Release Date: September 2006
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Source & Format: Library; Kindle e-book
Sum It Up
Lakshmi is an innocent and joyful thirteen-year-old girl. She lives with her family in a small hut on a mountain in Nepal. Even though her family is poor, she is able to find joy in simple pleasures. When a devastating monsoon washes away all that remains of her family's crops, her stepfather tells her that she must take a job to support her family... never mind that he is drinking and gambling away what little they have.
She's introduced to a glamorous stranger who tells her that she'll find her a job as a maid in the city. Sad to leave her family but glad she'll be able to help, Lakshmi travels to India and arrives at the "Happiness House." Hopeful and eager, she is soon faced with a harsh and bitter reality: she has been sold into prostitution.
Trapped in a nightmare she cannot escape, she lives by her mother's words, "Simply to endure is to triumph." As she forms friendships and contemplates her bleak future, she is faced with a huge decision - can she risk everything for a chance to reclaim her life?
By Its Cover: Simple & Eye-Catching
I love the bright yellow cover with the simple faded design. It's an eye-catching cover, and the image of the young girl wrapped in a head scarf hints at what's inside. I just love that the girl looks delicate and yet strong - that very much defines Lakshmi. The small, one-word title says everything necessary about what you're about to read.
Amen, Sister Friend: She's a Survivor
I absolutely loved Lakshmi - her point of view, her sweet and simple joy, her despair and her strength of character. She may be a fictional character, but she represents numerous real girls who are enduring this unspeakable tragedy every day. Reading it from her perspective made the story feel all that more real. It came alive, and I felt so connected to her journey. More than anything, Lakshmi made my heart break. To read about the loss of her innocence made me want to crawl inside the book, wrap my arms around her and take her somewhere safe.
Word Nerd: Lyrical & Poetic
The book isn't really divided in to chapters - it's more like vignettes. Lakshmi recounts short snippets from her life, and each one is only about a page or two. The brevity of each vignette, combined with the writing, gave this book a lyrical quality. Because it's written in free verse, this book was incredibly poetic. It was a much quicker read than I expected, but I was totally wrapped up in Lakshmi's world.
This book deals with a pretty important issue in a sensitive way. I wondered how the prostitution would be handled, and I was really impressed with the way McCormick included it. I'll let you read it for yourself, but I guarantee you that you'll have tears in your eyes and feel your heart breaking if you consider that this is still happening in the world today.
Extra, Extra: Baby Goat
I've never wanted to own a goat until I read this book. In the very beginning of the book, while Lakshmi was still in her village, I was a little bit in love with her pet goat. Read the book, and you'll see why!
Extra, Extra: Research
It was very evident that author Patricia McCormick had done her research. Before writing Sold, she traveled to Nepal and India to interview families who sell their children - some intentionally, some unwittingly - and children who have been sold. More than 400,000 children are currently in bondage, and 12,000 Nepali girls are sold by their families every year. McCormick's research on the subject informs the story, which is what makes the book feel so real.
"Inside the bundle Ama packed for me are: my bowl, my hairbrush, the notebook my teacher gave me for being the number one girl in school, and my bedroll. Inside my head I carry: my baby goat, my baby brother, my ama's face, our family's future. My bundle is light. My burden is heavy."
"Trying to remember, I have learned, is like trying to clutch a handful of fog. Trying to forget, like trying to hold back the monsoon."
Bottom Line: Devoured It In One Sitting
The story's realism, combined with its stunning storytelling, had me glued to the page. Even though I knew each turn would bring more heartbreak, I was absolutely enraptured. I highly recommend this book - it will get inside your head and your heart.