My Book of Life By Martine Leavitt
Published by Square Fish on February 18,2014
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
I loved this book, it was beautifully written, just stunning. I thought it was very well done given the dark subject matter. It was eye opening and think this is a story that needs to be told and Martine Leavitt did that brilliantly.
After Angel’s friend, Serena goes missing, sixteen-year-old Angel decides to write a book about her life and what a tragic life she leads. Angel, has become addicted to drugs which she refers to as “candy” and she works the streets of Vancouver’s downtown eastside. How, you might ask did she end up working the streets so young, well she fell victim to a guy she thought was her boyfriend. Turns out her boyfriend Call preyed on her young naive nature.
“I found out Call’s candy flies you down tips you inside out dumps you upside down flies you through empty space to the black hole in the middle of you and you can’t stop can’t stop unless you want to vomit up whole planets…”
When Call has made sure she is hooked on his “candy” he asks if she loved him and that since he has been buying her, her food and giving her “candy” he was low on money and if she could help out by being “nice” to a friend. She complies and next thing you know she needs to be nice to a friend of a friend and so on.
“that one word yes gave Call all my words – he knew when I said yes that he would have my voice in a bottle, that no one would hear me again.”
Since, Serena has gone missing, along with many other girls, Angel becomes scared that, that might happen to her as well. So, she decides that she wants to leave this life, the only thing is Call has threatened her family if she does. The thing that cements her plan to leave, is when Call brings home an eleven-year-old girl, Melli, who Call plans to do the same thing he has done to Angel. Angel cannot allow this to happen and develops a plan to save Melli and herself from that life.
I had a hard time putting this one down even though it made me sick to my stomach at times. Martine Leavitt writing compels you to keep reading and I am so glad I did. Writing this book in verse made this otherwise grim topic beautiful. We have to remember that these girls are human too and deserve to be treated as such. All too often they get looked down upon because of what they do but we don’t know what their story is. It’s terrible that people in a position of authority sometimes treat things girls like they are criminals.
I liked how Martine Leavitt referred to Robert Pickton in reference to the girls going missing in the book. I appreciate that in her author’s note she mentions the girls that disappeared and the case against Robert Pickton and how cops failed to follow up on leads.
I recommend this book to all and give it a 5 out of 5 stars.