Friday, August 06, 2010



by Patricia McCormick

A book about a girl tricked into leaving her parents and sold into human slavery in the sex trade is, as you might imagine, not a topic for the young or faint of heart. This definitely belongs in the teen range with its content, though I do think an older child, say a grade 6 with some sophisticated reading habits, could handle it, because while Lakshmi is in a horrific situation, the writing of it is handled gently.

The story is told slowly, so that the circumstances that led to her mother allowing her to leave the home become clear, and the mother is not painted as someone who has easily abandoned her child to the mercy of others. The manipulations used by the various traders along the way are revealed, so the reader can see how people are tricked by them. Lakshmi's introduction into the sex trade, even, is handled carefully, never using shock value or graphic description, but couching it more in the language of the child the Lakshmi is, since she is telling her own story here.

This is a worthwhile read for an older child or a teen who can handle it, who is interested in what is happening in the wider world, because this is very real, but of course, it is a topic that makes this book one to recommend carefully to the right child. for all that I picked it up worried that I would be horrified, I was pleased to find that McCormick has managed admirably the tricky balance of cushioning the brutality and horror without downplaying the truth of what happens to girls in this situation.

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