Batuk writes in a blue notebook of her sexual encounters as she is sold into a type of orphanage that exists solely to profit from the sadistic torture of children. The words she writes are haunting and yet Batuk still writes with a teenager-inspired attitude. Disturbing and dirty are the perfect adjectives for this read. Although the storyline is on the outrageous and shocking side, the actual writing was fluid and pleasant, for quite an unpleasant topic. There were synonyms used for certain things that made the book a bit unique, such as nests as opposed to cells that the children were housed in; perhaps the use of these 'cleaner' words made the book more readable for me. Body parts were also substituted with 'cleaner' words, and yet still disturbing as it came from out of the mouth of the child. Without these synonyms, the language that the writer would have had to use throughout the book would have very much jaded my views even more, as there are multiple instances of child rape and sadistic torture. The synopsis states hope and beauty are within Batuk's words, and I did not see hope or beauty at all. There is not a shadow of beauty within this heartbreaking tale of children who live and die within brothels at the whim of sexual needs of others.
The interesting thing about this whole topic is I wonder how the author, James Levine, came up with this idea, to write a story of an exploited young prostitute. This debut novel shows promise of a literary future, I just hope his next venture is not something that makes my stomach churn again. I read that he has loosely based this novel on a girl he had interviewed regarding this topic. The author James Levine M.D. is a professor and a researcher in the USA, and is not an author by trade. He somehow felt compelled to write this story and he is probably a bit amazed at how much attention he is getting. I read a blog post by Lezlie at Book n' Border Collies (she is hosting a book giveaway until 7/31) when she had the opportunity to hear him speak and he said that the USA has more child prostitutes than India or Thailand. That shocks me! He is donating all U.S. proceeds from this book to the International and National Centers for Missing and Exploited Children (http://www.icmec.org/)