by Patricia McCormick

Lakshmi is a thirteen-year-old girl who lives with her family in a small hut in the mountains of Nepal.

Her family is desperately poor, but her life is full of simple pleasures, like raising her black-and-white speckled goat, 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 familys crops, Lakshmis stepfather says she must leave home and take a job to support her family.

She tells Lakshmi that she is trapped there until she can pay off her familys debt then cheats Lakshmi of her meager earnings so that she can never leave.

Lakshmis life becomes a nightmare from which she cannot escape.

Still, she lives by her mothers 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.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Young Adult
  • Rating: 4.21
  • Pages: 268
  • Publish Date: September 15th 2006 by Hyperion Books for Children
  • Isbn10: 0786851716
  • Isbn13: 9780786851713

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Beautifully-written with much heartache for these young girls who are sold into prostitution by their families. Sometimes they are sold because of extreme poverty and all money must be spent on the Males of the family. Eventually the heroine, if she can be called that, does escape to an American mission. There they would be educated and from then on their families would be free of the poverty and culture that sold girls like the saying, .....

Other days I see a girl growing old before her time. In order to compensate for the family's crippling loss, Lakshmi's stepfather - who likens little girls to goats, "Good as long as she gives you milk and butter..but not worth crying over when it's time to make stew" - decides to sell Lakshmi away to a Calcutta brothel for the paltry sum of four hundred dollars. Early in the novel, Lakshmi's Ama gives her this warning: "it is a woman's fate to suffer (and) simply to endure is to triumph." Told through a series of spare, free-verse vignettes, Lakshim's story is devastating, and yet somehow she endures, which - considering the myriad horrors she experiences - is most definitely a triumph.

Young Adult book .... Lakshmi is a young Nepalese girl. Lakshmi tells the story....( with a sweet softness that breaks our hearts). *By focusing on one single girl made this story very personal.... If I were going to introduce this book to a young - pre-teen- I would not just hand over the book .....Id read it with them ....allowing time for discussion.

A book about that would be fascinating.

TRIGGER WARNING: It is best for people particularly sensitive toward the subject of sexual abuse/child molestation to avoid reading any further. Juana Inez de la Cruz When beautiful things are broken, screams begin. When beautiful things are taken, horror begins. There is only a place a million miles away melting in the darkness, seeming like home, but you know it isnt. Trying to forget, like trying to hold back the monsoon" When I was thirteen, I read a book called Princess: A True Story Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia. Most of the people you will meet will tell you that they sympathize with womens fate, that they are appalled and that they wish it was different. I feel too much like a voyeur, someone who gets let in on something extremely personal, yet, someone who is merely a spectator. It feels wrong to get to know so intimately someones greatest pain and at the same time to stay passive, to not be able to even say to those you are reading or hearing about Im sorry. I squeeze my eyes closed tight, for fear that I will see what has actually happened to me." "Somehow, I am outside myself, marveling at this pain, a thing so formidable it has color and shape. Would I suddenly find an unsuspected, latent strength in myself, would I transform into a brave, courageous woman, would I in the end be stronger for it, would it make me see my life and myself differently or I would I get out of it broken and unrecognizable, barely resembling human, dead on the inside, defeated and hurt beyond repair? I was deeply touched by the way Lakshmi bore herself through the whole thing. Women are not weak. And it is up to those that have power over them whether they will turn that gentleness into weakness, by taking advantage of it, by abusing and crushing it for pleasure and for profit or see the beauty in it, the strength that comes with it, the miracle that can be a woman who is loved, respected and protected. Women might be physically more vulnerable than men, but they can be as fierce lovers and protectors as any man, they feel the responsibilities bestowed on them as keenly and take them equally seriously. When all you are left with is a bruised, abused, broken thing, merely a shell of a person, how does that make you strong? There is no beauty in broken minds. A strong person is not the one who uses his strength to conquer, but one who shares it. A strong person is not the one who uses his strengths to dominate, but who can see the strengths in others weaknesses and bring them to life. I am ending this review by quoting my friend Jeffrey who says in his fantastic review of Finding Nouf She let me see the longing in the eyes peering from behind the veils.

Lakshmi might be a fictional character but she is the voice of countless victims and this is a book well worth reading.

But then when the author mentions the fact that the girls watched The Bold and the Beautiful on tv every day, and the American who came to the brothel brought a digital camera, you realize that the time frame for the story is present day. The Author's Note at the end really brought to light the very real and current problem of sex trafficking in the world today.

She graduated from Rosemont College in 1978, followed by an M.S. from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 1986 and an M.F.A. from New School University in 1999.