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)
"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one." - Jojen Reed. #ADanceWithDragons
This book is just plain haunting... I got through this book in one sitting... This is undoubtedly going to be one of my favorite books. The book is sad, honest, raw and beautiful at the same time. It becomes one of those books that you do not want to finish because it is so good but find yourself incapable of actually stopping.
While going through the book you have the decision of either steeling yourself or to completely immerse yourself. The book surrounds Lakshmi, a 13 year old girl who goes through just goes through heartbreaking situations. The entire scope of the book lasts just one year but the tragic circumstances that she endured is more than one needs to endure for a lifetime. The writing was haunting in nature and taken from the vantage point as Lakshmi herself makes it even more heart-wrenching. You see as she moves from a hopeful, naive girl to a seemingly broken shell of her former self and then to a downright fighter. The book is gripping throughout and plays heavily on your morality and sense of humanity.
The narration, for me, was superb. The way that the narrator was able to bring across the entire story in such a haunting manner is impressive. She only adds to the mood of the book and leaves you utterly gripped to the novel. 5 Star Narration through and through here.
I can find a book to love in any genre -- a beautifully written classic, an interesting mystery or sci-fi, a trashy romance. Bring it!
STORY (fiction) - This is a chilling story of human trafficking which needs to be heard. It is sad, but it's beautifully written and performed. As the summary suggests, Lakshmi's parents are tricked and she is sold into prostitution at the age of 13. The book is short (3:44). It begins with perhaps an hour of her poor-but-happy life in Nepal before she is sold, then there's a trip to India where she is passed around to different bidders. The largest part of the book is her life in the brothel. It is a poignant story of how she is able to survive a life of unspeakable evil.
The story is sad but absolutely stunning. At the conclusion, the narrator spends about a minute talking about the staggering number of young girls sold into prostitution every day all over the world and what is being done to help them. I'm very glad I listened to this book.
PERFORMANCE - Beautiful. She has the perfect voice for an innocent young woman who is trying to be brave and strong. Her accent is refreshingly different, whether it's authentic Nepalese or not.
OVERALL - Mature audiences only, and I'd think this story would appeal more to women than men. There is no cursing, but there is a lot of cruel treatment. The sexual scenes are not at all graphic -- just references to things like unzipping pants, grunting, etc. I thank the author for being tastefully vague!
Armchair traveler and Audible Editor w/ penchant for literary, lyrical & lighthearted listens. And alliteration.
This is a heartbreaking novel of a thirteen-year-old Nepalese girl, tricked and sold into a brothel in the slums of Calcutta by her gambling-addicted step-father. The free-verse writing style is brought to life in audio; Justine Eyre’s narration is lyrical and pitch-perfect, an intimate glance inside young Lakshmi’s sad world. At times I wanted to stop listening, but found that I just couldn't. This is an emotional, all-encompassing story, and although it's fiction, it really left me thinking about what so many young girls suffer through. A definite tear-jerker.
Married mother of three teenagers, back to work after 15 years at home - when I read a lot. Now I am the assistant to the Mayor of Omaha and work at least 60 hours a week, and on top of what I have to do at home - no more books. This lets me listen to the classics, the latest, whatever I want. I can learn or escape. I have always love audio books, but now I NEED them.
I do not want to destroy the effect of this story on you by giving too much information, but want you to know that it is not a lighthearted tale. The description tells you it will not be fun, but realize that it is real, and the effects are strong. As a mother, it was hard sometimes to listen, but I am glad I did. I am not any kind of activist, nor do I give much thought to human rights around the world, but this gives me pause to consider it more - without telling me I was a bad person for not considering it before now.
Highly suggest this for those strong enough to face harsh truths about this world.
Listen mostly to urban fantasy and suspense/thrillers but also enjoy mysteries, sci-fi, fantasy, romance, adventure, classic, modern, spiritual or general literature. And I always like a bit of romance in any of my stories.
The story was obviously well researched. Although it was written as fiction it could easily be some girl's story in real life. Justine Eyre did a great job of giving the young girl voice bringing to life her story and that of the other girls with her. After listening I went and made a donation to help girls like her. (I went online but I'm sure there are other places).
Short, Simple, No Spoilers
Selling young girls into servitude is a horrific and true nightmare. If there is such a thing, "Sold" is a PG-13 version you can listen to without too many graphic details, although of course the subject is disturbing. The fictional heroine embarks on what she believes to be a new job as a house maid. You can guess what happens next as the shock takes over and she's stepped into a fresh hell.
Simply and plainly told, this story is a solid YA listen and if you're read any of Patricia McCormick's other books, you won't be disappointed with her easy style.
Bought this on sale for $3.95 and well worth the price, but wouldn't want to pay full price of credit.
I decided to read this now, given the headlines about the Nigerian girls who they think could be sold into the sex slave trade. This dealt with a young girl from Nepal, who was sold by her step-father for around $300. She ends up in India, where she is placed into forced prostitution. The cultural references were quite interesting to me, and I would have loved to read more about the Nepal culture. I had also recently finished reading Memoirs of a Geisha, and although that story happened in Japan, I was struck by the similarities: both books refer to the older more powerful women as "Auntie" and both had to work to pay off their debts to the person who bought them. You can't help but relate to the young heroine of this story and how terrified she must have been at age 13 and 14 to go through this horrific experience.
