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Book Review: Sold

   Jiya Sapkota - Oct 31 2022

As the book starts, it immediately introduces us to poverty. Lakshmi is a 13 year old girl who has been living with her mother, step father and her little brother. The starting of the book shares about how Lakshmi’s life would’ve been if her step father did not gamble. No matter how much the poverty had stricken them, Lakshmi had always wished to become a bright and a hard working girl. She actually thinks and shares about how she would also like to be Gita, a girl from her village who apparently left to work for a wealthy house in the city, who sends wages to her family for their expenses. But, unlike her step father, her mother loves her dearly and refuses all that and cuts off stepfathers' word and states that she should rather be in the school. The story is actually travelling to a dark phase where we see the downfall of Lakshmi’s family in a massive amount. Apparently, there had been no rainfall for more than a week and when it finally occurred, it washed away almost every crop they had. Then it finally urged the father to actually take a huge step and then send Laskshmi away for work. A normal work which would make her family’s living better, that's what she thought of actually. But in reality, she was sent to a place called “Happiness House”, which Lakshmi later realises it to be a brothel. Her life then becomes a hell she never expected to be, she spends so much time there and finally realises that she can make friends, she eventually makes some friends there. Later in the story we learn that she meets an American towards the end and then he helps Lakshmi to escape and Mumtaz to be arrested.

Critical analysis:
I feel like there is no doubt that this problem revolves around our current society too. I feel like this happens even in the most developed countries, although it might be in a small ratio, but it still exists right? There are a lot of Lakshmi who have been tricked into getting a very fascinating and sophisticated life. There are some hopeless people in the world who are craving to escape hells like these and are continuously cursing and blaming themselves for the situation.

Innocence and not knowing the direction
We all have a brief idea about young girls being tricked. Here the book proves their innocence too. Lakshmi had only a brief idea about working in the city but she didn't see any sort of evil behind it and went with everything anybody else said. She jumped into a different territory where she had a hard time dealing with the language thing and also everything that was new to her. She was asked to call a stranger her husband but she took it innocently and regarded him as an uncle but “uncle husband”. Even after she arrived at the brothel, she had no clue about it being a danger until some point.

This book being about “human trafficking” also gives us a detailed view about the life of people suffering from poverty. We can actually note the fact that everything this book has captured could be an exact same suffering of someone around the world. It is absolutely terrifying. The part where the idea of selling Lakshmi's earrings went from “never” to “maybe tomorrow” made me realise how bad their condition was.

No matter how much Lakshmi’s mother tried her best to not send her daughter far away and swore that she would get education, she had to finally let go of her strong desire and let go Lakshmi too. She was hopeless, she could do nothing because 1, her husband and 2, poverty.

“The difference between a son and a daughter”
There is no doubt that the gender discrimination was created all by human and later had it turn into a harsh situation. Gender discrimination is on its peak in this book. Actually we could see it from the beginning though, where the two had to work but the stepfather stayed unemployed with an extreme gambling obsession. This particular chapter though makes me rage as Lakshmi shares about the title being the subject of the joke her step father and his friends laugh at. Apart from the book itself, society still regards one gender as a superior one among the others, which is a very toxic trait of society..

Well, including the social problem part, this book also shares one of the most important things: “trust”. Well, it is quite easy to trust someone, gain someone’s trust or ruin someone’s trust. We don't know what comes next but we do trust people who actually are close to us and the people who are introduced by someone close. In this book, Lakshmi trusted the step father so much that she was convinced that he was going to send her off to a city for them to have a luxurious life and she was quite okay with that too, but the reality speaks something else here. Next, auntie bimala also gained her trust and sent her off to an unknown guy who Lakshmi also trusts. Next, the american actually was proved a trustable guy in the end who helps Mumtaz be arrested. So maybe in the end we can get that it is quite risky to trust someone easily but genuine people are to be trusted.

I really love how this book expresses how a small or a “developing” country has its own dark secrets. Although this book is fiction, this book is completely based on what truly happens. So it’s like a book that collectively tries to share about people’s condition living in rural area, poverty, human trafficking and many more. I honestly would like to recommend this book to everyone as this book would really help inform people about the things mentioned in this book. Also, the writing style of this book genuinely seems great and that makes it easier for the reader to read.

Jiya Sapkota
Grade: X, Machapuchare
Deerwalk Sifal School
Author: Patricia McCormick
Published on: 2006 AD
Genre: Realistic Fiction

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