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Grade Level: 10th and up

Summary: This book is about a girl named Lakshmi who originally lives in Nepal and struggles with poverty. Her mother works while, her step-father gambles away any money they have. He does not work since, he is incapable of it. Lakshmi and her family suffer from hunger on days when they have no money for food or they give any food they have to the baby. Lakshmi wants to help her family finally get a roof for their home and she likes the idea of working as a maid like her friend next door. One day, her step-father explains that she will be working in the city as a maid and will send her earnings to them. She leaves with a strange woman and she ends up at a brothel that is run by a woman named Mumtaz. She has many girls in the house that she imprisons  until, they pay off their debt  and all the girls earnings only come from men.

Themes:

  • All hope is gone when you stop believing in it
  • Admiring the simple beauties of life

Reflection: Patricia McCormick has created a text that shows a young girl who loses everything of value such as, her family, home, and innocence. She gets stripped away of all happiness and motivation to live. She is trapped in a place that no one ever leaves and if they do their families are ashamed of what they have become. Lakshmi could have committed suicide, she could have ended all pain but she chose to push forward. She overcomes the situation she is in and is determined to remember, that she will not live there forever nor will she let it kill her. She will leave alive and stronger than before. Teens reading this book will see a young girl battling a force that is unimaginable unless, you have been through it. Lakshmi’s hope will help teens see that our lives does not end when we are suffering but, end when we lose the hope of freeing ourselves from it. Additionally, Lakshmi admires the beauties of life such as, the stars or the way her mother used to come her hair by an oil lamp. The simplest tasks can be beneficial to our well-being. It is important to remember all things of life that are beautiful and not take them for granted. It is because of these memories that Lakshmi was able to hold on to her hope. Also, I think it is important to expose teens to sex trafficking that occurs in this book and around the world so, that they know things like this are still happening today.

Possible Student Reaction: After reading this text, a teen will be surprised that this book was based off of real events that happen to girls in Nepal and India. They will be inspired to learn more about what goes on in other countries and want to help in any way possible even, if it means sharing the book with their friends.

Interview with Patricia McCormick

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