My Book Of Life
YA and up
You approach a swimming pool on a hot day. You debate inching
in bit by bit or diving into the deep end. You decide to take the
plunge. At first the water is so cold it takes your breath away.
Then before you know it you are immersed in the element.
That's what it's like to start reading Martine Leavitt's My Book
Of Life By Angel. On the first page you learn several things. You
learn that the narrator and her friend are prostitutes. You learn
that her friend has gone missing like others before her. Chances are
her friend is dead. You learn that these girls don't fit whatever
stereotype you may have of very young hookers. Speaking of her
missing friend, Angel says,
"She said her heart's desire was to see sn angel.
She said, if I could see an angel
That would mean I'm still God's little girl."
That's right. The book is in poetry. Leavitt uses tender, sensitive
verse where others deal in hard, blunt prose. You know what? It
works. Amazingly. It draws readers into a way of life most of us
would really rather not know much about and leaves us caring.
Call, her pimp, had caught Angel shop lifting a shoe and told
her her secret was safe with him. He began buying her meals and
listening to her. He turned her on to drugs. When her father caught
her using and kicked her out, he brought her into his home and his
Now Angel stands on her corner, hooks up with johns, tells them
she's thirteen instead of sixteen to earn more money. She knows that
girls in her trade aren't just going missing. They're being killed.
"I tried to imagine being dead
And what if there was no feeling, no dreaming, no nothing
Just not existing?"
One night Call goes too far. He brings Melli, an eleven-year-
old child home to introduce her to the business. Angel is determined
to protect her and get her out of that environment. It will take a
miracle. Call has said if she leaves and takes Melli he'll hurt her
beloved little brother, Jeremy.
I have to say something about Widow. She's an older woman whose
turf is next to Angel's. She's been hurt so badly by a client she
can't remember her given name. Despite claiming not to be a
babysitter, she does her best to protect Angel and Melli. When you
read what the cops, the supposed good guys, do to her...
Although Angel and her friends are fictional characters, sadly
the story is based on truth. Pimps trap young girls into prostitution
by pretending to care. They keep them from leaving by methods such as
getting them hooked on drugs or threatening to hurt or kill family
members. Sometimes serial killers prey on sex workers. Police don't
seem really motivated to solve those cases.
On a personal note, it makes me livid that people would sell girls
A great big shout out goes out to all who try to help them get better
lives and futures.
Julia Emily Hathaway
Sent from my iPod