Monday, 17 February 2014

Prayers for the Stolen by Jennifer Clement

Pretty girls disappear in Mexico.  Ladydi’s mother cuts her hair, blackens her teeth and makes her look ugly before digging a hole in the ground for her daughter to hide in.

Once the word is out that there is a pretty girl around the men in the black SUV’s come and take her away. None of the girls ever return, except for Paula, who came back a year after she was stolen away.  Paula is the prettiest of them all and she came back with a baby bottle in her hand and a tattoo of a snake encircling her waist.

Nobody wants to be stolen like Paula was and Ladydi doesn’t really understand what it’s all about but in time she will learn.  In the meantime she must stay ugly and hide in the hole her mother dug so she doesn’t get stolen away too.

This novel deals with some difficult issues.  Every year in Mexico women go missing, stolen by drug cartels to be used as prostitutes or slave labour. Jennifer Clements has based her novel on the lives of these women and she unflinchingly faces this issue head on.

However, whilst this novel makes the reader look at the harsh realities facing these women Ms. Clements writes intelligently and sensitively ensuring that this was a book that had me completely hooked.  She skilfully humanises real life victims through her portrayal of her characters whom she has created with a detailed realism. Whilst we experience the hardships facing the women and girls of this community they are never self pitying and are always brutally honest.

The prose is impeccable and not a word is wasted.  The subject matter ensures that this is not a comfortable book to read. The author packs a hard punch in this novel but does so whilst gently guiding her readers through it so that the subject matter never becomes overwhelming.  She is a very skilled writer and I am convinced that this is a book that will be being discussed amongst readers and critics long after the publication date.

I shall certainly be re-reading it at some point as it has so much to offer.  A book rich in humanity and insight, powerful and thought provoking and that is also beautifully written deserves a place on everybody’s bookshelf and I would strongly encourage you to read this.

ISBN:  978 1781090176

Publishers:  Hogarth

Priced:  (Based on today’s price for kindle on  £6.02
I read a free kindle version of this.

Total saving:  £191.50

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