Author: Patricia McCormick
First Edition: 2006
Genre: Realistic fiction
“If your husband asks you to wash his feet, you must do as he says, then put a bit of water in your mouth.”
“I ask Ama why. “Why,” I say, “must women suffer so?”
“This is had always been our fate,” she says.
“Simply to endure,” she says,” is to triumph.”–SOLD
In Nepal, in a small rural village made of mud huts and rice fields, thirteen-year-olds Lakshmi has a mother who loves her, a teacher who believes in her, and a stepfather who gambles. When the Himalayan monsoons destroy the family’s crops, Lakshimi’s stepfather sells Lakshimi to a woman who smells of amber and night flowers. Lakshimi will work as a maid in the city–a job that will pay for a tin roof and rice for her family. Glad to help, Lakshimi follow the woman from village to village until she is sold to a brothel in India, where she has to work to pay her debt.
This is a beautifully crafted story written in free verse.
When the readers meet the village, Lakshimi, and her family, each verse contains powerful and uplifting emotions, which take you into the world of a girl who dare to dream of a better life.
Each verse brings to life, with poetic sadness and childish hope, the cruelty and the inevitability of a patriarchal society where women are subordinated to men in every aspect of life. Yet, Lakshimi’s life is simple and complete, ruled by traditions she understands and accepts.
But, when Lakshimi is sold to the brothel, the verses become poisonous fangs—like the fangs of a nasty snake, the verses suddenly cut your skin and bite into your tender heart making your muscles stiff and your lungs dry.
The brothel life is horrifying and difficult to read.
They crush my bones with their weight.
They split me open.
Then they disappear.”
Not only men but, but also, and especially, women are cruel and unable to fight their fate and the fate of their daughters.
Women sell their daughters to brothels, where girls, as young as six, are given to men who pay big money for a “pure one.”
Women drugs girls and offer them to men.
Women punish girls with sticks smeared with chilies paste.
Women do this to girls and to other women because in the society in which they live a woman is like a breathing object that can be used, sold, abused, and resold until death.
This is a novel loaded with the customs and traditions of Nepal–traditions that will give you acute urticaria.
The novel tells brutal truths that every single person needs to hear.
YES, traditions and customs are important and should be preserved.
BUT, banishing a girl to a” menstrual hut” during her period to let her die in freezing conditions and poor hygiene, or selling a girl, like an animal, in a brothel are acts that cannot be justified as cultural traditions or as fate.
“ Each year, nearly 12,000 Nepali girls are sold by their families, intentionally or unwittingly into the life of sexual slavery in the brothels of India. These young girls have experienced…unspeakable horrors. But they are speaking out—with great dignity…
It is in their honor that this book was written.” SOLD
Ink n Paper.