Lakshmi is a thirteen-year-old girl who lives with her family in a small hut on a mountain in Nepal. Though she is desperately poor, her life is full of simple pleasures, like playing hopscotch with her best friend from school, and having her mother brush her hair by the light of an oil lamp. But when the harsh Himalayan monsoons wash away all that remains of the family's crops, Lakshmi's stepfather says she must leave home and take a job to support her family. He introduces her to a glamorous stranger who tells her she will find her a job as a maid in the city. Glad to be able to help, Lakshmi journeys to India and arrives at "Happiness House" full of hope. But she soon learns the unthinkable truth: she has been sold into prostitution. An old woman named Mumtaz rules the brothel with cruelty and cunning. She tells Lakshmi that she is trapped there until she can pay off her family's debt-then cheats Lakshmi of her meager earnings so that she can never leave. Lakshmi's life becomes a nightmare from which she cannot escape. Still, she lives by her mother's words-Simply to endure is to triumph-and gradually, she forms friendships with the other girls that enable her to survive in this terrifying new world. Then the day comes when she must make a decision-will she risk everything for a chance to reclaim her life? Written in spare and evocative vignettes, this powerful novel renders a world that is as unimaginable as it is real, and a girl who not only survives but triumphs.
- Paperback | 263 pages
- 137 x 206 x 18mm | 318g
- 06 Jul 2011
- New York, United States
"Readers can't help but be moved by Lakshmi's fate."
About Patricia McCormick
To research Sold, Patricia McCormick traveled to India and Nepal where she interviewed the women of Calcutta's red-light district and girls who have been rescued from the sex trade. She is also the author of the acclaimed novels Cut and My Brother's Keeper.
Our customer reviews
SOLD tells the story of Lakshmi, who lives in a tiny mountain village in Nepal. She lives in a hut with her stepfather, mother, and baby brother. Poverty is all Lakshmi knows. She speaks of swallowing her spit and pretending it is soup, tightening her waistcloth to fool her belly into thinking it's full, and thickening her stew with dirt. Lakshmi dreams of going to the city like some girls and working for a rich family to send money back to her own relatives on the mountain. One day her stepfather returns home with a woman he says Lakshmi should call Auntie. He has made a deal for Auntie to take Lakshmi down the mountain to work. It seems her dream has come true, and her journey begins. Traveling down the Nepalese mountain and across the border into India is at once both exciting and frightening. Lakshmi, whose mountain life has been nothing but poverty and hard work, marvels at the sights and sounds of city life. Trains, buses, cars, and trucks amaze her. There are crowds of people and shops as far as the eye can see. Lakshmi arrives at her destination. She is told she will be working for a woman she is to call Auntie Mumtaz. Prepared to work hard and earn her keep, Lakshmi is shocked to discover what her real duties will be. She is thrust into the arms of an old man with onion breath. He kisses her and begins to demand the unthinkable. Terrified, Lakshmi runs. Auntie Mumtaz orders her capture and locks her in a room. After days of starvation, beatings, and cruel treatment, Lakshmi realizes she will need to cooperate to survive. Patricia McCormick uses a blunt and direct narrative style to present Lakshmi's horrific experiences. The story is heartbreaking, yet uplifting, as Lakshmi shows courage and determination to maintain her identity and survive her ordeal. Readers will hold Lakshmi in their thoughts long after finishing her story.show moreby TeensReadToo