Review: THE BLUE NOTEBOOK by James A. Levine

There are some books that I just can’t wait to read. I’m excited about them and I know I’m going to love them just for their pure entertainment value. The Blue Notebook is not one of those books, though since it was hugely enlightening I am very glad I read it.

The story follows a 15 year-old prostitute in Mumbai who finds a pencil and begins writing the story of her life. Batuk manages to find a level of comfort through writing her thoughts and experiences as she goes about her work. Her life changes when the emissary for a wealthy businessman negotiates for her services. She records everything she goes through.

This book is beautifully written and heart-piercingly difficult to read. I found myself reading a few pages ahead looking for assurance that the protagonist would come out of the latest incident without too much trauma. This practice is perhaps a form of denial – bad things only happen to bad people and in the end only good happens to the innocent.

Child prostitution is a way of life for many children around the world. I know that. But reading about one child’s story brings the issue to the fore of my consciousness and that makes the problem all the more real and vivid for me. I’m glad I read this book but don’t know what I can contribute to the problem other than being aware that it exists. On the back of the book it says:

All of the U.S proceeds from this novel will be donated to the International and National Centers for Missing and Exploited Children (

So, I suppose buying the book contributes a very small amount to a very worthwhile cause. Still it is definitely worth it. I highly recommend this book.


Staci on August 4, 2009 at 10:03 AM said...

I'm going to highlight this book this week too, probably on Saturday. I finished it about 2 weeks ago and I couldn't wait to get done with it. It hurt sooo bad but the message is so important. Excellent review!

bermudaonion on August 4, 2009 at 10:04 AM said...

I know this book will be difficult to read, but I think it's important to read about things like this. Great review.

Diane on August 4, 2009 at 5:52 PM said...

I LOVED this story (painful as it was) when I read it in June. Excellent review.

Andrea on August 4, 2009 at 9:15 PM said...

It does sound like a difficult read, but I agree with the pp that said it's important to be reminded of these things. Thanks for the review!

avisannschild on August 5, 2009 at 9:40 AM said...

You're braver than me, Donna -- I don't think I could read this book, although I agree that it's a good cause to support.

Laughing Stars on August 17, 2009 at 10:21 PM said...

This looks very, very hard to read, but wonderful. I'm adding it to my TBR list.


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