Sunday, April 25, 2010


The only word to describe today is gloomy. The gray sky's been pummeling rain since I woke up this morning. I left the house to grocery shop, but that's it, and I have no intention of leaving the house again today.

Today was the perfect day to read Sold by Patricia McCormick. The story is told from the perspective of a young girl, Lakshmi, from Nepal who is sold into slavery by her stepfather. My three points.

1. Heavy. This is not a light story, as the simple description above should have already brought to your attention. It's not that this is a bad story. In fact, I loved the book and read it straight through. But it brought tears to my eyes more than once, and it was not just the terrible cruelty of what the narrator endured; rather, the touching moments of small kindnesses throughout were devastating. Let me put it this way. After I finished the book I ran upstairs and devoured a slice of pizza. About halfway through I felt like a complete and total glutton, and realized that the three cups of tea I had today were more than this girl had throughout the length of her story. Whew.

2. Love the vignette format. I'm a big fan of The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, and love the idea of a story told through short vignettes that border on poetry. This book had a similar structure without the intense poetic technique of Cisneros's work. Poetry exists in the vignettes of Sold, but there was more simplicity to it that I think aided the book's feel as opposed to oversimplifying the message.

3. Lakshmi. This character felt real, though I don't know any thirteen year old girl's from Nepal. I believed in her moods, her cares and worries, and most of all her innocence shines through. Her strength of character allow her to survive, yet it is not an unrealistic depiction of strength in incredible odds. I believed in her, and I think you would, too.


  1. I've been thinking about adding this to my classroom library. I love teaching The House on Mango Street, and the vignette form is so flexible for teaching. The vignettes are also good models for teaching writing.

  2. Absolutely. Some of the early vignettes about Lakshmi's time at home would be good material for kids to use as launching points for their own pieces. Of course, as the story goes on the subject matter is disturbing, and you would have to think about how to move forward with it.