Monday, July 6, 2009

Review: The Blue Notebook by James Levine

Book Info:
The Blue Notebook by James Levine
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau (July 7, 2009)
ISBN-13: 978-0385528719
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 4/5

An unforgettable, deeply affecting tribute to the powers of imagination and the resilience of childhood, The Blue Notebook tells the story of Batuk, a precocious 15-year-old girl from rural India who was sold into sexual slavery by her father when she was nine. As she navigates the grim realities of the Common Street, a street of prostitution in Mumbai where children are kept in cages as they wait for customers to pay for sex, Batuk manages to put pen to paper, recording her private thoughts and stories in a diary. The novel is powerfully told in Batuk's voice, through the words she writes in her journal, where she finds hope and beauty in the bleakest circumstances.

I knew The Blue Notebook would be difficult to read, and it was. The subject matter is not light and the truthfulness of the situation weighed on me as I read. You know things like child sex slaves exist, but it's easier not to think of them. That's why books that tackle tough subjects are so important. They bring subjects that are difficult to discuss into the public eye.

While the subject matter was tough, the writing was very beautiful, and that made it seem almost surreal. It was strange to be reading about abuse and to enjoy the writing. Batuk had a wonderful imagination and this escapism helped her to survive a horrible situation.

While not an easy read, I think The Blue Notebook is very worth reading. The wonderfully descriptive writing and the authenticity of Batuk's voice alone make it a wonderful book. 4 stars

All of the U.S. proceeds from this novel will be donated to the International and National Centers for Missing and Exploited Children (


Literary Feline said...

Thank you for your great review. This is one I really want to read. It sounds so good--not to mention a worthwhile book.

Sandy Nawrot said...

I know this is something that everyone should read, and I may very well do so. But I've gotten into a small nest of downers recently, and while they were well-written, I can only take so much! You have to take these types of books in small nibbles.

Jenny said...

This book sounds really good... I added it to my pbs WL!

Also, I have an award for you here

Tara said...

I couldn't agree with everything you've said more!

Cindy said...

It sounds interesting, and I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

Zibilee said...

I have a copy of this, but haven't gotten to it yet. I have heard that this is a tough and emotional read, so I am waiting for the right time to read it. It does sound very haunting, by your description. I will let you know what I think of it.