The Blue Notebook by James A. Levine - Book Review

I read The Blue Notebook in one evening. And I didn’t like it. I wanted to look away. But like any rubbernecking scene, my eyes focused on The Blue Notebook and never turned, never stopped staring at the disaster unfolding across the page.

Oh, The Blue Notebook was compelling, had a well-voiced narrator and moved swiftly. The writer did a fine job with his pen and even donated his U.S royalties to The International Center For Missing and Exploited Children, but even this fact created a wearing sadness.

The Blue Notebook is told in flashback through the first person voice of Batuk, a fifteen-year-old prostitute living in Mumbai. Batuk’s day consists of living in a nest, making sweet cakes with the various men who pay for her services and writing in a blue notebook she has managed to hide from her pimp. Batuk learned to write while hospitalized as a young girl. This was before the party her family threw for her, the one right before they sold her, before the highest bidder violently stole her nine-year-old virginity. Though based on a real prostitute the author encountered while traveling in Mumbai, The Blue Notebook is fiction.

Still, it exists. The very thought that Mumbai’s sex slave trade is real gives depth to the matter-of-fact voice of Batuk. Mumbai is a metropolis, India’s financial powerhouse, a city with vast resources and educational opportunities. How does this savage slavery still exist? How can a young girl be completely thrown away like a piece of meat?

And though I read it on vacation - when breezy summer reads are expected, Batuk’s story is so devastatingly heartbreaking, it would be a crime to look away.

*Recommended for increased awareness and readers interested in modern tragedy. Not for the weak stomached.

*Buy The Blue Notebook Here

* Thanks to Library Thing for my advanced reading copy.

© 2009

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Stephanie said...

I just read and reviewed this book also - I thought it was well written, but so devestatingly sad.


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