KLIATT - Nola TheissRosa is a young Mayan girl raised in a small village by her parents and grandmother. When her grandmother dies and her father is unable to raise the flowers he sells to make their living, he is forced to sell Rosa instead. He takes her to the city, where she is required to work for a wealthy couple. Soon, the husband rapes Rosa. She becomes pregnant and is thrown out of the house. Rosa is so innocent, she doesn't even realize she is going to have a baby and delivers her daughter on the street. A woman takes pity on her and Rosa is allowed to live as a servant with her daughter in another home for a short while. Then, once again, she must live on the street and beg, finding comfort with another lost soul. Eventually, realizing she can't take care of her daughter, Rosa finds a safe place for both of them in a convent. Rosa is a true innocent, betrayed by her father, by the racial and ethnic divisions of her country, and by the depravity of those who take advantage of the vulnerable. However, she maintains her own belief system, which was instilled in her by her grandmother, and that gives her the strength she needs to survive. Although the book is about a girl who is abused and mistreated, it is written in a beautifully simple style that maintains the innocence of the strong female protagonist.
Library Journal - Library JournalRosa is 12 when her father takes her from their village in southern Mexico and sells her services to a wealthy household in a provincial city. There, Rosa not only faces a critical, demanding mistress but also sexual abuse from the head of the house. Eventually pregnant, the young girl is thrown into the street to fend for herself. Rosa's story is a composite of true stories of young Indian girls that were reported to the author, a journalist and filmmaker who lived for many years in Mexico. Published posthumously, the novel is Hamilton's attempt to bring the plight of these exploited young people to the world's attention. Hamilton depicts Rosa's indomitable spirit as she eventually reaches into the depths of her spiritual background to recognize her own self-worth. While the story of child exploitation has been told before in other novels, the narrative's simplicity and lack of graphic sexual detail make the book an excellent choice for YA as well as adult fiction collections. Andrea Kempf, Johnson Cty. Community Coll. Lib., Overland Park, KS Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 8 Up-Rosa, 12, lives with her family in a small Indian village in Mexico. She wants desperately to visit the city and prays to her gods that she might travel there with her father. After the crops fail, he takes her to Santa Mar'a, but her dreams are shattered when he sells her into service as a servant. When the patron sexually abuses Rosa, she believes she has dishonored her family. She soon becomes pregnant and is turned out onto the street. Struggling with spiritual as well as physical survival, she decides to end her life, but must first find a safe place for her baby. She arrives at a mission where she remains. With the staff's help, she searches for identity, learns to solve her own problems and care for Flor, gains self-confidence, and develops the skills needed to make a future for herself and her daughter. Hamilton does not flinch from describing the harsh realities of Rosa's life. She is a fully realized character who experiences despair over the conflict between her people's traditional ways and city life. Cultural details are smoothly woven into the story. At times lyrical, the writing depicts social problems frankly, without sensationalizing or oversimplifying. Based on fact, this compelling story brings attention to issues of child exploitation and abuse and fosters a deeper understanding of the dilemmas faced by many young people across the globe.-Margaret R. Tassia, Millersville University, PA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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