Prayers for the Stolen by Jennifer Clement
When Ladydi was born her mother announced she had given birth to a baby boy, a complete lie but the safest course of action. In the dusty Mexican jungle being a young girl just isn’t safe, the drugs dealers and crime lords all have their ears to the ground and will know of any new girls born on the mountain. They’ll add them to the list of girls they will come to steal when they’re older. Worse than being a girl was being a pretty girl. Mothers on the mountain would cut off all their daughters hair, rub chilli powder into their clear skin to make it red and blotchy and still dig the holes for them to hide in when cars came by.
Ladydi’s friend Paula was one of these pretty girls, rumoured to be the prettiest in the country and a statement like that is sure to get around. The men come for her and there’s nothing anyone can do against their cars and guns, she becomes one of the stolen and no one expects her to return.
This is an incredibly bleak yet moving novel that follows a life that is completely out of control. Ladydi’s entire story is a consequence of where she was born and being female. Her small group of friends expose her to other paths but the only happy ending she sees are on TV. This is certainly a novel to make you stop and think, to make you appreciate everything you have and the opportunities you are given. A sad but important read.
Buy Prayers for the Stolen by Jennifer Clement