre’s performance did you like?

    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.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    matthew 03-30-13
    matthew 03-30-13 Member Since 2014

    I am an English teacher in China and can now read and write some Chinese.I have been to 13 countries on 4 continents.I am an avid audiophile

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    "A shocking tale of deceit"

    I am only half way through the book,but the first person narrative with an authentic Indian accent seems more truth than fiction.In Asia there are many rural places still where people lead a hand to mouth existence.The star of this book wanted to do everything to help here family.She was duped by her step-father.Something that must happen often in a country like Nepal,but could happen anywhere in developing country.The narrator does a wonderful job of portraying the likely innocence of so many young Asian girls that are dazzled by the city and its fast pace and promise of comfort.You are made to realize that slavery didn't die.It still goes on in many countries and girls are the ones that suffer the worst.I have a better understanding of the so-called modern world and what it has done to exploit those who don't fully grasp the world around them yet.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Noel United States 02-03-13
    Noel United States 02-03-13
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    "Heartbreakingly Sad..."

    'Sold' is such a profoundly sad story, and it is intentionally written that way. There just isn't any way to paint a picture of children being sold as sex slaves in a light and cheery way. Of course it is a novel. At least it is advertised that way. However, it would be easier to accept this story as a work of fiction if the reality of the subject wasn't being repeated THOUSANDS of times every single day across planet Earth.

    The story is told in a first person perspective. Lakshmi, a naive and trusting Nepalese mountain girl is told that she is going to go to 'The City' to work as a maid. It isn't until an old man is on top of her that she learns the truth. What follows is just a soul crushingly depressing story of murder of a sorts, as Lakshmi's innocence and childhood are killed in no uncertain terms.

    It is difficult for a writer to create a fictional character that is human enough to be cared about, worried over, and loved. Yet all great writers are capable of doing it. However, most of those stories are long and epic tales developing a rich history. The length of 'Sold' prevents a detailed backstory, but none is needed. From the opening sentence, Lakshmi becomes the child of any parent and you just want to hold her and protect her. Yet it is her that grabs you and drags you into a world that most of the civilized people of this world are busy pretending doesn't exist.

    This book is definitely worth getting.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    N. Proctor North Carolina 01-26-13
    N. Proctor North Carolina 01-26-13 Member Since 2010

    Retired Life is great

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    "Haunting Sex Trade novel"
    If you could sum up Sold in three words, what would they be?

    Betrayal of Innocense


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The internal dialogue about trusting anyone - the white man with the white card.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes


    Any additional comments?

    Although I've read nonfiction on human trafficking and viewed documentaries, this book told in first person through the eyes and heart of a 12 year girl had a greater impact.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara C Houston Durham, NC United States 01-10-13
    Barbara C Houston Durham, NC United States 01-10-13 Member Since 2015
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    "So Powerful!"

    Such a small book to hold so much emotional truth: fear, horror, despair, hope. The language is simple and straightforward as the story of a 13 year old Nepali girl, sold into sexual slavery unfolds. The world described is ugly, but it is the nascent hope that I carry with me.

    Definitely recommended for readers of all ages.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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