Title: Prayers for the Stolen
Author: Jennifer Clement
Source: Free eBook from Edelweiss
Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review (and trust me, honest is always what you’ll get).
Summary: Ladydi is a young woman living in Guerrero, Mexico on “the mountain with no men”. She lives in a world of poverty, of fathers who go to the US to make more money and never return, of drug lords and corrupt police; she lives in a world where chemicals meant to kill poppies are sprayed on villagers instead, where girls are taken so being pretty is dangerous, where people disappear all the time. In a world like this, the odds are stacked against her, but she does what she can to survive, to carve something out for herself, only to find herself in an impossible situation not of her own making. What does the future hold for Ladydi?
Review: When I selected this book, I had no clue how much I would love it. It doesn’t really fit in with my normal fare, but I want to diversify my reading, to view the world from the perspective of other cultures and ethnicities, other countries and other economic backgrounds. So, not fitting in with my normal fare was exactly the point. And this book did not disappoint.
This is not a book of flowery prose and happy endings. It’s a fiction based on the truth, and the truth is not so pretty. Life in Mexico isn’t easy, especially for those living in poverty. Especially for girls. Drugs and human trafficking are both huge businesses in Mexico, and young girls fall prey to cruel and heartless men of these trades every single day. And every move they make in their lives has to account for that risk.
As a white American who has mostly lived above the poverty line, it is hard to fathom the kind of life that Ladydi lives day in and day out. She may be fictional, but knowing that she is based on reality is a hard pill to swallow. What is almost as difficult to stomach is the fact that this is accepted as just the way things are, as a fact of life that isn’t likely to change any time soon, if at all.
Through Ladydi, Clement shows us a world that is likely beyond anything most of us have ever imagined and she does so in a way that is poignant and concise, but without hysterics or overdramatizing. It’s simply presented as it is. Sometimes the truth is so shocking that there is no need to emphasize or enhance.
The one thing that was remotely off-putting was the absence of quotations for dialogue. Sometimes it was difficult to differentiate between what Ladydi was thinking and what she was verbalizing. However, that is the only qualm I had about this book, and it was easily gotten over.
Overall a book I will be recommending wholeheartedly.