Thursday, November 5, 2009

REVIEW: The Road of Lost Innocence by Somaly Mam

Review originally written 18 November, 2008
This is the first non-fiction book I have read in quite awhile. The book begins by describing her girlhood in a remote area of Cambodia. She goes on to describe how at the age of 12 she is eventually sold to a brothel where she endures continuous and horrific rapes, torture, and abuse. She chronicles her escape from the brothels, her move to France and her subsequent return to Cambodia. She starts small- first offering condoms and soap to girls working in brothels and tries to educate them and her foundation continues to grow into what it is now where she helps girls escape the life.What I liked: The writing is simplistic and it is an honest account of what she endured. It must have been very difficult for her to relive all those experiences for this book (the sale of which partially benefits her foundation). She tells her story in a kind of detached way, yet you really get a sense of what she is trying to convey. The way these girls are forced to live is something I cannot even begin to wrap my mind around and I've been in a war torn area and saw some pretty upsetting stuff. It is awesome that without regard for her personal safety she has championed the cause of these girls and continues to do so in the hope that she can lead them to a better life and she does a great service by reliving her experiences in the hopes that it will clue some of us in and inspire us enough to get involved.What I didn't like: I realize that the purpose of the book is to bring attention to the cause but sometimes it felt infomercially like at certain points in the book I expected a passage to read "to donate now, call this number..." Maybe a little too "help us now or these girls will suffer" type thing. I don't mean that to sound insensitive. I just think the book would have been more powerful if that aspect had been more subtle (she mentions that certain locations have had to close due to lack of funding etc..) and the reader was allowed to draw their own conclusions.I admire what she is doing and I hope one day girls being forced into prostitution is a thing of the past. A heartbreaking story to say the least. I give it a B.
If the FTC is wondering: this book was from my own personal library

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