Excerpt from Sold by Patricia McCormick, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Sold
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  • Hardcover: Sep 2006,
    272 pages.
    Paperback: Apr 2008,
    272 pages.

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Print Excerpt

her strap has left raw sores on my back and neck, my arms
and legs.

So she hits me on the soles of my feet.


HUNGER

Tonight when Mumtaz comes and unlocks the door, she sees
there is no part of me unmarked by her strap.

"Now will you agree to be with men?"

I shake my head.

And so she says that she will starve me until I submit.

What she does not realize is that I already know hunger.

I know how your stomach gnaws on itself searching for
something to fill it.
I know how your insides keep moving, unwilling to believe
they're empty.

I also know how to swallow your spit and pretend that it is
soup.
How to close your nose to the scent of another family's
supper fire.
And how to tie your waistcloth so tight that, at least for a
few hours, you can fool your belly into thinking it's full.

Mumtaz, with her doughy waist and fat mango face,
doesn't know the match she's met in me.


WHAT I DON'T DO

I don't pay attention to cries of the peanut vendor under my
window.

I don't let myself smell the onions frying in the kitchen
below,
or pay heed to the chatter of the girls as they head past my
door to the midday meal.

I don't listen for the footsteps of the street boy who brings
afternoon tea in a wire caddy.

I don't permit myself to smell the aroma of the bowl of curried
rice that Mumtaz passes under my nose, or take notice of the
churning of my stomach.

Even in my sleep, I don't allow myself to dream of even a
single roti.


AFTER FIVE DAYS

After five days of no food and water I don't even dream.

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Excerpted from Sold by Patricia McCormick, pages 105-111. Copyright (c) 2006, Patricia McCormick. Reproduces with permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

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