Author: Patricia McCormick
Summary: 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?
Rating <3 <3 <3 <3
Review: The story of Lakshmi is told from the viewpoint of first a innocent, twelve-thirteen year old girl who lives in the mountains of Nepal with her Mother, step father, and infant sibling. They are very poor, and she describes how they live, survive, do chores, and the simple pleasures that she enjoys like having her Mother brush her hair, or playing hop scotch with her friend from next door who she misses because she went to work as a "maid" in the city. Lakshmi's Step father is a gambler so her trouble's begin there, when he decide's that she needs to "work" to help pay for the family expenses in the city; or this is what she and her Mother believe; that she is going to be a city maid; she is taken into the city where she journeys first with a woman than a man and is then sold into the brothel of Happiness House where the owner Mumtaz a very cruel woman works the girls to death and beats them with a strap if they don't obey.
At first Lakshmi shows some resistance but when she is told that she must work off her debt and that it goes to her family her resistance weakens and she does what she is told...there are many smaller characters from this point on in the book that warmed my heart like one of the other girl's sons, and the tea boy...they offered Lakshmi hope where there was little. To see what happens for this young girl you need to read this book...it shows another look into the harrowing world of human/sex trafficking in another part of the world and will again make you hug your daughters/niece/any young person close when you know this is a reality for so many young girls in the world. A wonderful book, and I liked the preface of Lakshmi telling the entire story, it was simple and to the point, the ending was very hopeful, but we all need that sometimes =)