The narration was also good and the accents were well done
Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.
When I hear of or read a book like "Sold", the first thing that goes through my mind is this, "There but for the grace of God, go we." Though this book is fictional and supposedly geared toward a teen audience, it's a book that EVERYONE needs to read/hear. We, as Americans, have gotten so comfortable in our living rooms with our electronic gadgets, in our fancy SUVs and cars, living in a world where our bellies are full and sometimes our spirits are empty. Even when we HEAR about girls like Lakshmi who are sold in order to work and provide money for their families, it's all too easy to push those unpleasant thoughts back out of our tidy little minds. And it's too easy to say, "Oh, we could never do such a thing . . ." This story of 13 year old Lakshmi, whose step father decided she must be sold to provide money for the family, made me once again re-examine my own values, my own pride and status. I was NOT born in Nepal, Praise God for that. My own parents, though far from perfect, didn't have to decide whether or not to sell me. I was not forced into prostitution as a child. I am humbled by these facts,and I KNOW they are not mistakes. We are NOT given gifts to be squandered. We are not shown the truth to cover it back up again. "Sold" is a mighty story of strength and love, of depravity and abuse. Let's not allow this book to go into one ear and out the other.
Books make the world a better place
This is a disturbing subject matter and if you are uncomfortable listening to children being abused, misused and trafficked, or if you don’t want to know about the practices of sex-slavery then this book/audiobook is not for you. That being said, I highly recommend this book. It is an upsetting, unforgettable story and well worth the credit you will spend on it.
The first person narrative is a powerful point of view as it really gives you an insight into Lakshmi’s thoughts and everything she sees and feels. The narrator does as excellent job as well and through her voice I was able to experience Lakshmi’s naivety, her confusion, her horror and hopelessness as Lakshmi’s fading memories of her mother and village are replaced with the torment of customers and the abhorrent sexual services she must provide for them. The author writes well as her style flows and her words are poetic. She uses metaphors and similes to reference the life of Lakshmi, placing the reader/listener into Lakshmi’s shoes and into the world of India and Nepal.
We are first introduced to Lakshmi, a poor 13 year old girl, who is living an impoverished life in a small Nepalese village. It is through her innocent, unworldly eyes that her story unfolds. Life in Lakshmi’s village is hard but she is content. She loves to go to school but ever since her father’s death life has gotten harder. She, her mother and her brother reside with her step-father in his hut and although her mother tells Lakshmi that they are lucky to have a man in the house, Lakshmi’s stepfather is of no help. He neither works nor supports them. Instead he passes his time at the teashops where he gambles and sinks them deeper into debt. Lakshmi longingly explains that the Nepali families who have fathers that work well and don’t gamble, have a tin roof for their house.
Although a child herself, Lakshmi worries and she has many responsibilities. She performs daily chores and she must also labor alongside her mother in the field. The work is grueling but her family’s existence depends upon a good return and her participation is the only way their rice-paddy will get planted and harvested. Lakshmi and her mother daydream about the money they will receive from the harvest but in a cruel twist of fate a disastrous rainfall washes away their crop and forever alters Lakshmi’s life. She is told she will have to go to the city and like her friend Gita, she will have to earn money by working as a maid in a ‘rich woman’s home’.
Lakshmi thinks she is on her way to helping her family as she happily envisions a tin roof for her mother and brother. She is ready to go to the city but this does not happen. Lakshmi is sold into prostitution by her step-father. He sells her for 800 rupees to a woman who leads her to the city where she exchanges hands until she is finally given to a man whom she refers to as Uncle Husband. Uncle Husband brings her to India where he sells her to Mumtaz. Mumtaz is the vile mistress and pimp who runs ‘Happiness House’. It is in this brothel house that Lakshmi is imprisoned, beaten, punished, drugged, raped and continually forced into having sex with any and all customers who choose her. Her worst nightmares are realized as her days are filled with unbearable abuse and cruelty. She eventually befriends some of the girls and Pushpa’s son teaches her how to read and write English. Lakshmi experiences a few moments of happiness but for her, hope is fading...until a complete stranger pays her a visit.
This American asks her many questions but she is afraid to answer. He offers her a life away from the brother but she refuses to respond. He leaves without demanding sex and Lakshmi realizes he is different. She yearns to leave Happiness House but Lakshmi is scared to take a chance on the American because it is rumored that they are even worse than Mumtaz and because she has been fooled too many times before. It will take a lot of courage and a leap of faith for Lakshmi to break free from the chains that bind her. Will she do it or will she succumb to the life she was forced into? Of course it is dangerous and any escape will be complicated, especially when the authorities and police are on Mumtaz’s pay roll.
The author’s final note is chilling, making the reader/listener aware that Lakshmi’s story is not so far from the truth: "Each year, nearly 12,000 Nepali girls are sold by their families, intentionally or unwittingly, into a life of sexual slavery in the brothels of India. Worldwide, the U.S. State Department estimates that nearly half a million children are trafficked into the sex trade annually.”
I read a lot but seldom review a book because for the most part they are just entertainment,
A thing you pick up for a few hours and forget in a couple of days. You will not forget this book. If you think this tale could only happen in a foreign country you are wrong. Human trafficking is happing in our country. It is not on the scale you would find in a third world country but it exist. I wish I could honestly say I have always spoken up when I saw a wrong committed. I only know that going forward I will try harder.
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