Friday, September 01, 2006

Child Trafficking: Telling The Story

My editor at Dutton, Margaret Woollatt, told me today of a starred review in PW for Sold by Patricia McCormick, a novel in free verse about a Nepali girl sold into sexual slavery. Sparrow, my protagonist in First Daughter: Extreme American Makeover, blogs about meeting a girl about to be trafficked, and I based her description on a disturbing encounter I had years ago in the Dubai airport. I dread and yet long to read Sold, as nothing enrages me more than the sexual exploitation of children. Thank you, Patty McCormick, for telling this story. I know the pen is mightier than the sword, but when it comes to sexual trafficking, even my give-peace-a-chance-flower-child fingers are sorely tempted to wield the latter.

4 comments:

Pooja said...

I, too, am looking forward to reading this book, however, I hope the author doesn't fall into the trap of the main character having a middle-class American feminist mentality, and that her actions/thoughts are a result of her time/place/culture. Know what I mean? (I felt HOMELESS BIRD by Glora Whelan was like this. I didn't like that book AT ALL.)

Mitali Perkins said...

Even if it does, at least it gets a much-needed conversation started that might lead to some action. Also, I think that most educated women raised in the west (even if we're South Asian by origin) who are writing stories for and about our illiterate sisters have to struggle against an "middle-class American feminist mentality" to achieve an authentic voice.

Pooja said...

I suppose. But I, too, would be extremely careful if/when writing about our "illiterate sisters." When writing about (and taking the voice of) people who have historically been silenced and marginalized is a little risky, but a risk that authors should take.

Have you read A Life Less Ordinary
by Baby Halder, translated by Urvashi Butalia? It's the story of Baby Halder, a young woman working as a domestic help in a home in Delhi. Married off at the age of twelve, a mother by the time she was fourteen, Baby writes of her life as a young girl, and later as a young woman. Baby came across an employer who encouraged her to read, and then to write.

The book was a best-seller in Hindi and has been receiving accolades from some of the best-known writers and critics in India and elsewhere.

I think this would be an interesting book (and suitable crossover title for teens) to read alongside SOLD.

sandhya said...

I heard an excerpt from the book on a CD and thought it was quite well-done. I have yet to read it, but the fact that she put effort into researching it makes me more willing to do so right away.