Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Trafficked by Sophie Hayes

Trafficked
by Sophie Hayes
Summary: When Sophie Hayes met Bledi she knew he'd change her life – but she had no idea how much. At first, it was a typical whirlwind romance. But one day Bledi told her that love always comes at a price ...

Bledi tricked Sophie into travelling to Italy, where he forced her to sell her body to help him pay off a debt. Terrified and ashamed, Sophie worked the dangerous Italian streets without rest, seeing as many as 30 clients in a night. She was completely at Bledi′s mercy for food, clothes and shelter. And without money, friends or family, she was trapped.

But Sophie found the strength to keep going, clinging to life by a single thread of hope: that somehow she′d find a way to escape.
Books like this are difficult to review for two reasons. The first is because of the subject matter--you can't really judge it the same way you would judge a fiction book (e.g. did you enjoy it, was it entertaining, etc.) and the second is that you can't judge the characters the way you normally would either, because they're not just characters and it's not just a story. This is someone's life, someone's suffering so it can't be judged as if it were fiction.

So...it's hard to judge it as a book while being respectful of the fact it's a true story. But, as a book, I didn't like it much, but it was more the execution of it. I just think it was poorly written.

I sympathise with what Sophie went through, and I can't even begin to imagine how awful it would be to live through something like that and I think she's incredibly strong for getting through it and brave for putting her story out there. But while I sympathised with her as a real life person, it was hard to empathise with her as a character in the book because of the way the story was written. I never got caught up in the things she was feeling or going through, and as awful as the things she experienced were, the book never made me cry.

I've read books that have shocked me or torn me to shreds and had me in tears, but this one fell really short of getting under my skin. I found myself reading, thinking how awful it is she went through this and that other people go through this, without really feeling the story. It was purely the knowledge that it's a true story that got to me, not the book itself.

The way it was written...it dragged a lot, and it was really repetitive, and it was frustrating because half of the dialogue seemed to be prefaced/followed by "I wanted to say..." but she never actually said any of it out loud (which is understandable, but it was just a very annoying writing style--having to read all of the things she should've said but didn't).

Also, there were little moments where it felt like...well, it felt like in hindsight while writing this she tried to make a distinction between herself and other girls who go through that sort of thing (like, by pointing out that other characters in the story said she wasn't like the other girls, that she was different--smarter, more elegant, that sort of thing).

I don't know why that bugged me, but it did. Maybe it's because no matter what someone looks like or talks like or their nationality or IQ, no one deserves to go through what she went through.

And she never said that they did, or really implied that, but making a point to say how she is different from the other girls...it just didn't sit well with me (maybe it's because it felt irrelevant--like if a woman is raped and someone asks, "What was she wearing at the time?" as if that matters). Maybe she was just trying to get the point across that this doesn't just happen to a certain type of girl, it can happen to anyone.

But the book was just frustrating to read in general really. 

I understand that she was brainwashed and afraid, I really get that and I get that she wasn't thinking rationally, but I spent the majority of the book feeling like one of those people that scream at the TV during horror movies when the characters do something blatantly stupid. I don't expect to enjoy reading a book like this, or to find it entertaining, but I expect to be angry or upset by what I'm reading and instead I was mostly  just annoyed at the way the book was written--any anger or upset wasn't caused by the book itself, just the reality behind it.

I'm not going to rate the book, because it feels too much like rating someone's life. I do think Sophie's story deserves to be told, I just wasn't fond of the way it was written and I don't feel it really educated me on anything about the subject I don't already know and I think there are other memoirs out there that have more of an impact.

Later.

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