Earlier this week, I finished reading The Blue Notebook, a novel by James A. Levine. This book was recommended to me because of my passion for Social Justice and Social Ministry issues. I have to say up front, I know very little about child exploitation in the United States and even less about child exploitation in other countries. This book raises several questions, all of which have no easy or apparent answer.
The Blue Notebook is about a fifteen-year-old girl, Batuk, who is sold into slavery by her father when she is nine years old. Right away, she is forced into the Indian child prostitution world in Mumbai, where she ends up living in a small cage. The first half of the book details how she came to be a prostitute, including her sale into slavery and her first sexual experience. The second half of the story deals with Batuk’s experience with a particular client and the downward spiral of events that lead to the tragic ending.
The story is told from Batuk’s perspective through her diary, which she keeps hidden from everyone throughout most of the story.
This book is not a light read, nor is it for everyone, but, if you can trudge through it, the book is well worth the read. I can’t say that I enjoyed the book, but being somewhat interested in the topic, I couldn’t put it down (I read it in less than a day). The author is donating 100% of the US proceeds from this novel to the International and National Centers for Missing and Exploited Children.