By James A. Levine
In my search to broaden my reading base, I came across “The Blue Notebook” by James A. Levine.
At first I thought it was going to be another badly written allegory of the horrible oppression of women in the Middle East. Instead I found myself immersed in an even worse nightmare of the life and injustice of children sold into the slave and prostitution trade of India.
“The Blue Notebook” is the story of Batuk, a young Indian girl sold into sex slavery by her father in order to pay off his gambling debts. It may be because I’m not the sharpest pencil in the box, but it took me a about four or five pages before I realized that the POV this first time author used, was that of a child prostitute who creates an entire fantasy world around what she is subjected to, in order to have even the smallest glimpse of sanity and hope.
The blue notebook is her record of that journey.
The sense of betrayal, injustice and immeasurable outrage I felt when I finished the last page can only be described in short gasps, flushed cheeks and clenched fists. (Not to mention the entire photo-shop of ungodly images running through my mind where I am welding a very sharp object in an attempt to remove vital male appendages , as well as giving very stupid women much-needed lobotomies. )
Overcome by his own sense of injustice, James Levine, a British-born doctor with the Mayo Clinic, while on a trip to India, discovered first-hand the atrocities of child slavery. And witnessing these victims of unimaginable evil, found himself compelled to write a story that reflected some of what he saw.
The compassion and need for Batuk’s story to be heard by the world comes through every page.
If you are related to ostriches, and don’t want the status quo of your safe and imaginary world to be disrupted, don’t read this. But if, on the other hand, you are brave enough to open your heart and realize that the majority of us live very sheltered lives (and it behooves us as human beings to come out of the cocoon of our own making and see the harsher realities of life), then by all means pour yourself a very stiff drink and read Levine’s story of one child’s fight for survival.
All US proceeds from the sale of “The Blue Notebook” go towards helping extricate children out of slavery and prostitution.
If you would like to send a donation to other agencies fighting the exploitation of children:
International Center for Missing and Exploited Children (Child Sexual Exploitation)
BFKbooks has also interviewed Dr. Levine on the book and what inspired him to write it.
There are several other bloggers who have written about this book as well: