Review: Sold is a book that puts you into perspective. In a world where having hope can be hopeless, the main character, a thirteen year old named Lakshmi holds on to the only things that you can hold onto; promises to herself, and the hope that someday she will be able to change her own fate for the better. Lakshmi is a character who shows us that having hope is as important as fighting back; in the end, they both do the same things; they are truthful, and constant. And when a person is their own constant, they develop a strength unmatched by anything in the natural world.
Lakshmi lives in a very poor village in Nepal. Despite the poverty in which she lives, Lakshmi has her small pleasures, until a monsoon sweeps away her family’s crops. Her stepfather tells her she must take a job to help the family, and he introduces her to a glamorous woman, who is known as Auntie. Auntie offers to take Lakshmi to the city and get her a job as a maid, and Lakshmi, not knowing any better, accepts. Arriving in the city, Lakshmi discovers that she has been sold into prostitution when she is passed off to a man she knows as Uncle Husband, who then sells her to the old woman who runs the brothel. He gets ten thousand for Lakshmi, and leaves her with Mumtaz, the woman who runs the brothel. Mumtaz asks Lakshmi if she is ready to go to work, and Lakshmi answers yes. But when she discovers what she is expected to do, she refuses. Mumtaz is furious. She cuts off Lakshmi’s hair, marking her as a brothel girl. She beats her. She starves her. Eventually, frustrated, Mumtaz drugs her, and sends a man in to be with her. He rapes her. Lakshmi, too depressed and too young to know what to do, does nothing. She discovers that with each man that comes to her room, her debt to Mumtaz grows smaller and smaller. Lakshmi meets a boy she calls the David Beckham boy. He brings her sweets and tea, and eventually, Lakshmi starts to get better. Happier. Never safer, because she can’t feel safe here. But knowing she has friends in this horrible place is an improvement. One day, a man comes to Lakshmi’s room. An American man. He asks her if she wants to leave this place. He tells her he will take her to someplace clean and safe.
If You Like: Free Verse genre, Esperanza Rising, Cut (Patricia McCormick