July 15, 2009

Review: The Blue Notebook

The Blue Notebook
by James Levine

Here I am, once again, reviewing a book that half the bloggers in existence have already reviewed. I am feeling really uninspired and have such violent feelings for this book so I will make this short.

For a well written summary of the story you can go to Linus's Blanket. I will simply share my opinion about a few points. The writing is wonderfully done. Levine is successful at depicting the inner thoughts of a 15 year old prostitute in India. It felt like I was reading the diary of a real girl. She is both innocent and corrupted. I liked Batuk.

The book is written for a good cause. It shines a light, too painfully at times, on a terribly unjust and inhumane way of life for too many of India's orphaned/disposed children who are forced into prostitution with no hope of escape. This is a cause that deserves some acknowledgement. We cannot fix what we don't know is broken. Best of all:
"All of the U.S. proceeds from this novel will be donated to the International and National Centers for Missing and Exploited Children (http://www.icmec.org)."

BUT...there were several disturbing scenes in The Blue Notebook. The "situations" start off somewhat mild but they slowly become more graphic. By the end there is no detail withheld. I can take alot. I have a pretty strong constitution while I'm reading but this made me want to throw up. I went from hating it to appreciating the beauty of the writing to wanting to throw it away to wanting to help further the cause. But I cannot recommend this book without first letting you know what you are in for. There is alot of s*x and violence. There is also a beautiful and tarnished soul that lives within the covers of this novel that speaks for thousands of real children who cannot speak for themselves. Can you handle it?


Leah said...

I have seen this book on the blogs and wondered if it would be hard going. I think that I will probably look out for it and make sure I am in the right frame of mind, so thank you for the warning and a great review. Obviously this is a book that needs to be read.

Nicole said...

Thanks for linking to my review. It was rather rough going.

Lezlie said...

I really want to read this, but I understand exactly how you feel about writing about a book that has been all over the blogosphere already. But it's nice to get your own feelings about it down, even if they are similar to others.


bermudaonion said...

I know that this will be hard to stomach, but I feel like I need to read it.

Ti said...

I finished this book last week and will probably write the review up tonight. It was hardcore and sickening at times but I had a problem with the path the story took.

Donura said...

I am so glad that you were frank enough about this book. There are many times when I simply do not to read something so harsh no matter how important the topic. Reading doesn't have to be painful all the time.

avisannschild said...

Wow, that sounds really intense. I'm not sure I could handle it. (OK, let me rephrase that: it sounds like something I wouldn't be able to read.) I think it is possible to raise awareness of these types of issues without grossing people out. I'm curious to read Ti's review now!

Zibilee said...

I have a copy of this book, but haven't yet read it because I am just not ready for such a graphic read at this time. All the reviews I have read on this book say pretty much the same thing: beautiful but totally disturbing.