Rated of 5
by Louise Jolly
The innocence with which Lakshmi, a 13-year-old girl, is lead into prostitution is truly heartbreaking. Lakshmi lives with her Ama, stepfather, baby brother and her precious goat, Tali in a small village in Nepal. Her days are filled with chores, caring for her cucumbers, her goat and attending school.
Lakshmi’s friend Gita has gone to a big city to work as a maid and is sending her wages home to her family. They now have lights inside at night while Lakshmi’s home is still studded with darkness. Lakshmi hopes to become a maid for a rich family in the city too so she can send her wages to her Ama to buy all the necessities she needs but has never had.
Soon the Monsoon season hits and washes away all the crops Lakshmi’s family had, so it is now time for her to take a job to help support her family. Lakshmi is excited but also worried whether Krishna, the shepherd boy, who she says has: “...sleepy cat eyes...” will wait for her as she has been promised to him in marriage.
Even ensconced in a house of ill repute far away in India, the innocent Lakshmi still believes she is there to be a maid. The prostitutes decked out in their brightly coloured clothing with make-up and bangle bracelets, Lakshmi wonders if she has landed in a house of movie stars! Lakshmi still doesn’t understand that her stepfather has SOLD her into prostitution to re-pay his debts. The atrocities that are visited upon Lakshmi by the men and her house mother are utterly shameful and disturbing. I’ve never felt such compassion and sorrow for a character as sweet and innocent as , Lakshmi.
The story was told in a series of vignettes which is quite different from other writing styles but suits the story and book well. SOLD will now become part of my permanent collection as it’s the type of story that I’ll read again as I won’t ever forget the innocent Lakshmi. I’d love for Ms. McCormick to pen a sequel to find out what happens to Lakshmi later on in life.