Friday, May 22, 2015

Prayers for the Stolen by Jennifer Clement

by Anna Rolde

Prayers for the Stolen
by Jennifer Clement was interesting. The book is relatively short and engaging all the way through. It touches on important issues that are, sadly, relevant today, and presents them realistically to readers in a poetic, melancholy way. The novel takes place in the mountains of Guerrero, Mexico and covers societal dilemmas such as human and sex trafficking, poverty, immigration, religion, and gender issues and expectations. The subject matter in these pages are heavy and serious, but Clement delivers them to us in a natural, meaningful, and truthful way. 

From the very first sentence I was drawn into this book. It begins with our main character and narrator, a young girl named Ladydi, being made to look like a boy by her mother to avoid being captured by human traffickers. This is a theme in the novel introduced immediately, and the reader is reminded of it almost constantly; almost infamously, there are no girls on this mountain. Everyone is a boy until they can no longer hide it. 

In terms of the writing style that Clement uses, it is a matter of opinion whether or not a reader will take to it. There are no quotation marks around the dialogue; sentences are interspersed throughout the paragraphs. This technique, although I am not often a huge fan of it, worked well. Because Ladydi is a child in this book, it seemed accurate in portraying her voice as a narrator. This way of speaking in a stream of thought and dialogue gave the writing personality and made the words flow poetically throughout. This style made it easy and enjoyable to read. 

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I would definitely recommend it to someone if they could deal with reading about dark, graphic issues. Prayers for the Stolen, although fiction, captures the very real experiences of people today, and brings awareness to them powerfully and elegantly.

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