Thank You to Animal Media Group for providing me with an advanced copy of Barbara Amaya's memoir, Nobody's Girl, in exchange for an honest review.
PLOT- In her memoir, Nobody's Girl, Barbara Amaya recounts sexual abuse at the hands of family members, leading her to become a runaway at twelve years old, and soon after, falling into the hands of sex traffickers, ultimately developing a heroin addiction to cope.
LIKE- Amaya is very brave for sharing her story. Hers is a tragic life and through most of the book, I did not think it would end well. It's a relief to know that her life has turned out positive, and that she is able to help so many other victims of sex trafficking as a speaker and advocate. Nobody's Girl was shocking, horrific, and very depressing. It made me aware of the dire need for police and social workers to help other kids and adults on the streets. I was most amazed at how Amaya, with her many arrests as a teenager, was just filtered through the justice system, able to skate by with multiple aliases. The sheer shock value of Amaya's story made her book a page-turner. I read it in a single afternoon.
DISLIKE- I feel like I shouldn't admit this, but I'm committed to giving honest feedback: I had a difficult time connecting with Amaya. It isn't simply that her life is the polar opposite of mine, but I gave it a lot of thought, and I think the reason for the disconnect is that her story is told very matter-of-fact, lacking emotion. It's not that she doesn't express emotion, but in her writing it's stated bluntly " I was angry", rather than written in a way that is lyrical or impactful. If that element had been in writing, I likely would have been blown away, but as it is, I read it from a distance.
The reason that I feel guilty for admitting this is Amaya has put herself out there by sharing her story. Although she did return to college as adult, as a child, she only received a formal education up until six grade, and was certainly not encouraged to read or write while on the streets. In fact, in one vivid scene, her pimp rips a book from her hand, and degrades her desire to learn. She did not use a ghostwriter for this book either.
RECOMMEND - Yes, Nobody's Girl highlights an important social issue and Amaya's story is one that deserves to be heard.