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Gem Santiago Sold. Author: Patricia McCormick Publisher: Hyperion Year of Publication: 2006. Introduction to Sold. The story starts in a small village in Nepal; then, the setting quickly changes to a city in India.
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Gem SantiagoSold Author: Patricia McCormick Publisher: Hyperion Year of Publication: 2006
Introduction to Sold • The story starts in a small village in Nepal; then, the setting quickly changes to a city in India. • The main character, a poor girl named Lakishmi, and her family are flooded with debts and are unable to pay them off due to Himilayan monsoons washing away their crops. • Lakishmi is determined to make a living for her family in the city, and she is promised a job as a maid in the city by a woman dressed in bright colors whom Lakishmi refers to as Auntie Bilma. • She is sold into prostitution. She now lives in a brothel run by a cruel woman named Mumtaz. • Mumtaz promises Lakishmi freedom as soon as she pays off the money Mumtaz paid for her, but this is a task impossible due to Mumtaz stripping Lakishmi of her earnings.
The Protagonist • Lakishmi is a thirteen year old girl from a village in Nepal. She was sold into prostitution by her stepfather. • In the beginning of the story, she is caring and loving of her family (with the exception of her stepfather), and she was willing to be sent to the city to help her family pay off their debts. • She is shown to be smart, keeping track of the money she earns and calculating the amount she owes Mumtaz. • She forms deep bonds with the girls who are also in the brothel.
Antagonist • Mumtaz is the owner of the brothel, which is known as the Happiness House. • She is a very cruel woman, feared for her punishments. • She is selfish and calculating. She manages the girls’ debts and ensures that none of the girls will ever leave the brothel.
The Central Conflict • The central conflict in Sold is between Lakishmi and Mumtaz. It is Lakishmi’s goal to get out of the brothel and back to her family. She tries to do this by paying off her debt, but this is impossible due to Mumtaz cheating her, attaching extra fees to Lakishmi’s debt.
Shahana • Shahana is a minor character. • She is described by Lakishmi as being very beautiful with “teardrop eyes and deep brown skin, like the hide of a nut” (McCormick 98). • Shahana is Lakishmi’s first friend. • She disappears from the novel; it can be inferred that she was taken away by the Indian police.
Monica • Monica is a minor character in Sold. • She is one of the highest earning characters in the Happiness House. • She is known for using seductive techniques to garner men to her. • Monica sends her earnings to her family, and she is revealed to have a child at home. • She gets a virus and is shunned by her family, and is unable to go back to the brothel.
Anita • Anita is a minor character in the story. • Her signature trait is her “half frown”. Her lopsided face is a result of a beating she got when she tried to flee the brothel. • Although in the beginning of the novel, she is shown to be a bit unsocial and unfriendly to Lakishmi, the two eventually form a friendship. • She becomes Lakishmi’s last surviving friend in the Happiness House.
Kirkus Reviews • “In her village in Nepal, Lakshmi's life is more than difficult and requires her to endure hunger, harsh weather and poverty. When she is sold to an itinerant "Auntie," she thinks she'll be working as a maid in the city. She's determined to excel, even though she can't imagine the place. She arrives in a brothel, working in guaranteed slavery until she is broken or dies, astonished at the charges beyond what she could possibly earn for everything she touches. The harshness of her life in this new country of India, feeling torn from all that is familiar, comes close to crushing her, yet she endures. The tiny moments of peace, learning the words in books, the friendships and respect that develop provide a relief for readers even as admiration for Lakshmi's strength and capacity for sorrow grows. Written as a prose poem, Sold focuses on the essential question of whether it is possible to trust when all that one has trusted has been proven untrustworthy. McCormick provides readers who live in safety and under protection of the law with a vivid window into a harsh and cruel world-one most would prefer to pretend doesn't exist. (Fiction. YA)” • http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sold-patricia-mccormick/1100600727
Good Reads Review • “…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.” • http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/201114.Sold
What I Say • This is a moving story about child sex slavery. McCormick’s narration is beautiful, and the ending emits a powerful feeling of hope. Lakismi is a very inspiring character.This is an easy, but touching, easy read and I would recommend this book to others.