Nobody’s Girl: A Memoir Of Lost Innocence, Modern-Day Slavery And Transformation, by Barbara Amaya
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Net Gallery/Animal Media Group.]
There was very little in this book that surprised me. To be sure, the story is a heartrending one, but it is also one that has a clear genre and familiar path. I’ve heard this story before, and likely many people who read this story have as well . The fact that this story sounds very familiar though, does not mean it is not a worthwhile story, because the author wishes to relate to people who like her were abused as children, caught up in sex trafficking by people who told them lies while seeking to manipulate and control them, and then isolated from the rest of “square” society to the point where they used drugs to cope with the horrors and trauma of their lives. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the author used her own past as encouragement in helping to reach out to others who suffer as she has suffered, realizing that the purpose and meaning of her experiences is into helping others avoid and overcome the same sort of problems that she did, a not uncommon but also positive realization.
In terms of its organization, this book is written in a straightforward and chronological fashion. With short numbered chapters, the author discusses her abuse by her father and brother, her increasing anxiety about going to school, her resorting to running away over and over again, and being caught up in a world of prostitution and drug use and numerous scrapes with the law as a result of her attachment to her pimp Moses. A long effort at sobriety follows where the author still finds herself drawn to precisely the wrong type of man. She ends up hospitalized after a relationship with one abusive man and has a daughter in a marriage with an alcoholic who she leaves, becoming a single mother with a lot of health struggles. It is not until she is middle aged, it would appear, that the author realizes that her child experiences had a name in sex trafficking and that the problem was still a pervasive one, and she is motivated by her experience to become a crusader on behalf of the well-being of vulnerable and exploited children. By the story’s end her own record and conscience are clear, and the reader is left with resources as well as a lot to ponder about the processes that lead to trafficking and the way that children are exploited.
Ultimately, as a reader, I am left with a lot of puzzling thoughts and reflections after this book. Was the author ever able to find a loving relationship as an adult, or was her experience simply too difficult for her to overcome when it comes to building intimacy? Did the author ever come to terms with God and develop a personal relationship with Him? Was her daughter able to break the generational cycles of divorce and alcoholism/drug abuse and abuse that the author faced herself in her own life and in her family background? What makes this book particularly worthwhile, despite these unanswered questions, is that it helps to reveal a pathway to abuse. A great deal of the societal evils we face with regards to drug abuse and prostitution and the like can be traced back to trouble in youth. Broken societies and broken families produce broken people. It is hard to fix broken systems, but it is a lot easier to fix them than it is to fix broken people whose brokenness extends generation after generation.
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