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

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Sold by Patricia McCormick X
Sold by Patricia McCormick
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Sep 2006, 272 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2008, 272 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team
Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

SOLD

I'm wiping the makeup off my face when the dark-skinned
girl comes in.
"What do you think you're doing?" she says.

"I'm going home."

Her tear-shaped eyes grow dark.

"There is a mistake," I tell her. "I'm here to work as a maid for
a rich lady."

"Is that what you were told?"

Then Mumtaz arrives at the door, huffing, her mango face
pink with anger.

"What do you think you're doing?" she says.

"Leaving," I say. "I'm going home."

Mumtaz laughs. "Home?" she says. "And how would you get
there?"

I don't know.

"Do you know the way home?" she says.
"Do you have money for the train?
Do you speak the language here?
Do you even have any idea where you are?"

My heart is pounding like the drumming of a monsoon rain,
and my shoulders are shaking as if I had a great chill.

"You ignorant hill girl," she says.
"You don't know anything. Do you?"

I wrap my arms around myself and grip with all my might.
But the trembling will not stop.

"Well, then," Mumtaz says, pulling her record book out from
her waistcloth.
"Let me explain it to you."

"You belong to me," she says. "And I paid a pretty sum for
you, too."
She opens to a page in her book and points to the notation
for 10,000 rupees.

"You will take men to your room," she says. "And do whatever
they ask of you. You will work here, like the other girls, until
your debt is paid off."

My head is spinning now, but I see only one thing: the number
in her book. It warps and blurs, then fractures into bits that
swim before my eyes. I fight back tears and find my voice.

"But Auntie Bimla said -- "

"Your 'auntie,' " she scoffs, "works for me."

I understand it all now.

I blink back the tears in my eyes. I ball my hands into fists.
I will not do this dirty business. I will wait until dark and
escape from Mumtaz and her Happiness House.

"Shahanna!" Mumtaz snaps her fingers and the dark-skinned
girl hands her a pair of scissors.

This Shahanna leans close and whispers to me, "It will go
easier on you if you hold still."

There is a slicing sound, and a clump of my hair falls to the
floor. I cry out and try to break free, but Shahanna has hold
of me.

Mumtaz draws back, the jaw of the scissors poised at my
neck.
"Hold still," she says, her teeth clenched. "Or I'll slice your
throat."

I look at Shahanna. Her eyes are wide with fear.

I stay very still, looking at the girl in the silver glass. Soon
she has the shorn head of a disgraced woman and a face
of stone.

"Try to escape with that head of hair," Mumtaz says, "and
they'll bring you right back here."

And then they are gone, leaving me alone in the locked-in
room.

I pound on the door.
I howl like an animal.
I pray.
I pace the room.
I kick the door.

But I do not cry.


THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS

Each day, a thousand people pass below my window.
Children on their way to school. Mothers hurrying home
from the market. Rickshaw pullers, vegetable sellers, street
sweepers and alms-seekers.

Not one looks up.

Each morning and evening Mumtaz comes, beats me with
a leather strap, and locks the door behind her.

And each night, I dream that Ama and I are sitting outside
our hut, looking down the mountain at the festival lights,
and she is twining my hair into long dark braids.


WHAT'S LEFT

Tonight when Mumtaz comes to my room, she sees that
her strap has left raw sores on my back and neck, my arms

  • 1
  • 2

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

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Kinship of Secrets
    The Kinship of Secrets
    by Eugenia Kim
    Of our 20 First Impressions readers who submitted reviews for The Kinship of Secrets, all rated it ...
  • Book Jacket: Empire of Sand
    Empire of Sand
    by Tasha Suri
    Tasha Suri's debut novel, Empire of Sand, reads like something out of 1001 Arabian Nights, both ...
  • Book Jacket: In Byron's Wake
    In Byron's Wake
    by Miranda Seymour
    It's tempting to think that our age of celebrity worship coupled with the 24-hour news cycle is ...
  • Book Jacket: The Latecomers
    The Latecomers
    by Helen Klein Ross
    The Latecomers is the third novel written by acclaimed author Helen Klein Ross, following What Was ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Force of Nature
by Jane Harper

As atmospheric, tense, and explosive as her New York Times bestselling debut, The Dry!

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Golden Child
    by Claire Adam

    A deeply affecting debut novel set in Trinidad, following the lives of a family as they navigate impossible choices.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win To Lay To Rest Our Ghosts

To Lay to Rest Our Ghosts

"Caitlin Hamilton Summie is our modern Chekhov."
- Savvy Verse & Wit

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Everything I H-D

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.