Prayers for the Stolen by Jennifer Clement is a novel about living in Guerrero, Mexico as a girl. Ladydi is a girl coming of age in a mountain village where no girl is safe from the Mexican drug cartel. Ladydi's alcoholic mother has done the best she can without a husband to raise her daughter to be strong, safe and smart. In fact if a girl child is born the mother turned it into a boy and Ladydi's mother was no diffeent. She dressed the baby like a boy and treated the baby just like a boy right until the little boy started to grow breasts then the mom would turn the girl into an ugly girl. She would blacken her teeth and make scars on them with charcoal. The big black Escalades with their tinted windows and luxury BMWs would drive into the poorest little village in all of Mexico and the girls all disappeared into little holes their mothers had dug for them to hide in until the men drove away sometimes with a girl who had not made it into the hole in time. Everyone in the village still talked about Paula--the most beautiful girl in the world. A tan BMW had snuck into town and not a dog had barked. Paula's mother had all kinds of dogs to bark a warning for her but this time the big nasty men had shot all her dogs. Paula was taken and they had not heard from her again that is until one day her came Paula walking down the road back into her mother's arms. Paula was never the same. Ladydi wants better and she knows that her father lives in Florida working but he has quit sending her mother money. Ladydi's friend Maria is the only person she knows who has a brother, a real brother not just a girl dressed like a boy. Maria's father is Ladydi's father. Ladydi cannot understand how her father could quit sending money for her family but the illegitimate family he still supports. Why? Why did all the men leave and go to the United States and send money for awhile but soon made new families in the states. Ladydi can't help it she still loves Maria, she looks just like her dad. Maria's brother offers her a way out. She can work for a rich family he says but does he take her to the rich family? Not first oh no first he goes to a shack where he kills someone. Ladydi sees the blood on his fancy pants. What happens then? Life goes from bad to worse. Read this heart stopping book to find out.
I enjoyed reading this book on life trying to avoid being taken advantage by the drug cartel. It tells of life just trying to make it in the mountains of Mexico where drug lords are king. Where the only education offered to children is from the teachers who must do a year of charity and so they teach in the village. Some cared some didn't. The women raise the girls in the village do the best they can. Sometimes they make mistakes but it is done with love. This book however should be read with the idea that this is a mature theme and not for the young. The reader should be of high school age or older.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.