The Blue Notebook: A Novel Paperback – Jul 6 2010
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Praise for The Blue Notebook
“The Blue Notebook is a deeply moving story and a searing reminder of the resilience of the human spirit. It is a tribute to how writing can give meaning and help one transcend even the most harrowing circumstances. The voice of Batuk, the unforgettable child prostitute heroine, will stay with the reader a long, long time.”—Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns
“James A. Levine's The Blue Notebook tugged at my heart and opened my eyes. Levine's fictional protagonist, Batuk, stands shoulder to shoulder with the iconic Anne Frank, another brave young girl whose innocence was annihilated but whose spirit prevailed and whose gift to the world was the written testimony she left behind. To read The Blue Notebook is to bear witness, something we must do if we are to create a world that rejects the exploitation of children and creates a world where they can be safe.” —Wally Lamb, author of The Hour I First Believed
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
James A. Levine, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic, is a world-renowned scientist, doctor, and researcher. He lives in Oronoco, Minnesota.
From the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
In order to pay off family debts, Batuk's father brings her to Mumbai, India and sells her to Master Gahil, a sex trader. He, in turn, sells Batuk to the highest bidder looking for a young virgin. She is only nine years old at the time. Master Gahil then sends her to "The Orphanage." When she is fifteen years old, she is put to work as a prostitute on the Common Street in Mumbai. She is selling "sweet-cake", another term for sexual intercourse. Her boss is a hardened old hag by the name of Mamaki Briila. She is called Hippopotamus by the prostitutes. Batuk is a part of a group of five girls and one boy named Puneet, who becomes her best friend. She ends up in a cage, the size of a toilet servicing about ten men a day in exchange for food and a bed. Batuk's life consists of rape, violence and starvation. She is abused in every unimaginable way. Her best friend Puneet was violently raped by two Police Officers, which left him unable to work. When his health improves, he is forced back to work. Puneet is then sent away to be castrated before reaching puberty. When Puneet returns he is quite depressed. Batuk decides to write a fantasy story especially for him to cheer him up.Read more ›
Comments: This is a heart wrenching book to read. Set in modern India, the story of a nine-year-old girl who is sold by her loving father into prostitution (to pay off his debts) and her presented to us in the first person through her diaries. We are given her story from her present timeline at the age of fifteen as well as from her past as she tells how she came to be in her present circumstances, until past meets present and we only can go forward with her.
This book is going to be a hard read for some people. A child prostitute leads a brutal life and the author leaves no stone unturned nor holds back on any details. Yet, Batuk, the main character, is many things. She is a victim, she is a part of her world, she is a survivor, she is an innocent child, she can be devious, she can experience pure child-like joy and she experiences terror no child should ever have. She is a character that the reader feels both great outrage and compassion for and also admires for her own strength and spirit.
One thing that really struck me as I read was how amazingly real the voice of the fifteen-year-old girl is, while realizing that the book is written by a man. For a man to project this teen's feminine multi-layered personality so beautifully is a sign of a brilliant author. I look forward to his next novel.
The only thing that disappoints me some is the ambiguous ending. The only thing that stops me from giving a 5* rating. We are left to sort things out for ourselves and decide what happened.Read more ›
It's a hard read. Although being only two hundred pages, it is an account in extreme graphic detail of Batuk's life after being sold by her father. She does not skimp away the grisly details that happens to her and how she is meant to please her clients. The only light hearted moments I get are when she shares a laugh with her friend Puneet and how they make fun of the "Hippopotamus". I thought they were so cute together but, even that little bit of happiness fades as Batuk is passed on to another place to do her work.
My heart went out for Batuk. You see her innocence shatter and how she narrates the entire story you don't hear much emotion, it's almost as you can hear a flat voice through the diary entries. It's a bleak and depressing read but it probably is a very realistic account of what happens out there to child prostitutes anywhere in the world.
There are only a few things I didn't agree with in this book. I'm not for flowery poetry writing and mini stories and there's a few parts of that in this story. I mostly skipped it by as I didn't have much patience for that. I don't really understand how you can be that literate when you've only learned to read and write at a missionary hospital but that's just my opinion. Second, the ending was very vague. However, if you really think about it, no one in this world really cares where a prostitute ends up, therefore the ending shouldn't matter.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
This story of a young Indian prostitute who finds herself through her writing is heart-wrenching and suspenseful.Published 10 months ago by Lawrence West
What an incredible story of some of the harsh realities in life. This is a beautifully written book that brings tears to ones eyes when one reads about the cruelty that a human... Read morePublished on April 11 2011 by Siggy
The Blue Notebook is almost too emotionally shattering to be called a novel. It reads very much like my research on trafficking and pornography rings. Read morePublished on Sept. 29 2010 by breakey